Surfboard maker urges students to ride their passions

Noosa District State High School Year 11 Social and Community Studies students were inspired and entertained by surfboard maker and author Tom Wegener who is also the proud father of Year 12 student leader Finley Wegener.

Mr Wegener told the students to follow their dreams and passions and to aim high.

"Don't just choose a career for the money. I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. I worked as a lawyer and was so unhappy, so I did something about it and quit my job to make surfing films," Mr Wegener said.

Surfing film production allowed Mr Wegener to combine his love of surfing with travel and he mixed with famous and up and coming surfers, musicians and artists, including Jack Johnson.

Mr Wegener was drawn to Australia's beaches and surf culture and relocated permanently from the United States after falling in love and marrying an Australian woman.

"Everyone wants to buy into the Australian surfing dream. That's why Australian made surfboards have been and continue to be so popular," Mr Wegener said.

MASTER SHAPER: Surfboard shaper Tom Wegener and Phil Moller at Nielson Park Beach.
MASTER SHAPER: Surfboard shaper Tom Wegener and Phil Moller at Nielson Park Beach. Mike Knott


Chinese made surfboards don't have the same appeal as Australian made, even though they are cheaper, with Mr Wegener explaining to the students the reason behind this phenomenon is the story and associations made with Australian made surfboards.

"It used to be the same with Holdens. Unfortunately, you can't buy an Australian made car anymore," Mr Wegener said.

Mr Wegener set up his own surfboard manufacturing business on the Sunshine Coast to support his growing family around the same time his son Finley was born.

The surfboards Mr Wegener made drew international acclaim and he found it difficult to supply overseas markets without appearing to be a "sell-out" in the eyes of his loyal Australian customers.

"One piece of advice I can share that I have learnt along the way is to show your appreciation and gratitude towards all those who help you along the way. Don't ever forget to say 'thank you'," Mr Wegener said.
 

The book, Surfboards Artisans, is Mr Wegener's latest project, which is the product of a PHD thesis Mr Wegener recently completed through the University of the Sunshine Coast.

A successful book launch was held at Annie's Books on Peregian last night, with over 85 copies sold during the evening.

The Year 11 students were advised to begin working on their dreams, whilst they are still at school.

"My son Finley wants to be a successful punk rocker and I told him not to wait until graduation to make his dream a reality. You have so much time, while you're a student. Use it wisely and your future will be very bright," Mr Wegener said.

The class found Mr Wegener's advice to be timely and motivational and expressed much thanks and gratitude for him making the time to speak to them.

 



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