Paul’s big Wednesday


Peter Bodkin
DESPITE his prosthetic leg, shark attack victm Paul de Gelder blew onlookers away with his board-riding ability when he returned to the water on Wednesday for a lesson with Manly Surf School.

Surf instructor Nick James took the learner through his paces and watched as his student successfully got to his fit and rode the waves.
Mr de Gelder, a former navy diver, lost his right leg during a shark attack in February 2009 while he was diving on duty in Sydney Harbour.

Mr James, who has been with the school nearly seven years, said he was gobsmacked by his student’s ability.
“He was amazing for a guy who’s got one leg and basically one arm,” he said. “He blew me away, I couldn’t believe how well he surfed. His jump-up was as good as , if not better than, most of the students we get here.”

The lesson will be featured in one of 10 episodes of a TV series currently under production called MANLY SURF, which is the brainchild of four locals. Creator Daniel Starling said the series focused on Manly Surf School.

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