One of Australian surfing’s hardest workers has hung up the rashie.

Nic Squiers won’t be remembered as the most talented or successful surfer to ever tackle the QS, but few of the guys who faced him over the past decade will forget his tenacious competitive act in a hurry.

Something of an anomaly in the sport, the Wollongong heavyweight hit the qualifying series for the first time at 28, after winning Jim Beam’s ‘The Break’ - a one-time talent search that saw him given the chance to chase the QS for a year. Driving up to 500 kilometres a day as a delivery driver at the time, it was a life-changing opportunity for a guy who had gradually transformed himself from an unremarkable teenage surfer to someone who could mix it at an elite level. Unsurprisingly, Nic didn’t qualify on his first attempt, but the experience lit a fire in him, and over the next 10 years he racked up an impressive list of achievements. Most notable among these were QS wins at Burleigh and Maroubra, a couple of Aussie titles, and a gold medal for Australia at the ISA China Cup in 2014.

Given much of his time on the grind was largely self-funded and juggled alongside his role as owner/operator of the Illawarra Surf Academy, the soon-to-be 38-year-old is understandably stoked with what he was able to achieve.

‘I feel like I’ve over-exceeded anything I dreamed of doing,’ he says. ‘It was just through pure hard work I got to do what I loved for 10 years.’

With the COVID hiatus giving him time to reflect, Nic has decided to pour his energy wholeheartedly into the academy. As passionate about coaching as he has been about taking it to the world’s best, he’s keen to instill the skills and self-belief that’ve served him so well into the next generation of Wollongong shredders. And with his 13-year-old son Mannix showing the potential to one day follow in his father’s footsteps, it’s already paying off.

‘His journey is laid out if he wants to do it,’ Nic says. ‘I’m not going to push him but I’ll back him if that’s what he wants to do.’

Nic retires from the QS currently ranked 35th in the world. Not bad for a dude who didn’t land his first sponsor until he was well into his 20s.

Hats off to one of the sport’s true underdogs.