By Mark Heenan
Ocean Grove youngster Charlie Mahoney had a week he will never forget at the iconic Rip Curl Pro surfing event on the Surf Coast across Easter.
The former Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club Nipper was chosen as a board caddy to assist the world’s best surfers at the World Surf League second stop at Bells Beach.
Charlie, a 13th Beach boardrider, was the sole board caddy from the Bellarine at this year’s event.
The 13-year-old met three-time world surfing champion Mick Fanning and 2017 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach winner Jordy Smith after his Round 1 heat win at Winkipop on 30 March.
Fanning, a four-time Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach winner in 2001, 2012, 2014 and 2015, was surfing in his final professional world tour contest at Bells Beach before he calls time on his decorated career.
Charlie was pictured in the surf line up at Bells Beach on Good Friday – on a fluorescent green/black rails grommet model dubbed the ‘Sir Frothalot’ developed by local based shaper Simon Forward.
Charlie’s mother Cheryl Mahoney credited Forward who runs 4D Surfboards in Ocean Grove, for helping Charlie with his choice of surfboards.
“Simon has been amazing support and Charlie really works well with him to shape his boards,” Cheryl told the Voice.
“He (Charlie) is humbled by the opportunities he gets and works hard and also very grateful for the support.”
Charlie has made a successful transition from surf lifesaving to surfing, in February he was crowned Under 14 Boys champion at the Wahu Surfer Groms event at Clifton Beach in Tasmania.
Charlie is a current patrol member at the Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club.