A LOVE of the ocean and bodyboarding has given Lewy Finnegan (23) opportunities to excel in his sport.
Finnegan grew up in Ocean Reef and started competing with a local bodyboarding club when he was 11, then entered and won the state titles when he was 13.
“I was invited to compete in the national titles the same year and won that too, which is when the fire really ignited inside of me to pursue my dream of being a professional body boarder,” he said.
“After winning the national titles I had a few bodyboarding brands show interest in me.
“With their help and financial support I was to pursue bodyboarding as a career after completing my schooling.
“For the next four years I won the state titles and made the final in every national title.”
Finnegan said he had been able to travel the world and build his profile through appearances in films and magazines.
“At the age of 17, I signed my first professional contract with a French bodyboard company called Pride who offered me a signature ‘Lewy Finnegan’ board, which has been sold in surf shops around the world ever since,” he said.
“I also started competing on the world tour which proved to be very challenging, as well as daunting at first as the level of riding was incredibly high.
“Over the next few years of persistence, practice and patience I started to progress further and further in these events and at the age of 20 I won my first world tour competition in Chile.”
Back in Perth this summer, the former Prendiville Catholic College student is celebrating finishing 12th in the world, the highest ranked Australian bodyboarder.
“I never imagined for one moment that this love for bodyboarding would give me the opportunities that I have enjoyed in my life,” he said.
Finnegan said he had learnt about the importance of mental health and taken up yoga, becoming a pilates instructor within six months of starting training at a Joondalup studio.
He now teaches it at the Yoga Tree studio between overseas trips.
“I’m always stoked to return back home to Ocean Reef and catch up with my family and friends,” he said.
“Laze on the pristine beaches, practise and teach yoga… and, most of all, sleep in my own bed.
“I feel a special connection with this part of the world and I think wherever I end up in life that Ocean Reef will always feel like home.”