WHEN Roger Clements was inducted into the Merewether Surfboard Club Hall of Fame in 2010, he was described as the Newcastle junior champion of 1969, the captain of an Australian surfing team tour of England in 1981 and the national senior title holder of that year.
But those moments were just stops along a career that saw Clements feature for many years as one of Australia's most high-profile surfers of the 1970s and beyond, and as a highly accomplished longboarder in his later years.
Raised at Crescent Head and moving to Merewether at 15, he parlayed his surfing ability into a career in the media.
THE STORY SO FAR:
He produced surf reports for the Newcastle Herald and radio stations 2NX and 2HD, and then moved into a decades-long career in radio with those stations and 2NURFM, starting with advertising copywriting then radio "traffic" - or the managing of ads and promos, and also doing various shifts on air as a radio host.
Roger had a reputation as a stylish goofy-footer (riding left-hand waves on your forehand) and his solid physique gave him the strength to dig a rail deep and throw a lot of spray on his big turns.
Number nine in our list of top 10 Newcastle surfers, Clements recalled yesterday how the lack of money - and the pre-Mark Richards "disadvantage" of coming from Newcastle - made him decide against joining the early pro world circuit despite being up there with the best of the early 1970s crew.
"Thor Svenson, who wrote for the US magazine Surfer, described me as probably the most radical boardrider in the country when he did a summary of team members in 1972," Clements said yesterday.
"In the early '70s I was very dominant in Newcastle, state and national competitions and spent a lot of time on the road chasing contests.
"I would work a few weeks, save a bit of money then hit the road. In those days the contest party scene was almost as important as the contest.
"It wasn't until (Gold Coast surfer and Bronzed Aussies co-founder) Peter Townend came along and introduced everyone to 'contest sleep' that things began to change.
"MR (Mark Richards) was a great believer in this. His strategy and his dedication paid off big time."
Born in 1951 - making him a year younger than yesterday's No 10 Novocastrian, Peter Cornish - Clements remembers his time on the big stage as much for the parties as the competition.
"Bells Beach was always a buzz to be at, I surfed in the event which was international by this stage from 1973 to 1977," he said yesterday.
"We'd surf all day and hit the Torquay pub at night and just about everyone was there, but it was usually an early night.
"Even though we were on shortboards by that stage they had an award for the best nose ride, I won it 3 times. I won $25 for the first 2 and $50 for the last one!"
Although Clements will be forever associated with Merewether, he also has fond memories of great surfs at Nobbys, where he surfed a lot as a teenager because it was closer to where the family lived for a while at Broadmeadow.
In late 2016, Clements found he had bladder cancer.
He beat it with cancer and chemotherapy the first time, and is in remission after a return bout.
And after all that, he is determined to get back in the water again soon.
Roger's competition record, as we can see from the trophies on display at home, was prodigious.
He was winning contests from 1968, and was fifth in the national juniors that year.
He was Newcastle junior champion in 1969, won a competition sponsored by The Australian.
As well as the Mattara contests of 1972 and 1977, he won the Crowdy Head classic in '78, and was NSW senior champion in 1980.
He managed the Australian national team in the early 1980s, looking after a new generation of younger performers.
His longboard, or malibu, titles started to pile up later in the 1980s, winning Steel City titles and running second to the great Nat Young at the Surfest longboard classic in 1989.
Similar titles followed, including Catho Classic masters titles in 1994 and 2000. He was Crescent Head Longboard Classic open division champion in 1995 and 1996 and masters champion in 1999, Steel City masters champion in 1997 and NSW grand masters champion in 1998.
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