Tom Marr, The Unsuspecting World Champion

19 Aug 2016 4

Tom Marr launches into the waves, Photo provided by Garage Handplanes

Tom Marr launches into the waves, Photo provided by Garage Handplanes

COASTALWATCH | Interview

He lives an hour-and-a-half from the beach in Brisbane so when he makes his way down to the surf it’s 110% commitment. Tom Marr has a love of the ocean as a surfer and bodysurfer. “It’s a place I can escape reality and never take for granted.” He reflects while on a shoot for his sponsor, Garage Handplanes. Bodysurfing runs deep for Tom, he says it’s special because it brings so much joy to people who love the ocean, right round the world. He speaks far beyond his years with clarity and perspective of the ocean that caught me by surprise. The perfect role model for kids and the perfect representative for Australian sport.

SEE ALSO: The Best Spots To Bodysurf In The Maldives 

Tom entered his first bodysurfing contest at the Noosa Festival of Surfing in 2015, and won the event. He turned up with no expectation and had never done anything like it before. He met some of the world’s best bodysurfers from Del Mar in the US who then invited him over to bodysurf in the world championships in August that year. In front of 400 competitors and double the spectators Tom was all of a sudden on the world stage for bodysurfing.

“I was so stoked to see that many people turn up to watch, (bodysurfing) because in Australia it’s not something that gets that much publicity and there aren’t really too many opportunities to compete, especially in front of crowds.”

“The contest itself was brilliantly run with heats, quarter-finals, semi-finals, finals and a grand final for all the different age-group winners.” He said.

Tom, in his element, Photo provided by Garage Handplanes

Tom, in his element, Photo provided by Garage Handplanes

In 2015 Tom won his age group and take home a world title, he said “It’s all pretty surreal and goofy turning bodysurfing into a contest and I’d love to see it develop back home in Australia.”

For me the feeling of a big wave, you can feel the power of the ocean and as the water rushes along your skin, it’s like nothing else. There’s something about bodysurfing that you can’t get from any other water based activity because you’re part of the wave and the ocean; you’re being pulled in all different waves, totally intertwined with the movement of the wave.”

SEE ALSO: The Bodysurfers Who Took On Sydney's Super Swell

“Surfing and bodysurfing both bring a lot of joy, but bodysurfing is something else and I love being part of it.“

In the last two weeks, Tom has returned to the US to compete in the Manhattan International Surf Festival Bodysurf Championships where he placed first in his division. He will also return home with a first place in his division and a combined first with his dad in the tandem division where he managed to stand on his dad’s back and surf three times in front of crowds at the Chubasco’s Bodysurfing Contest at Huntington Beach. And this weekend he will return to the World Bodysurfing Championships at Oceanside California to defend his title. Already, he has a nice collection of silverware from this trip we wish the proud Aussie waterman all the best on making it two from two. 

*Update - Tom placed with a bronze medal on the weekend at the World Bodysurfing Championships.

Tom and his dad Jye after winning the tandem division, Photo provided

Tom and his dad Jye after winning the tandem division, Photo provided

*BONUS Video Below, Mike Stewart by TRVL.


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