At 4.30am yesterday as most of Margaret River slept, Jacob Willcox was riding his bike to Boodjidup beach to paddle into a huge surf.
Over the next five hours, a constant stream of surfers came and went as word spread about the good conditions, but the blond 16-year-old grommet stayed in the water.
It is this tireless dedication that has propelled Jacob to the top of his age group internationally and helped him topple 11-time world champion Kelly Slater this month.
Jacob returned home to Margaret River last week after competing in France and Portugal, where he beat Slater as a wildcard entrant at the World Championship Tour event.
He has since been jolted back to reality and is studying for his Year 11 exams, but said the experience was unforgettable.
"It was a great learning curve," Jacob said. "I got to see how guys like Mick (Fanning) prepare and what they eat.
"They helped me out through the trials and gave me pointers before my heat against Kelly, so it was good."
The win over Slater made international headlines but the teen took it in his stride.
"When you're an underdog in those heats, you just go out there and have fun," he said.
"You can't put too much pressure on yourself, especially when you're facing a competitor like Kelly."
When the waves are good, Jacob puts in up to six hours in the water, often rising before dawn to get to the beach before the crowds roll in.
"When you love it so much, it's hard not to get up and go surfing," he said.
He was joined yesterday by local surf legend Taj Burrow and dozens of others making the most of what Jacob said was the best surf in the area for a couple of months.
Jacob's mentor Fanning knocked him out of the Portugal WCT event but the experience has motivated him even more to carve out a successful career riding waves.
Jacob's father Mick taught him, sister India, 12, and brother Charlie, 6, to surf.
His mother Emma said they were extremely proud of Jacob.
"We're really happy for him because this is what he wants to do, it's what he has wanted since he was four years old," she said.