Troy Brooks reflects on his Bells journey
Staking his claim as one of the most successful surfers to come out of Victoria, Troy Brooks has experienced the highs and lows of what a professional surfing career is all about.
From humble beginnings on the breaks at Jan Juc and Bells Beach, Brooks rose through the junior ranks on a pathway to the elite, where he would surf in the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach on a handful of occasions as a local wildcard and as a member of the travelling professionals on the world tour.
He said growing up in such a wave-rich area such as Torquay, where he surfed alongside some of his surfing heroes, allowed him to recognise his dreams early on of making it to the professional level.
“Growing up in Torquay you didn’t know any better – hot, cold or whatever, you just got up, chucked on the 4’3 wetsuit, and headed out before school.
“I did that religiously from grade Prep all the way to Year 12.
“Every kid wanted to be a pro… the way to get a gauge on how good you were was in the national titles because there was no social media or anything like that.
“When I was 12, I made the final at the Australian Titles in Tasmania and the final was Nathan Hedge, Anthony McDonald, Phil McDonald and I.
Three of us went on to make the world tour, I kept getting to that level and then recognised I thought I was on the right path.”
This path took him around the world, to Europe, Oceania and across to the United States and Hawaii, where he would experience the fruits of his labour and win a spot in the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
His first experience was as an 18-year-old, winning the local wildcard into the Rip Curl Pro alongside fellow Australian Chris Davidson.
“It used to be a joint trials event, with Victorian and Rip Curl sponsored athletes all fighting for the one spot,” Brooks said.
“I managed to muscle my way into the top spots a couple of times when I was 18, 19 and 20 years old.