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June 7, 2012
AT 57, LCDR Steve Johnson was the
oldest competitor at the Interservice
Surf Competition last month -- but
clearly he was not there just to make
up the numbers.
He won the inaugural stand-up pad-
dle board event.
Now, we know what you're think-
ing. You're thinking, 'that's not proper
And you probably won't get much
of an argument from LCDR Johnson
who took up the discipline last year.
"I found that, at my age, it gave me
much more opportunity to exercise and
have fun in the surf and on flat water
than the conventional long board and it
is something that all the family can do
together," he said.
Don't let that fool you though.
LCDR Johnson, the deputy director of
Project Neptune at HMAS Waterhen,
likes the big waves too.
He was there at the first compe-
tition in 2004 and he's surfed at the
interservice titles every year since.
His speciality has been the long-
board category, an interservice title he
has won three times -- in 2005, 2006
and again last year.
This year he finished fourth from a
field of 24 starters. Poor old fella.
The titles were held at One Mile
Beach, Port Stephens from May 14-18
and Navy did not get off to a great start.
2012 SURF CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS
1st -- LCDR Steve Johnson
2nd -- MAJ Matt Carr
3rd -- CPL Trevor Marshall
1st -- FSGT Rick Pfieffer
2nd -- Dr Chris Shanahan
3rd -- PTE Ben Morton
1st -- ACW Vicky Voyzey
2nd -- CPL Keichelle Oldis
3rd -- LT Denna Fryer
1st -- SQNLDR Mark Evans
2nd -- LS Chad Poland
3rd -- LS Nathan Adamson
1st -- Air Force Team 2
2nd -- Navy Team 1
3rd (tie) -- Army Team 1
Air Force Team 1
Navy Team 2
4th -- Army Team 2
1st -- Air Force (58 points)
2nd -- Navy (40 points)
3rd -- Army (37 points)
Best and fairest:
Navy -- AB Ben Smeeth
Air Force -- CPL Stuart Johnson
Army -- WO2 Martin Fisher
Age no barrier for surfer
ROUGH LUCK: LS Brett Tate, of HMAS Penguin, shows off his broken
board at One Mile Beach.
LS Brett Tate snapped his board in
rough weather in round one and had to
make a quick dash into town where the
local board shop gave him a great deal
on a second-hand board.
He eventually fought his way
through to the shortboard finals.
However, that was not enough to
stop Navy's six-year run as service
champion coming to an end.
But in mitigation, it has to be said
that due to work and personal commit-
ments Navy only had 13 surfers, com-
pared to Air Force's 28 and Army's 33,
and had no female surfers at all.
Nevertheless, Navy still finished
second on 40 points.
Air Force won with 58 points and
Army finished with 37 points.
Army was the chief organiser of
this year's event, but Army Surf Riders
Association President MAJ Matt Carr
thanked the other services for their
"Navy ran the day-to-day competi-
tion and RAAF acted as safety man-
agement," he said.
An annual general meeting was
held during the event to prepare an
application to the ADF sports council
to approve surf-riding as a recognised
"Future competitions are hopeful
and we would like to include a wide
range of surf-riding sports such as
body-boarding and open water racing,"
MAJ Carr said.
"It is also hoped that challenges
can be made to overseas services clubs
such as the US and UK."
TAKING A STAND: LCDR Steve Johnson, of HMAS Waterhen, competes in the stand-up paddleboard event at Port Stephens, NSW.
Photo: WO2 Mark Dowling
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