There is no denying that living on the GC we are pretty spoilt with our waterways and beaches. And one Gold Coast local has taken full advantage of them. Meet Harley Clifford. An 8x World Wakeboarding Champion and Mazda Australia ambassador. We got to know not only how he undertook his journey to claiming world titles, but also what his home-grown favourite spots are.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
Gold Coast has been my home now for 13 years and I wouldn’t change it! As much as I like travelling and getting out, Gold Coast will forever be my home base!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Well I’m currently 28 years old, grew up in Newcastle, Australia and at an early age I found my passion of wakeboarding. Currently residing on the Gold Coast with my lovely wife and my beautiful one-and-a-half-year-old daughter, I also have a little dachshund named Taco! I have many hobbies that I really enjoy – as of late it has been surfing and the latest and greatest foiling.
What do you love the most about the Gold Coast?
I love that Gold Coast provides everything I need, amazing waterways, world-class surf waves, beautiful mountain ranges, it has a great climate, cafes, bars, restaurants and just all-round good vibes non-stop!
What/who originally got you into wakeboarding?
My dad grew up as a professional water ski racer and then just organically we grew up boating and my 2 brothers and I got our hands on a wakeboard one weekend and absolutely loved it! It quickly became our family’s favourite thing to do and the rest is history.
What is your favourite wakeboard trick and why?
Haha well I’m sure that most of you would have no idea what this trick is but it’s called a tail grab KGB which is where you edge into the wake on your heelside and throw a backroll reach down and grab the tail off the board and finish it off with a backside 360-degree rotation.
What is the hardest thing about being a professional wakeboarder?
The hardest thing is that it requires me to spend a lot of time in the States which used to be easy but now I’ve grown up a little and have a family it has definitely thrown a spanner in the works but I’m very lucky I have an amazingly supportive wife who troops it out and takes the reins when I’m away!
What’s the coolest thing you’ve done in your entire wakeboarding career?
Winning an X games Gold Medal was up there! That was a dream come true as I grew up watching the X games and dreamed of winning a gold one day!
What would you be doing if you didn’t pursue wakeboarding?
To be honest I have no idea haha, I was literally on my way to being a pro wakeboarder from 7 years old when I got my first paying sponsor. I like to think that most likely I would have studied and gone to uni as I always had a high academic achievement level at school.
What does a typical day in the life of you look like?
It varies, but an ideal day in the life for me is wake up and enjoy a delicious breakfast with my family. Take my daughter to day-care, then head home, get out on the boat for a solid wakeboard training session, head to the gym for a training session, eat a nice lunch and then get home, jump on the computer and keep my affairs in order. Pick my daughter up from day-care and wait for my wife to get home from work then get out on the boat with the family for a sunset cruise before dinner and some wine to top the day!
What are you looking forward to the most in the next 12 months?
Just productivity – the last few years with Covid were quite hard to be productive but now the world is open, I’m travelling and wakeboarding as much as possible.
How do you each choose to spend your days off?
I love to spend my days off with my family, our favourite thing to do is load the Mazda BT-50 up with our beach necessities and head down south to Byron Bay! Enjoy the scenic drive down and then a beautiful morning under the sun on the beach, followed by a nice lunch and then a relaxing drive home where Ellidy sleeps the whole way so my wife and I can listen to some cruisy music and enjoy the little moments in life that are so precious.
We have to be upfront, and ask you a very important question… are you a Queenslander or are you a Queenslanderrrrr? If your answer is the later, then read on. Because we were fortunate enough to get to know Queensland footy legend and radio personality, Ben Hannant. And for those who don’t know, prior to his time on the breakfast show on Bianca, Dan & Ben Gold Coast’s Hit 90.9, he represented the QLD side of State of Origin on more than one occasion and even managed to obtain two tries during his Origin career. So ahead of Game 2 and 3 of the 2021 Origin series, we got to know Ben a little better.
Tell us a bit about your career to date.
