Christo Hall tore his medial collateral ligament (MCL) in a heat of the Australian Over-40s men’s surfing championship at North Haven Beach in Port Macquarie in August, yet continued to surf and tear the ligament ever further.
Yet even on one leg he went on to win the national title and thus heads into the inaugural Master’s SURFTAG – presented by The Manly Club – as one of the stand-out names in the tag-team event at South Curl Curl on Saturday.
Even if he’s been out of the water for nearly six weeks.
“I haven’t surfed since the Aussie Titles and have just been resting my knee hoping it’s right for SURFTAG,” Hall said.
“I had my first surf [on Thursday] and took it easy. I was more nervous about hurting it.
“I’ll be fine on clean, perfect waves. It’s when you’re landing a manoeuvre or a wave explodes around you and it’s pushing you the wrong way, then it be can unpredictable.
“But for a club event you put it all out there on the line!”
Hall has been representing North Narrabeen in tag events since he was 13 years old.
Today the 44-year-old told The Beaches Champion that he’s just as proud to represent the club in the harum-scarum tag-team format.
“We’ve made history at North Narrabeen and the club ’s very proud to represent the community. I’m one rep of hundreds.
“There’s a lot of pride in winning, not to mention a bit of street cred at your local beach!” Hall said.
Hall is one of a bevy of Australia’s best Over-40 surfers who’ll be turning out at South Curl Curl on Saturday including team-mates Damian Hardman and Mark Bannister. Shane Conwell of North Avalon and Cameron Sharpe of North Shelly are other notables.
“There’s so many good surfers from every club and in tag-team you’re under so much pressure.
“You can only catch two waves and the clock is ticking. Anyone can crack. I’ve seen world champions crack under pressure.
“It’s what makes it such entertaining surfing to watch. There’s constantly waves being caught. The guys have to run up the beach. It’s so physically challenging but you don’t want to let your club down.
“I’ve been around surfing all my life, been a professional surfer back in the day, and this is the most entertaining surfing there is,” Hall said.
In conditions predicted to be two-to-three foot swell with nor-east peaks, the North Narrabeen team will be looking for the club’s second win of this year’s SURFTAG Series after their Women’s team won their eighth SURFTAG title earlier this month, also at South Curl Curl.
The Women’s victory elevated North Narrabeen to fourth on the SURFTAG Series Rankings and within striking distance of current leaders Long Reef.
A win for North Narrabeen at the Master’s will setup an epic showdown at the Men’s SURFTAG at Queenscliff on October 1-2. The men’s event will be the fifth and final one of the 2022 SURFTAG Series.
Competition is scheduled to start 8.00am Saturday at South Curl Curl.
Heat 1 – Long Reef, Elouera, Scarborough
Heat 2 – Queenscliff, North Narrabeen, Cronulla Sharks
Heat 3 – North Shelly, North Avalon, Bondi
SURFTAG Series Rankings Top 10 (after three events):
- Long Reef Boardriders 2590
- North Shelly Boardriders 2225
- Queenscliff Boardriders 2200
- North Narrabeen Boardriders 2005
- North Avalon Surfriders 2005
- Elouera Boardriders 1585
- Scarborough Boardriders 1560
- Bondi Boardriders 1500
- Maroubra United 1110
- Dee Why Surfing Fraternity 1060
SURFTAG Results: https://liveheats.com/surftag
SURFTAG Socials: @surftagseries