Gold Coast surfing champ Bede Durbidge has today been announced as the Surfing Australia Elite Program Manager, in a major boost to Aussie medal hopes at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
After coaching Hawaiian John John Florence in his world title winning 2016 campaign, Durbidge said his focus is now building on already strong relationships with Australian athletes and coaches with gold medals the ultimate goal.
“I’m honoured to take on this role as Elite Program Manager. Coaching is something I’m so passionate about and to be able to work with Australia’s best athletes and coaches I’m just relishing the opportunity,” the Triple Crown Champion said.
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Durbidge, who incredibly returned to elite level competition at the beginning of the 2017 season after a life-threatening injury suffered at the Pipe Masters two years ago, will begin his new role in early 2018.
“I feel I have fulfilled my competitive surfing dream and next year will be perfect timing to transit into this role,” he said.
“It’s a very exciting time in surfing and the Tokyo Olympics will come around before we know it. Australia has a great chance of winning the first gold medals in surfing so preparation will be key over the next few years”.
Australian Olympic Committee CEO Matt Carroll was quick to back Durbidge’s appointment and the direction Surfing Australia will now take towards Tokyo 2020.
“Surfing is one of five sports added to Tokyo 2020 Games and this is a great appointment to kick-start surfing’s Olympic high-performance program in preparation of the sport’s Olympic debut in just under three years’ time,” Carroll said.
“The sport has long been ingrained in Australian culture which has helped us to produce numerous men’s and women’s world champions. We now look forward to seeing our Australian surfing contingent continue to succeed under the guidance of Durbidge and the new elite program put in place by Surfing Australia.”
Durbidge will officially retire from competitive surfing at the end of the Australian WSL leg in Margaret River in 2018.
myGC caught up with Surfing Australia’s CEO Andrew Stark and Bede after the announcement.