Ryan Bebendorf heads down for a paddle.
Ryan Bebendorf heads down for a paddle. Mike Richards GLA100616STAR

Ryan riding wave of confidence

RYAN BEBENDORF'S passion for surfing all began when he was a youngster living not far from the Tannum Sands Surf Life Saving Club.

He is this week's Yaralla Sports Club Junior Sportsperson.

"Well one weekend when I was six years old, my mum said there's a Nipper Carnival and it went from there," Ryan recalled.

Fast-track 10 years and Ryan's surf life saving abilities have been recognised, not only from the TSSLSC, but from afar.

"Last year I was lucky enough to compete in the Queensland Country team and then this year did really well in the Youth States competition," Ryan said.

"I was asked by the Noosa Surf Life Saving Club to do competition hours there and patrol hours here.


Yaralla sports star Ryan Bebendorf.Photo Mike Richards / The Observer
Ryan Bebendorf jogs down to the beach. Mike Richards GLA100616STAR

"This year I changed regions and was also asked to join the Sunshine Coast and was competing against people that I was team-mates with."

Ryan finished first in the state competition and came second in the Aussie Titles on the board category --- which is his strength.

As for winning a $500 gift donated by Yaralla Sports Club, Ryan said he was surprised.

"After swimming training my dad told me that I had been nominated," he said.

Ryan is also looking at getting sponsorships from Kracka, a board manufacturer.

He aims to make the Australian team and has had feedback and advice from Trevor Hendy, Shannon Eckstein and Darren Mercer while he also mentioned local coaches who have given him top tips.

"I looked up to most of the coaches here with Mark Bryant and Johnny Andrews since I was six," Ryan said.

He also seeks advice from local paddlers Hayden Lester and Luke Grice who recently paddled in Hawaii.