The Olympics is usually the pinnacle of an athlete’s career, yet for eight-time national surfing champion Billy Stairmand, competing at the inaugural event in Tokyo was a beginning of sorts.
Stairmand told 1News the experience gave him a new “lease on life”.
“I'm focused as, I've grown up a little bit now and I've kind of got some massive goals,” he said.
“Hopefully, I’ll tick those off in the next few months and years.”
The raglan local is now setting his sights on the world championship tour; all he has to do is make the final of the Haleiwa Challenger in Hawaii this weekend against some of the world’s best.
Haleiwa is a shifty reef break on Oahu's notorious north shore but it's not just the waves that can get ferocious.
“It is known to have, you know, some pretty heavy locals around here - they like to protect their waves which is fair enough,” Stairmand said.
“When there is swell, it does get very crowded so they kind of get the better waves.”
However, there’s bigger fish to fry this weekend with legend Kelly Slater in Hawaii to compete.
Stairmand hopes he can relive his upset win over the superstar from 2011 when he announced himself to the world.
“To be honest, I kind of want him in my heat,” Stairmand said.
“It would be sick to surf another heat against him. I feel like if I surf against the better guys it brings out the better surfer in me.”