Glenn ‘Salty’ Saltmarsh has been rewarded for a lifetime of surfing and more than 30 years of commitment to running the West Coast Classic.
Salty will receive a Life Membership during this year’s presentation ceremony on the final day of the Classic.
Though he now loves working on the annual event, which has never been postponed or cancelled since the inaugural event 46 years ago, he admits he was reluctant to take on the role of organiser for the first time in his 20s some 33 years prior.
“I was competing on the state circuit in my early 20s,” Salty said.
“I got talked into running the event with Dale Crosswell and the first thing we did was move it from the January long weekend to the March long weekend.”
Salty says that he feels changing the date has made the event an even greater success, with March a much steadier time of year.
“That long weekend in January is a lot more turbulent obviously coming off Christmas and New Years and with people having just headed back to work,” he said.
“The March long weekend is just gorgeous, you wouldn’t want to be anywhere but Marrawah that weekend.”
The three day long event, which is one of the last events in the state to hold both an open Mens, Womens and a Junior comp, is held in high regard as one of the premiere events on the surfing calendar across Tasmania and even interstate.
“It’s always a great social weekend of surfing,” Salty said.
“Focusing on getting the best possible surf every year has helped us to maintain our strong reputation over the years.”
Though he is passionate about the event, he admits there have been many challenges over the years, and that he couldn’t have continued to work on the event for so long without the support of his daughter.
“I think that the fact that my daughter has been involved every year has kept me going for a lot of it,” Salty said.
“She’s kept me on the straight and narrow.”
Glenn says that seeing the juniors get amongst the waves and hearing their feedback is very rewarding.
“Some years as the event approaches I think to myself, gee I’m not sure I can go around again.
“But when you get there and you see smiles on faces and feel the atmosphere of the event and all the feedback . . . you can’t beat it.”
The location of the event provides a consistent challenge to surfers every year which keeps them coming back, and having a few different beaches available means there will always be good surf on offer for competitors.
“It’s one of those things, [surfing] is more than just a sport, it’s a lifestyle.”
“To get the most out of it you can’t just rock up and jump in, you have to chase the best waves, that’s the uniqueness of it.
“It keeps you coming back.”
Glenn ‘Salty’ Saltmarsh has been surfing in the West Coast Classic since he was a junior. Photo courtesy of Dylan Haberle.