Jay is Snapper's rock
THIS begins a three-part series on local professional surfers and their industry connection.
It's been a big couple of weeks for Jay Phillips, the long-serving president of the Snapper Rocks Surfriders Club.
Firstly, Jay received the late call-up as a wild-card to win his first Australian title in the over 40 National Masters at Cabarita after placing second last year. And then he was backing up on the weekend as their perennial anchor-man, a role he has relished, to steer his club Snapper into number one spot in the Queensland qualifier for next year's Australian Battle of the Boardriding clubs.
Jay started surfing when he was five years old, "getting blown across with the wind at the Fingal Boat Harbour, and then along the rocks of the Fingal Point causeway,” as he describes.
He learnt on his old man's Goodtime single-fin, and by the time he turned seven, his dad bought him a single-fin from the local surfshop at Main Beach, Fingal.
"It was a challenge like no other sport and I would challenge my mates to go further,” said Jay, a gifted natural-footer who possesses a distinctive, smooth yet powerful and radical style, honed on the Tweed and Gold Coast point-breaks.
His early influences were Kirra's Craig 'Scat' Pitchers, Jason 'Butto' Buttenshaw and Jason 'China' O'Connor.
Former Snapper president and world champion Rabbit Bartholomew has had a huge influence on Jay as both contest strategist and mentor coach. Jay was also inspired by the styles of Brad Gerlach, Tom Curren and Occy, who he always "wanted to be just like”.
While Jay has won a QS, a bunch of pro juniors and collected the prestigious Duke Kahanamoku trophy for best junior performance as a 16-year-old, he sidestepped a professional career to compete for his local club, Snapper.
"My surfing wasn't all about individual competition,” Jay said.
"It has been the high pressure situations competing as the team anchor-man for Snapper Rocks in those must win heats in which I bought 30 or 40 victories to the club, and still bring them in to this day.
"As a team, that's what I love more.”
When not competing for his club or coaching with fellow Snapper coaching colleague Richo - the recent Over 45 Master champion - Jay represents his sponsor Sideways Surf as a surfing ambassador.
His role is fairly simple: to be the red hot surfer who dominates the points and look after the kids coming up.
"It's all about affordability and getting a bargain these days - especially for families,” Jay said.
"They've got a great range of surfboards and having the right volume is very important for the everyday person who finds time to surf in between work commitments.
"I like to mix it up with my quiver some days and ride a twin-fin, a single-fin, a longboard session, but my love for the regular thruster is everything,” said the over 40's legend, who is really still a grommet at heart.