ALTHOUGH a long way from the footy field, retired NRL legend Hazem El Masri uesterday demonstrated the same surefooted aptitude in the surf that he displayed on the wing for the Bulldogs.
El Masri enjoyed expert tuition from Manly Surf School as he took to the North Steyne breaks, joining a group of Muslim women from southwestern Sydney for the session. “It was really good, better than I expected,” El Masri said.
“Dave (the instructor) was putting a bit of pressure on me, saying `now you’ve retired. you’ve probably put on a bit of weight`.”
The lesson was filmed as part of a series called Manly Surf, which tells stories of the instructors and students.
Despite it being his first attempt at stand-up surfing, El Masri impressed onlookers by getting to his feet and even carving across the face of several waves.
“He’s ripping, he must have surfed before… it usually takes months to get to that kind of level,” series creator Daniel Starling said.
But a modest El Masri was quick to credit his instructors.
“As soon as you get some tips you can go out there properly – if you just jump out there with no idea you’re going to suffer,” he said.