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November Frother – Barney Quinlan

By Brad Malyon on November 8, 2011 in People

Photo: Bill Morris

This month’s Frother of the Month is Australian alaia champ Barney Quinlan, who is teaching the next generation of local water babies.

Name: Barney Quinlan
Age: 30
Place Of Birth: Crown Street
Local Break: Bondi
Fave Break: Northie
Board Details: Alaia by Noods (sculpted by myself), 5 foot something by about 16 inches by a bit less than 1 inch.

How long have you been playing around with alaias for?
I have been riding the alaia for about two years and started standing up on bodyboards and taking the fins out about a year before that.

You recently competed in and won the first ever Australian Alaia Championship. Can you tell us about this?
Surfing Australia did a great job of running the Australian Titles as a two-week long festival of surfing, this year at Port Mac. As well as the various age divisions for short boards, there were long board, SUP and, for the first time, single fin and alaia divisions this year. The contest was very professionally run as a great grass-roots event. We got to surf two 25-minute heats in good three-foot plus surf and I got the title!

You run a surf squad for kids; is it just about teaching groms to stand up on their boards?
It’s actually the opposite. I am a teacher of ocean water safety. The foundations of my program are the learning of functional swimming for the complete surf/ocean environment. I teach at the Icebergs pool and then put these skills into practice in the sea. Drills include body surfing with and without fins and various aids, for example kick boards, and learning to be comfortable in rips, shore breaks and the impact zone with no board at all.

Fluoro zinc seems to be popular within your squad; what else gets the kids frothing?
Ha ha. My kids love colour. Maybe it’s the graffiti culture surrounding where we swim. They also love graffiti pens to brighten up their boards, fins, skateboards, etc. They love skating barefoot. They love skimming. They love getting creative and riding waves on anything or nothing. They love free diving on flat days and making the best of the local environment.

You work at Bondi; do you live there as well?
I live a split life between Watsons Bay and my hideout on the South Coast – where I get to play, train and FROTH!

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I am endlessly proud of all my kids. They’re the watermen/women of the future. Also, many thanks to the Icebergs and Bondi Surf Club for their great support.