It had been a while since Darren O'Rafferty had put on a competitive rashie.
But it was almost as though he never left when he shredded the waves and impressed at Town Beach on November 14.
The ex-world surfing Championship Tour legend registered a 7.37 and a 6.57-point ride in his heat against Harley Ross and Lucas Peas.
His combined heat score of 13.94 was enough to see him knock Peas out of the event before he was eventually knocked out in the semi-finals by eventual champion Cooper Chapman.
O'Rafferty said it was a privilege to be able to compete in the first surfing event held in Port Macquarie for five years.
"I can't remember the last big event I surfed in, but it's great to have it at Townies in the centre of town and it's a great beach," he said.
Now a regular at Town Beach in his role as lifeguard during the week, O'Rafferty was impressed with the standard of surfing he was faced with.
He admitted to being slightly jealous of the technological advances which had been made in the sport.
"You never stop learning, especially with the technology in surfboards these days and the different models of boards that manufacturers are making ... all the different materials," he said.
"I wish I had back in the day when I was competing what they have now because the boards have come a long way."
O'Rafferty was satisfied to merely progress to the second round of the competition - anything beyond that was going to be a bonus.
"I'm stoked to get the opportunity from Surfing NSW to have a crack again; it's good fun," he said.
"These older, teenage kids and those in their 20s are absolutely shredding the bag out of it and they're so light on their feet.
"To make one heat I'm super stoked."
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