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Surf’s Up for SMG Orthopaedic Group’s Medical Director

Medical director takes a break from patient service on the open seas.

Dr Andrew Dutton is a man on the move. The medical director of private medical practice SMG Orthopaedic Group does not sit in a clinic to face an endless stream of patients, nor does he remain in one hospital for a day’s work. Instead, he travels to different hospitals to see up to 20 patients per day, evaluating medical-test results and performing surgery to correct body injuries.

The travelling is part of the medical group’s commitment to service – that patients get to pick the location to see the doctors, and not vice versa.

That’s why the 42-year-old Australian turns to wakeboarding: to catch his breath. Every Sunday, a speedboat whisks him out to sea, far from the suffocating urban jungle. The water sport started out as a casual introductory activity with his friends but quickly became part of his weekly routine.

“It’s such an enjoyable experience to get out of the city, under clear open skies,” says Dr Dutton. “I sit around talking to friends, having drinks and feeling very relaxed, before wake boarding.”

The clear open skies are important to Dr Dutton. While he has been here for 14 years, he grew up in Canberra, the country’s landlocked capital where sprawling government complexes, not skyscrapers, are the norm.

Even so, wakeboarding is not all relaxation – it is also strenuous. Strong muscles are needed to pull oneself up and to surf the waves in the boat’s wake.

“The first time, I could hardly put on my pants the next day,” he quips. “My muscles were stiff and tight because I used muscles that I’d never used before – those of the forearms, lower back and the buttocks.”

There is an intrinsic life lesson in all of this. “You fail a lot of times, you struggle quite a bit and it shakes your confidence,” he admits. “But, if you’re tenacious in what you do, pick yourself up and just keep at it, and you’ll eventually get to where you want to go.”