Lee Duffield

Edited by Lee Duffield
Freedom and Truth

Wins prove surfing’s soaring popularity

A longboarder caves up the waves at Maroochydore

A longboarder caves up the waves at Maroochydore

South-east Queensland is witnessing a streak of surfing wins, taking seven out of 11 Australian longboard titles and three Australian Surfmasters’ titles over the weekend.

On an international level, Nambour local, Joel Parkinson, is holding the lead in the men’s tour.

Sunshine Coast surfboard retailer, Liam Toohey, says surfing now attracts not only mainstream sport fans, but the general public alike, with the south-east experiencing an undeniable growth.

“The alternative vibe attached to surfing has been replaced,” he said.

“The Sunshine Coast is thriving – we currently have a lot of good surfers, with Wade Goodall doing very well and Leigh Sedley competing internationally.”

Surfing today

Surfing Queensland’s events coordinator Chad Calderon says he has noticed a change in the sport’s demographic.

A young surfer takes advantage of the breaks at Alexandra Headlands

A young surfer takes advantage of the breaks at Alexandra Headlands

“If you go down to the beach you would almost immediately notice a wide range of cultures, ages and both men and women enjoying surfing,” he said.

Calderon says south-east Queensland has always produced world-class surfers and waves.

“Queensland has some of the best high-performance coaches and trainers in the world who can nurture young talented juniors and prepare them for the challenges of a professional surfing career,” he said.

Surfing Queensland holds coaching and judging accreditation courses, which they say are constantly being filled with a wide range of people.

“Surfing’s lifestyle attracts a lot of people who are intrigued by the image of surfing,” Calderon said.

Surfing education

Calderon says surf schools are filling up fast and with winter ending just a few days ago, many of these schools are chock-a-block across the Gold Coast.

“General beach crowds are higher for this time of year too,” he said.

Some high schools across the south-east are offering surfing as an option for recreational sport.

Grace Lutheran College teacher Malcolm Carter says a wide variety of students get involved, from those with real expertise to those who enjoy it socially.

“Interestingly, many of our exchange students get involved and love it, and we find about 10 per cent of our senior students choose surfing as an elective,” he said.

“Recreational sport aims to maintain student involvement in activity.”

Carter says surfing is fun, physically demanding and promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Retalier Liam Toohey working hard to meet high demands

Retailer Liam Toohey working hard to meet high demands

Business ‘booming’

Retailer Liam Toohey says with surfing’s soaring popularity and overall positive support, business is booming.

“Sales are right up at Beach Beat – many people are buying boards because of the unseasonal hot weather, plus people are getting their tax back and earlier in the year we had Rudd’s stimulus money, which helped a lot too,” he said.

A popular surfing school on the Sunshine coast

A Sunshine Coast surf school, recommended by Liam Toohey

“For $900 you can buy the whole package, a board, fins, leg rope, and a bag so it’s been busy.”

Surfing Queensland says the future of surfing in the south-east has an extremely positive outlook of growth and will no doubt make further inroads into mainstream media.