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New Albany surf school coach gets on board after ocean safety instructor calls time

Headshot of Sarah Makse
Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
Due South Surf School's Mez Darvill.
Camera IconDue South Surf School's Mez Darvill. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

A new face has taken the reins at Albany’s surf school to continue its legacy of helping people of all ages stay safe in the ocean and enjoy the wonder of the waves.

Due South Surfing Academy coach and Albany ocean safety instructor Tony Harrison has called time on his career after 20 years, with experienced Denmark surfer Mez Darvill set to keep the school afloat.

Mr Harrison has been a strong advocate for ocean safety over the years, helping hundreds of school students from across the Great Southern grow their confidence in the water.

John Calvin School Year 9 students at a Due South Surfing Academy lesson.
Camera IconJohn Calvin School Year 9 students at a Due South Surfing Academy lesson. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

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Last year, Mr Harrison called on the State Government to introduce ocean safety awareness programs in WA’s primary school curriculum.

With 20 years of surf coaching under her belt, Ms Darvill said she was eager to build on the school’s commitment to ocean safety and pass on her love of the waves.

“Tony has set up such a great program with the schools and the ocean awareness ... to include the safety, practical, theory and gets the kids doing stuff outside of the surf lessons,” she said.

“I didn’t want to see that beautiful business he created not continue on.”

Due South Surf School's Merome (Mez) Darvill.
Camera IconDue South Surf School's Merome (Mez) Darvill. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Ms Darvill plans to start a women’s class and a “surfgroms” program for ages 5-12 after school in term one.

Caring for the environment and ocean safety would be important parts of the lessons.

“The ocean is just so unpredictable and we are very ocean-based people that live in coastal towns,” she said.

“If you know how to read the ocean you are just maximising your chances of staying safe and then also being able to help someone else in trouble.

Due South Surf School's Tony Harrison and Mez Darvill.
Camera IconDue South Surf School's Tony Harrison and Mez Darvill. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

“We also do some beach cleans and look at beach impact as part of the course.

“I always think it’s nice to give back once you have gone and enjoyed somewhere, so you can give back by taking away the rubbish or making something beautiful on the sand or just leaving the place a bit nicer than you found it so we try and teach that as well.”

The Due South Surf Academy runs in school terms one, two and four, hosting lessons for school students and anyone aged five and over.

John Calvin School Year 9 students at the surfing and ocean awareness lesson.
Camera IconJohn Calvin School Year 9 students at the surfing and ocean awareness lesson. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

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