Otis does the Coffs Coast proud
STAR Coffs Coast boardrider Otis Carey is this week making Gumbaynggirr country prominent at the Australian Indigenous Surfing Championships at Bells Beach.
Before heading off to defend his open men's title, Otis took part in another important venture to celebrate the achievements of local Aboriginal youth.
More than 30 future community leaders from across the Mid North Coast completed an eight-week learn to surf and healthy lifestyle program in Coffs Harbour, Scotts Head and Port Macquarie.
"Surfing is a great way for kids to have a healthy lifestyle," Carey said.
"When I was growing up in Coffs Harbour there were not many Koori kids surfing, so it's great to see all these kids in the water and enjoying their surfing."
The program was delivered by the regional Ready Mob Aboriginal health promotion team.
Program leader Kristy Pursch said Carey was able to rope in some heavy-duty friends to help the kids, with surfing icons Lee Winkler, Trent Munro and Wayne Hudson part of the activity.
"The ocean holds a lot of cultural importance for our people," Pursch said.
"This program has enabled the children to connect to the ocean while learning about water safety, health and fitness, naturally."
Proud mum Gemma Taylor also gave the program the thumbs up.
"I saw my daughter's self-esteem and confidence grow and she has made a lot of new friends," she said.
"Looking at the talent it may have also set the pathway for another future indigenous number-one surfer from the region."