FOR surfing enthusiast Anthony "Tono" Taylor, it was the legendary status of a Bargara surfer who inspired him to chase the big waves as a grom in the '70s.
Now, almost 40 years on, Mr Taylor has met up with his mentor Neville Evans in a reunion at Nielson Park Beach where he presented an oil painting in honour of the old surfing days.
"It was an absolute honour to present the painting to Nev Evans," he said,
"It was done in oils on hardboard. The sun features a special light reflecting medium so the painting will change moods on Nev's wall dependent on ambient light, angles and time of day."
Mr Taylor, who now lives on the Sunshine Coast, searched for Mr Evans via a story he submitted to the NewsMail and said he received many responses before getting into contact with the veteran surfer.
"Thanks to the NewsMail running the story, I had a couple of initial emails from locals and then I was contacted by Jack, Nev's son, who helped organise a meeting," Mr Taylor said.
Mr Taylor said his painting was inspired by a memorable morning, surfing a decent swell at Bargara when he was 14.
"I was paddling out as a wave loomed, rearing up and backlit by the morning sun. At the top of the wave was Nev. I remember to this day thinking he shouldn't go. He was going to do the flying lip lock, fall out of the sky and land on me," he said.
"I was freaking out- then all of a sudden, Nev was 'S' turning down the wave and slamming it off the bottom, a sheet of spray from his rail slapping me in the face. It became the benchmark. I wanted to surf like that."
As a young surfer, Mr Taylor said he looked up to Mr Evans as a surfing legend.
"I was just a young grom. At that age, when you are 14 and 19 years old, you are a world apart," he said.
"I still hear stories about Nev today, they usually end the same way - "Man, he could surf"."
Mr Evans, who has hung up his board and is enjoying a quiet lifestyle in Bargara, said the kind gesture from Mr Taylor was humbling.
"It is very flattering," he said.
"I enjoyed my days in the water with all of my mates and being one with the waves. I appreciate the recognition and what this man has done for me."
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