Matt Wilkinson is now hosting surf camps out of his luxurious Bryon Bay pad. The former World No. 5 surfer, who dropped off the CT in 2018, launched his Wilko's World weekends with a typically hilarious video last week.
"I've been wanting to bring back some funny clips for a while and then I came up with the idea to do the surf camps," Wilkinson tells the WSL. "The idea was to have fun, so hopefully it will attract people that are up for a laugh."
Wilkinson and his partner Anna Jordan own a converted schoolhouse in the hinterland behind Byron Bay. It overlooks Possum Creek, and comes with pool, state-of-the-art video room, and a restaurant. The couple ran the restaurant called Friday Hut Dining, until Covid-19 hit.
"Running the restaurant and accommodation last year was a massive eye opener in terms of what it takes to start and run a business," says Wilkinson. "We quickly found out that Anna was better at that than me, but the surf camp plays more to my strengths."
One of which, obviously, is his surfing. And for the all inclusive weekend experiences Wilko aims to bring his expertise to surfers who rarely get access to high-level coaching.
"I've done so much surf coaching over the years and I've always found it a little robotic," he says. "So I figured if we could add great coaching while the guests are still really enjoying their surf experience that would help them surf better."
Wilko has also tapped into his contact book enlisting the fitness expertise of Taj Burrow's trainer Johnny Gannon and the shaping experience of Darren Handley to offer tips on the best boards to ride. All the sessions can be videoed and analysed, over a beer of course, later on.
But it is Wilko's infectious personality, combined with the epic location, that might be the biggest attraction as he transitions from elite surfer to business owner.
"During lock down I was just surfing, fishing and having a sick time and I was thinking I wish I could do this for the rest of my life," he says. "I thought I just need bring people to come and do with it me. We have such a great spot and such incredible waves, I knew people would love the experience once they came."