Barney back on board
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
A SECOND chance at falling in love with your greatest passion has left Sawtell surfer, Barney Miller, lost for words.
Six years after being confined to a wheelchair after a serious car accident, Miller is once again out on the water catching waves thanks to a specially designed board.
Wedging his elbows into heavy duty pads, Miller is now able to climb on board his Pitbull board and face down ride the waves into shore.
It was over six months that Miller returned to the surf in a moment he will never forget.
"It's indescribable," was the only words Miller could come up with when recollecting the emotion he felt when he first hit the waves again.
"It was so good to be in the water and be among mates again, it's a feeling I can't describe.
"They were stoked to have me out there again and they were cheerin' me on."
The inspiration for the custom made board came when Miller was watching a surfing movie.
"I saw a guy from America with something similar and I got in touch with a guy who makes boards at Pitbull called Tony Derbyshire and said 'Listen I wouldn't mind getting a board made up'.
"His stepson was an upholsterer so he did the pads with hevy duty velcro and then we worked out how big the board should be and what thickness it should be.
"The board has come up a beauty."
In the not too distant future Miller himself will be seen on a surf movie.
The pictures were part of a movie featuring good friend and pro surfings renowned party animal, Mick Fanning.
The most amazing thing about Miller making it onto celluloid is that it wasn't filmed at Sawtell but on the world famous break at Pipeline in Hawaii.
"I was in Hawaii and Mick Fanning rang up and said 'The boys are keen are keen to take you surfing, wanna go?'," he explained.
"The surf that day wasn't that big, it was probably head height for everyone but obviously a bit bigger for me.
"There was so much power in the waves though with breaking on the reefs."
The heady experience of surfing at Pipeline was a highlight but just getting on his board and going past the break is a highlight enough for Miller.
"Now I just to get out there as much as possible."