PADDLE BOARDING: Rainbow Beach's Andrew Prowd only got a top-10 placing in the Australian Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) titles, after struggling with conditions at the Gold Coast this week.
At 98kg, Prowd, aged 34 years, was the heaviest of the Australian open men's competitors, and says he found it difficult to perform with the small swell during the three day competition that began Monday.
"I need a bigger swell to generate enough power - the smaller surf suited the smaller competitors.
"Mother Nature was against me."
He had beaten competitors in the top four before but it was the "luck of the draw" and there was always next year, he said.
"I was still in the top 10, I'm happy with that."
As well as last week's event, he has competed in the Noosa surfing festival and state titles this season.
The former Gympie State High School student said pro paddle surfing was a progression for surfers as they were generally able to catch more waves and go out further.
People wrongly believed the heavier boards made it harder to catch waves but instead, surfers were able to generate more speed.
"Anyone competing in the event has likely been a previous world champion pro long boarder who has switched across."
Prowd, who has been a professional surfer around the world, changed to paddle boarding six years ago after a work accident resulted in a broken hip and surgery.
At the time he was training for the Australian long board festival and was devastated when doctors said he would be lucky to get full movement in his hip and would struggle to get back on a board.
He went through a time of anxiety and depression but when his physiotherapist told him the best thing he could do was get back in the water, he did just that, getting up on a paddle board.
"Life throws stuff at you and you just have to make the most of it."
Prowd was one of the first Australians to get into the sport.
He moved back to Rainbow Beach at the start of this year, after living in California for a year on his yacht in Marina Del Rey.
"I've been travelling well over 13 years across the world."
In California, they had some of the biggest swells in winter, where he was surfing 15ft waves.
Being out there with Laird Hamilton on waves like that was incredible, he said.
"It was unreal - all my training paid off."
Back at Rainbow, his ambition is to set up a surf camp for training and adventure day packages along the beach while also continuing to compete in paddle boarding competitions.
"We are lucky to live in the most beautiful place in the world," Prowd said.
Surfing was in his blood as his father and uncle were both keen surfers and made their own boards.
"I remember my mum used to sit on the shores at Double Island and scream out when sharks were close.
"She used to take me to surf at Noosa after school."
The Rainbow Beach Surf Club member said his most memorable surfing moment was while on a trip with two mates, travelling across Australia.
"We surfed an 8m swell in the Great Australian Bight. My mates and I were just sitting in the middle of that ocean and I was catching the biggest waves of my life."
Prowd's next challenge is to be the first person - along with a friend - to complete a stand-up paddle board ride around Fraser Island. He also intends to focus on his new business venture.