ROLLING ON: Gladstone man Tony Davis is retiring from surf boats having spent 37 years in the sport.
ROLLING ON: Gladstone man Tony Davis is retiring from surf boats having spent 37 years in the sport. Matt Taylor GLA110718SURF

Gladstone's surf boat champion is retiring after 37 years

DURING his 37 years as a surf boat competitor Tony Davis enjoyed his time on the water.

He's represented Queensland and Australia in the sport and hadn't planned on retiring any time soon.

"There are blokes in their 70's still competing as sweeps in the surf boats," he said.

But what started out as an insignificant injury several years ago lead to him making a call to stop competing in the sport this year.

"Back in 2009 I jumped out of a surf boat in a carnival and hurt my leg," he said.

"I thought the pain would go away and kept competing and refereeing football.

"I could run alright, but if I walked up a hill it hurt."

In 2014 Mr Davis visited a specialist who advised him that he would have to have his left hip replaced.

"I'd worn the top of the cuff off and needed an artificial hip fitted," he said.

"I stopped running and refereeing but I stayed with the surf boats," he said.

Mr Davis began competing as a 16 year old at the North Caloundra Surf Life Saving Club.

"Surf boat rowing has been really good to me over the years," he said.

When he moved to Gladstone Mr Davis continued with the sport and went on to win many medals nationally and internationally.

"I've won 43 Queensland medals, 18 gold," he said

"Eight Australian title medals, one gold and one silver World Title medal.

"As well as eight Australian open medals of which four were gold.

He added that the highlight of his career was having his son and daughter row with him in the Queensland team.

"We won the day which was even better."

Mr Davis has been training young local rowers since 1995.

"I think I've trained over two to three hundred rowers from Gladstone and Tannum Sands during that time," he said.

But this year he decided to hang up his cap.

"I won't be competing any more as I've decided it's time to keep going in the sport from the other side as an official," he said.

"I've applied for my accreditation and will be helping out with events.

"Although I'll still be involved with coaching and helping develop other clubs."

Mr Davis said it was still a hard call to make.

"I had a heap of calls from my peers around Australia which was nice," he said.

"I've been blessed to have met a lot of good people.

"The hardest thing is knowing I won't be catching a wave again on the back of a boat."