What is Your Opinion on the Status of Education?
Education is incredibly important because it gives students more opportunities in life and job choices.
Whilst at school, students think of school as a chore, they do not realise the importance of education until they are out in the real world.
All levels of governments do not do enough for teachers who are taken for granted, unappreciated and undervalued.
Prime Minister Rudd was elected on an educational platform "a computer for every student". But he did not make the resources available for computer training. Instead of allocating a computer to each student it would have been better to improve the teaching resources in each and every classroom.
I advocate an education revolution that includes improvements in teacher training, increase in teacher numbers, decrease in class sizes and improvements in the education facilities.
Teachers are overworked and underpaid. You cannot provide great education in large class sizes. On top of this the physical classroom conditions are appalling. Most schools have no air conditioning, old fashioned facilities and demountable classrooms.
How would politicians feel if they had to work in such uncomfortable surroundings? Yet they ask the future generation "to learn in discomfort".
Political buck-passing has become the norm in Australian politics. Nobody is held accountable for the appalling state of education. Changing the Minister for Education is often seen as a solution to the incompetence in the ministerial portfolio."
Where Did You Go to School?
My primary school was Sacred Heart, Hamilton. Then I attended what is now St Francis Xavier's, and then it was Marist Brothers. I left school in fifth form to compete in the world surfing titles.
Please Tell Us a Little About Your Family.
I am married to Jenny and have three children a 20 year old son, 16 year old daughter, and a 14 year old son.
What Was Your First Job?
My dad, Ray Richards started the current surf shop in the current location in 1962. I have worked here since I was 10 years of age. Apart from professional surfing, it has been my first and only job.
What Do You Value the Most In Life?
I value my health and family.
What Was Your Most Treasured Memory?
Seeing my three children being born.
What Was Your Most Memorable Professional Achievement?
Winning my first world surf title in 1979. I also won the world surf titles in 1980, 1981 and 1982 but the first is most deeply etched in my memory.
What is Your Favourite Australian Haunt?
The best place in the world is Merewether Beach.
What Is the Best Overseas Destination?
Hawaii, because it has the biggest and most challenging surf in the world.
What Are Your Hobbies?
Reading magazines such as The Rolling Stones and surfing magazines. Listening to the music of Pearl Jam, Bruce Springstein, Silverchair, and Powderfinger.
What Does the Future Hold for You?
I am not a planner I do not look into the future.
I would like to continue surfing and manufacturing innovative surfboards.
My newest surfboard design is the "Super Twin" (See photo on opposite page).
What Advice Would you Give to Young People Who Want to Become Professional Surfers?
Get the best possible education first.
Sponsors such as clothing companies and surfboard manufacturers want young people that are role models, figureheads, spokespeople and image creators. They are looking for more than someone who can stand on a surfboard.
In order to become a professional surfer, you also need to go through the competitive stepping-stones in surfing. At present there are 450 surfers who are vying to qualify for the 18 available positions in world surfing competitions.
Mark Richards Surfboards
755 Hunter St
Newcastle West NSW 2302
P: 02 4961 3088
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Get Ahead Kids® Jan/Feb 2009