I first found my love of football while in high school at Currumbin High, my first club was at Burleigh Bears as a junior. I then dedicated over 15 years of my life to professional football. I signed up to football in 2001, straight out of high school and joined the Brisbane Broncos. I spent nine years with the Broncos, two years with the Sydney Roosters, two years at Canterbury Bulldogs and my final two professional years I was with the North Queensland Cowboys. During my professional career, I won two premierships, played and won five Origin Series. I played six tests representing Australia, four Nations Champions and two World Club Challenges. I was awarded Dally M Prop Of The Year 2009. When I retired from football, I made my way back home to take on a new challenge of radio on the Gold Coast. I joined the breakfast team at Hit90.9 alongside Dan Anstey and Heather Maltman in 2017 and I’ve been on the airwaves ever since!
What’s the best thing about working alongside Bianca Dye & Dan Anstey?
Having fun! There’s not a dull moment in the studio with those two. Dan’s always got a one-liner and Bee’s got no filter! Every day is interesting, we get to speak to the Gold Coast every morning and we’re always laughing. I’m so lucky to call it ‘work’.
What did you enjoy the most about playing footy?
Friendships, life skills and always pushing myself to be better. I had to learn to enjoy feeling comfortable being uncomfortable. It has shaped me to be the man, husband and father I am today.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Definitely marrying my wife, Emma and building a life and family together.
What do you love the most about the Gold Coast?
The thing I love the most about the Gold Coast – everything is at your disposal. You’ve got the beaches, the hinterland, the river, great restaurants and nightlife. There is no better place to live and raise a family.
Where will you be watching the next two games of Origin 2021?
Game 2, I’ll be in Brisbane watching the action live! For Game 3, I’ll either be at home with the family or securing my seat at the Sydney Stadium!
Honestly, who do you think is going to win the State of Origin this year?
Queensland, of course! You won’t hear me say anything different. EVER.
What are your Gold Coast favourites…
Café: No Name Lane in Broadbeach is a favourite and it’s right across the road from the studio!
Coffee spot: I’ve never had a coffee! But I love a hot choccie from Max Brenner in Robina.
Restaurant: Jimmy Wah’s in Burleigh, great food at the best location.
Bar or pub for a drink: Definitely The Sporting Globe in Robina!
How do you choose to spend your weekends? You would find me fishing, surfing, playing football, horse riding, mountain bike riding – anything the kids are up for! With eight kids, we normally do all of these activities in one day.
If you haven’t already realised Mother’s Day is fast approaching – which means you better start thinking about how you are going to treat the number one lady in your life. The special day aside, we personally think that you should celebrate mum every day. Not only does she care and cook for you, she often has a long list of other responsibilities herself. Some mums even run a business too! And that is exactly what mum of two, fitness influencer and founder of James Cosmetics, Emily Skye does. No doubt you have seen Emily on Instagram as she has over a whopping 2.5 MILLION followers. Emily squeezed answering a few questions for Inside Gold Coast into her hectic work schedule. Read on to get to know Emily both personally and professionally!
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
8 years now!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a mother of two beautiful kids, Mia and Izaac, and I also own two businesses, Emily Skye FIT, my fitness app, and James Cosmetics, my beauty company. Through my FIT app I’ve been able to reach and connect with millions of women around the world who are working together as a community to strive for a healthier, happier lifestyle. James Cosmetics are beauty products I truly swear by and use myself! I’ve always had a huge interest in the beauty industry and wanted to share products that I love with everyone! I also have an amazing community of women through my Facebook and Instagram pages who inspire me everyday!
How did both James Cosmetics and the Emily Skye Fit app come about?
I started Emily Skye FIT after a very hard time in my life where I struggled a lot with my body image and an unhealthy lifestyle. I was in a very bad place mentally and physically and wanted to make a change. I made healthy changes in my life and started eating healthy and exercising and it completely changed my life! I wanted to share that feeling with other women and made it my mission to share knowledge I had learned along the way with other women so they can make positive changes just like I did! Over the years, FIT has become such an amazing platform where we are just one big community, constantly encouraging each other and helping each other each day! The app has definitely evolved as well as I have, as a mother I really wanted to include a pregnancy program and post pregnancy, and these have had such a great response!
