Dad of the decade.
Hero Dad Strips Naked And Paddles A Board Out To His Son, Mid-Heat!
And the Father of the Year award goes too...
Connor Lee is a 17-year-old surfer from Redhead Beach, just south of Newcastle, Australia.
The central coast teen surfs quite well, as you can see above, which is why Connor was invited to compete in the Skullcandy Pro Jr., held this week at Lennox Head.
Everything was going well for Connor, who'd advanced through his first two heats with an average score of 13.5, but the quarterfinals presented a slight hiccup—after zipping a clean frontside snap on his second ride, Connor approached a crumbling section and attempted to power straight through it, instead flexing the craft between his feet and snapping it in two.
This put Connor in a bit of a jam, as Lennox breaks far out to sea, meaning he had a colossal swim back to shore before he could grab another board and reload. That's when Connor's father, Justin, entered the scene.
Realizing his son was in peril of losing (let alone being harassed by the sharks that frequent this zone), Justin Lee grabbed Connor's backup board, ran toward the beach, and stripped completely nude before attempting to paddle the board out to his son in the mid-winter Pacific.
Justin was ultimately called back to shore by the beach announcers, who claimed he was breaking the "rules" by delivering the new board to his son (this ain't the CT, dad!). This left Justin stranded (naked) on the beach for several minutes before Connor could complete the swim to shore.
Despite its inefficacy, we thought Justin's effort was hilarious and heroic, so we reached out to Conner to discuss what exactly happened.
Stab: Hey Connor, we just heard a funny story about your dad stripping naked to paddle you out a board in your heat. Would you want to tell us a little more about it?
Conner Lee: Yeah, easy! What do you want to know?
Uhhhh, everything! So like... you broke your board mid-heat, then old mate stripped naked to paddle you out a new one, right?
Yeah, basically. Here's my dad's angle: I saw the kid snap his board, and I knew the swim in would take a long time. The boys on the microphone were saying, "Get him a board out there!", so I ran down the beach with the board under my arm with jeans and long shirt on and just thought, "Fuck it, it’s gonna take forever to get out there with all my clothes on," so I just dropped them, and off I ran into the water. In my head I thought I could grab his snapped board and cover myself up a bit with it, but the boys called me in on the mic, and there I was, stranded on the beach, ass cheeks facing the crowd.
I'm still a little confused by the board part... did he get to give it to you, or did he have to paddle the new one back in?
He had to paddle the board back onto the beach while I was swimming back to shore. Then I had to get the board off him at the shoreline, pretty much.
Gotcha. Then why didn't he just go grab his clothes after? [laughs]
He had to stand on the beach for around five minutes, waiting for me, before someone could actually bring down a pair of jeans [laughs].
Aha! And did you make the heat? Were you worried about sharks?
Nah, I ended up getting knocked in that round (the quarterfinals). I was tad worried about sharks, hey. I just tried to swim as fast as I could to get to some land.
Yeah, that's a heavy swim at Lennox. But fuck, what an effort by your pops. You think a lot of dads would have done that for their kid?
Nah, only my dad would do that for me. I think it means he really cares and wants the best for me. I really look up to my old boy and have a lot of respect for him, especially after today. But wow, what a sight Lennox Head seen [laughs].
Sick, and I'd imagine your dad is a pretty keen surfer himself?
Yeah, he is a pretty good surfer... he's won some pro/amateur events and Aussie titles (see below).
Of course he does. And what's he do for work? Let's give Justin a plug.
He owns a sign company called Big Colour just south of Newy. Check us out!
If you ever need a sign or vehicle wrap in the greater Sydney region, Stab insists that you call Justin Lee. He's a certifiably good bloke and has a mean frontside hanger (pun intended).