Baillies keep it in the family

Headshot of Adam Poulsen
Adam PoulsenGeraldton Guardian
Elissa Baillie, 28, and dad Daryl, 63, reflect on many happy years surfing together.
Camera IconElissa Baillie, 28, and dad Daryl, 63, reflect on many happy years surfing together. Credit: Adam Poulsen

“I taught her everything she knows,” Daryl Baillie says with a grin.

The 63-year-old longboarding veteran was referring to daughter Elissa, after the pair claimed long-awaited wins at the recent Geraldton Winter Classic.

The annual competition, a major event on the WA surfing calendar, drew 54 of the State’s best to South Coronation Beach.

Baillie finally tasted victory in the Nine Foot Over-60s division, while 28-year-old Elissa was dubbed Open Women’s champion for the first time.

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“Been trying to win the Over-60s since I turned 60,” Baillie said.

“I first surfed Coronation in ’73 with a travelling mate.

“I met another guy that weekend, Gary McCormick, and him and I have been lifetime friends.”

Forty-six years on, McCormick made the trip from Perth to “Corro” for the Classic and placed fourth in the same division his old mate won.

Baillie moved to Geraldton in the late 1970s but grew up surfing Perth’s Trigg and Scarborough beaches.

“I got my first fibreglass board for my 13th birthday, 50 years ago,” he recalled.

“I came to Geraldton to go to the islands as a crayfisherman and just ended up here.”

Son Mitchell — who is gallivanting up and down the Portuguese coast — and daughter Elissa started surfing in their early teens.

“I think I came second last year, so I was pretty keen for the win this year,” Elissa said.

“This was my first ‘first’, so it was very exciting.”

The Baillies were not the only Geraldton surfers to take home Winter Classic trophies.

Russell Baker won the Old Mal division, while Todd Kennedy won the Eight Foot Over-40s.

Local hotshot Nathan Gummery placed second in the Eight Foot Open event.

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