Larrikin surfer swaps board for budgies in Warriewood

Greg Hall, aka Sid to all his mates, is an avid ocean lover, paramedic, sunglass model and all-around legend.

That’s how he’s described by his friend Jen, who dobbed him in for this article.  

Growing up on Sydney’s Maroubra beach Mr Hall loved surfing and being around the ocean but it wasn’t until a few years ago he thought he would swap his board for his budgies and give ocean swimming a crack.  

“I have really enjoyed ocean swimming and took to being out there in all conditions and taking it on,” said Mr Hall. 

“I love the whole feeling of being out there and just putting yourself a little bit out of your comfort zone, but I do still love to get my surf in.” 

What started as a few mates meeting at the beach for a swim every day at 8 am has grown in numbers to become the ‘Warriewood Stingrays’. 

“It started with just a few of us but now we have quite a large number of swimmers who join us at Warriewood which is great,” said Mr Hall. 

“Our favourite swim is where we swim out from Warriewood Beach and swim through the blowhole, which is just an incredible place to swim.

“We swim through this cave and come out the other side in what they call the keyhole and then we sort of just sit in the sun for a couple of minutes and take in what we have just done.

“It has become quite a spiritual place for everyone that swims with us at Warriewood.” 

Mr Hall and the Warriewood Stingrays ready to head out for a swim

Last summer Mr Hall and the Warriewood Stingrays used their love of the ocean and ocean swimming for a good cause, to raise money for the Starlight Foundation. 

“I was just swimming one day and thought we could put this to another use and the Starlight Foundation was getting ready to kick off their swim to raise money for sick children,” said Mr Hall. 

“I got everyone together and said look we are doing all this swimming, here’s a good cause, let’s raise some good money.

“So, we signed up and everyone really embraced it. We ended up raising $20,000 and swimming the equivalent of Warriewood to Crescent Head (roughly 431km). 

“We loved doing it and we’re pretty stoked to raise that much money for them.” 

Mr Hall and the Warriewood Stingrays

Currently, Mr Hall and the Warriewood Stingrays are gearing up for the Warriewood Ocean Swim on 11th December. 

“In our crew, we have a few swimmers who have never swum in an organised ocean swim before but are going to give the Warriewood Ocean Swim a crack, so that is quite exciting,” said Mr Hall.  

“We are all geared up and keen to swim and Warriewood is a really fun and exciting swim because you get to go out in the surf, then around the buoys and then back in through the surf again, which is quite fun.” 

Mr Hall’s advice to those sitting on the fence about entering the Warriewood swim was simple, he said, “just do it!” 

“Everyone should really do the Warriewood ocean swim because it will be one of the best things you’ll ever do,” said Mr Hall. 

“You’ll come out with such a great feeling of achievement, so just dive in, do it and have fun.” 

To join Mr Hall and the Warriewood Stingrays in the Warriewood Ocean Swim, head to the Warriewood Ocean Swim listing to enter. Entries close 3pm, Friday 10 December 2022.

How the Stingrays got their name

Wondering how the Warriewood Stingrays got their name? Well, Mr Hall describes it as a funny one: “One of the guys who swims with me, his name is Bakes, he got stung by a stingray and his eyes closed up a bit and he looked like a stingray. So we just decided from there that we have to be the Stingrays, that’s just how it has to be and we’ve been the Warriewood Stingrays for quite some time now.”

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