Surf success ends in Hall of Fame
IF you told me I'd be standing here when I was in Year 7, I'd have said you were joking."
Lee Winkler, best known for his time on the pro-surfing tour, was this year's proud inductee into Coffs Harbour High's Hall of Fame.
The program, which has been running for three years now, acknowledges ex-students who are very successful in their chosen career paths.
"Lee has always been so passionate about what he does ? and he made it right to the top," said Mr Brad Smith, of Coffs Harbour High.
"If the surf was up, it was hard to get him to come to school! In fact, he is one of the few people I have seen with a white stripe permanently on his leg from the leg rope."
Lee has now retired from the professional circuit and, as well as being a dedicated family man, has his own surf school here in Coffs Harbour. He has also spent time teaching Year 7 and Year Ten students while on camps at Valla Beach.
So has his work as a teacher helped him to sympathise with his old high school mentors?
"Definitely! It's a hard job and I hope all the kids appreciate that their teachers are helping them get somewhere in life."
Lee, who was born in Coffs Harbour, has a lot of fond memories of the school and quite a bit of history there.
"To be inducted into the Hall of Fame is awesome. It not only means so much to me, but to my family as well. In fact, my dad went to the school before I did. I have the best memories of the people and the teachers, and it's such a great location."
However it was Mr Smith who perhaps best sums up Lee's great achievements, and deserving induction into the Hall of Fame: "He's beaten the best. And he's one of them."