James Cosmetics is my beauty company and something I am so passionate about! I’ve always been interested in beauty and skincare, I even became a qualified beautician 15 years ago! The products we release with James Cosmetics are genuinely just products that I use and want to incorporate into my routine! We started with just our 24K Gold & Collagen Crystal Eye Mask, and it still remains as one of our best selling products!
Tell us what your proudest entrepreneurial moment is?
A couple of things would definitely be being named Forbes #3 influencer in the world, and featuring on the cover of Women’s Health Magazine in more than 20 countries! They are both definitely pinch me things that I’m very proud of!
As a very busy woman, how do you manage your time to really strike that work/life balance?
I’ve found the best thing you can do is plan ahead and have lots of structure. I was never really any good at structure before having kids, I was quite spontaneous and didn’t like planning anything too far in advance. I’ve had to change that since becoming a mother and having businesses. It’s all about prioritising and having a to do list to get through and sticking to it! I’m still learning of course, but having a routine has much a huge difference to my everyday life and my mental health.
What do you love the most about being a mum?
Being a mum is just amazing in itself. Having these little humans that you and the person you love the most in the world created together and they’re like a mini you but with their own personalities. It’s so cool seeing kids grow up and evolve and watch their personalities come out! I love being able to have an impact on someone the way I can with my kids, teaching them what I’ve learned through life and being a role model to them.
How are you planning on spending this Mother’s Day?
I’m looking forward to just spending time with the kids and being grateful for them and being proud of myself as well for what I’ve done and what my body has done! I’ll also definitely be showing appreciation to my own mother as well for the amazing job she did raising my sister and I on her own!
How do you choose to spend your weekends?
Either outside with the kids playing in the pool or going for a walk along the beach with the kids with a nice coffee. I love spending time outdoors, especially living in a place with such amazing weather!
David ‘Christo’ Christopher is one of the Gold Coast’s best-known radio personalities and one third of the much-loved 102.9 Hot Tomato breakfast team.
Not only that though, Christo recently opened up about his struggle with depression and the platform he created, www.dadswithdepression.com, a space where men can find information and actually talk to one another about their experiences. Which is admirable to say the least.
We sat down for a chat with Christo about his advice for other Dads who might be dealing with depression and the lighter stuff, like celebrity interviews… including Keanu Reeves!
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
My parents moved us all up here from Melbourne when I was 11. Beside a stint of time spent chasing the radio dream, including three years in Townsville and seven years in Sydney, the Gold Coast has been my home for a loooooong time!
What do you love most about living here?
What’s not to love? In my younger days it was brilliant because the nightlife was all on your doorstep and now as a semi-functioning adult, the restaurants and kids events are all so close too. There are loads of new bars and cafés popping up that are kid-friendly and take advantage of the outdoorsy lifestyle, which makes it perfect for raising a family.
Tell us about what you do at 102.9 Hot Tomato.
I’m what they call the “anchor” on the breakfast show. It’s my job to keep the show running smoothly and on time – which is not always easy, Flan and Emily Jade are big talkers! I do all of the “services”, so tell the time and share the temps so people can plan their day. I also do all of the button pushing.
Seems like a pretty good time, what’s a normal day like for you?
Breakfast radio is anything but normal! I’m generally up at 3:40am and then again at 4:00am, after I’ve hit snooze. I’m at the station by about 4:30 to read newspapers and get ready and we go live from 5:00am ‘til 9am. After the show, we generally have meetings to plan for the next day or to discuss events coming up or sometimes we might pre-record an interview. We’re out of there most days by about 11:00am. I try to go to the gym and then depending on whether it’s a kindy day or not, I go home and either spend time with my 3-year-old or try to relax a little until it’s time to do school pick-up. Then, it’s time for my second shift – work of another kind!
