Born ocean side at Manly Beach to a die hard bodysurfing father and Scottish immigrant mother, Col had little choice in his surrounds. It was beach fishing, swimming, picnics and seafood Christmases in the sand from day one. Over time his fascinaction with the surroundings the Bernasconi's as family frolicked in went from kicking waves on the shore to learning how to ride a blow up rubber mat, boogie board (official in the early seventies), foamie, hand surfer, thunder tube and anything else that floated.
Before to long the main objective was excelling at riding a fibreglass surfboard when solo and trying to out last dad each and every wave while bodysurfing (fail). Fast forward 20 odd years and a career as a pro surfer has come and gone but a love of wave riding in general remains. While thunder tubes and boogie boards don't rate a mention his fathers pure pursuit of body surfing and his progression in to short board surfing remain... All thanks to the ever elluring love of getting barrelled. While he's mastered (or at least got a handle on) the art of both frontside and backside tube riding on a surfboard, like most mere mortals, it's the black belt of wave riding that eludes him... getting barrelled on the body and exiting successfully (and consistentantly).
It's that ever humbling pursuit that keeps him coming back. Laughing his arse of every time too mind you.
Where did you grow up?
I was lucky enough to grow up between North Avalon and South Whale Beach on the Northern Beaches of Sydney - both spots pump in their day and Nth Avalon was perfect surrounds for a learner yet also offered the best big waves on the northern beachs when the swell was right. My first taste of the inside of a tube was at South Whale Beach however and to this day I'll never forget it... One minute I was drowning ants in the pool with a friend from kindy and the next I was pering into a kalidescope of colours inside an open wave.
Where are you currently living now?
I've worked hard to now have the opportunity to live in the wave rich surrounds of Forresters Beach on the central coast of NSW. That's all I'm going to say about that.
What are your favourite local spots?
My old local Little Avalon and my new local "beeeepppppppp"
Do you have any other favourite breaks?
Backdoor Pipeline, Keramas in Bali and my number 1 = HT's Sumatra.
What breaks are on your bucket list?
I've been lucky enough to surf most of my list, most recently being J-Bay. But I'd love to spend some time on that right in RANGIROA, French Polynesia. And I'd love a crack at North POint - a wave that's alluded me despite being there 10 times or more.
Have you always bodysurfed?
Always. My Dad was only ever a body surfer and it was my first port of call. I prided myself on surfiong without a legrope on my board and being able to body surf one wave all the way to the beach to retrieve it if I had fallen off.
Do you ride other surf craft?
I can ride most crafts but prefer short boards and body surfing - long boarding hurts my skinny knees.
How are bodysurfers viewed in your local line-up?
None where I surf now but back home at Avalon they got mad respect. Good people and good surfers always prevail and are welcome in line ups no matter what they ride. A dickhead on a bodyboard, surfboard or mal will always be a dick head - same goes for bodysurfers.
What do you find cool and inspiring about bodysurfing?
Getting barrelled. Even better? Coming out clean! Amazing feat.
What’s inspiring you in the water right now?
Getting barrelled. It's always the same.
Where do you hope to take your bodysurfing over the next year?
Finishing fourth in the Anzac Day flat Rock Invitational was a high point - winning it next year would be even better ;)