How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always loved the radio; my parents bought me my first radio when I was five and I used to sit and make my own radio shows with a tape recorder. I started my radio life here on the Gold Coast at Radio Metro (it was called Hott FM back then). I just walked in and asked if I could do a show and they said yes! I volunteered for about five years, doing a range of shifts and shows around my full-time job. Eventually I was picked up by Sea FM and I moved to Townsville with my co-host, where I stayed for about three years before landing a job in Sydney. I hosted the breakfast show on The Edge 96ONE for six years and did a bunch of work on their sister stations WSFM and Mix over that time too, before taking a job at Nova, where I hosted a national night show and a national weekend countdown. Those jobs were amazing – I don’t think there was a concert that came to Sydney that I didn’t go to. I interviewed all the biggest celebrities including Rihanna, Elton John and Keanu Reeves. But once we had our first child, Sydney was too much – too busy, too expensive. We wanted to come back home where our family is on the GC. I was lucky enough to score a job at Hot Tomato doing nights before they asked me to switch over to breakfast, where I’ve been with Flan and Emily Jade ever since!
You’ve recently begun speaking about your experience with depression, how did you know something wasn’t right?
It runs in my family, which was my first clue. I was first diagnosed around the time my first child was born. I noticed that I was constantly irritable and irrationally angry for no reason whatsoever, along with the general feeling of not wanting to get out of bed in the morning; I knew something wasn’t right. This coincided with a fight I tried to start with a guy over a carpark in a Sydney shopping centre (I’m so not a fighter), with my then heavily pregnant wife in the car, who said, ‘Um, perhaps it’s time to go and get some help?”
Why do you think Dads experiencing depression is so rarely spoken about?
There’s always this stigma that guys don’t talk about their emotions or feelings. When guys get together you don’t really sit there and say, “Hey mate, how’s your depresh going bud?”. We chat about more surface level stuff. Whereas with women, they generally have a great network of friends who they can unleash to and help work through problems. As men, we just bottle it up with a “she’ll be right mate” attitude. It’s this attitude that’s got to change.
Tell us about the platform you’ve created…
It’s www.dadswithdepression.com. I wanted to create a space where dads – well, really all men, but Dads with Depression has such a great ring to it – can go to find articles and stories about depression. It’s a place where they can go to make comments and talk to other men about their experiences. To help them make informed choices on what they need to do next and what steps to take. I also wanted them to be able to speak freely, so if they’re not keen on posting comments on the site, I set up a Facebook page and a private Facebook Group where we can all go and talk openly about what we’re experiencing and talk to others who are going through the exact same thing. There’s an amazing group of guys already on the site and in the private group who are helping each other out.
What’s your advice for other dads who think they might be experiencing depression?
Go and see a doctor. If you’re not happy with the answer they give you, go and see another one! Call the government’s mental health hotline and talk to someone. Come and join the FB group and take a look at the site. Just do something! There’s plenty out there to help you, so please take advantage of it. Suffering in silence is so exhausting, isolating and lonely. Do something so that you’re not going through this alone.
What’s in store for the rest of 2019 for you and the family?
I have set myself some challenges this year to help with my depression and that is to take myself out of my comfort zone. To do some things I wouldn’t normally do. So far, I’ve climbed Mt Warning and I have a few other ideas up my sleeve. My wife is a writer, so I’m hoping she’ll have some time to finish her first great novel and I want the kids to have a happy, healthy and fun year on the Gold Coast!
Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Café for breakfast: Because of my work hours, I can’t go past Randy Wallhole in. Their after-work coffee and cinnamon bagel combo is a winner every time for me.
Coffee spot: I recently discovered Café Hedges that I’ve enjoyed and they make great coffee; The Henchman in Miami also make a brilliant coffee. I’m a coffee lover so wherever there’s a coffee to be had, I’m there trying it out! On a bad day, I have five coffees – not great, but it could be worse right?
Restaurant for dinner: On the Gold Coast we are truly spoilt for choice. I’m a big fan of Cucina Vivo at The Star; I love my pasta and pizza so any excuse to go there is a good one. Hideaway Kitchen & Bar in Broadbeach is perfect for a night out with mates. Hellenika in Nobbys is delicious. And I love places like Burleigh Pavillion and Driftwood Social; they are perfect for taking advantage of the Gold Coast weather and enjoying a Sunday session.
Spots to visit on the weekend: Having three kids, my weekends are pretty full of kids parties, activities and errands so we try and go to different spots and places the kids can play all over the coast. The kids (and the kidults!) are always partial to a visit to Movie World or Sea World as they’re some of the best theme parks in the world, right here on our doorstep – so why not take advantage of them.