Special moments as Outback kids discover the beach
WOOLGOOLGA will hold a special place in the hearts of a group of young school kids who visited from the semi-desert town of Wilcannia.
Many of the Aboriginal youngsters, aged between 7 and 10, had never seen the beach before let alone had a surf in the ocean.
After 16-hours on a bus the kids from The Outback hit the water for a surfing lesson with the Solitary Islands Surf School.
Adding to the highlight the lesson was carried out with guest instructors - renowned big wave surfer Tom Carroll and the Coffs Coast's own champion longboarder Harley Ingleby.
"What an amazing thing to be part of, many of the kids hadn't been to the beach before today and they were full of energy and just loved it," Harley said.
Surfing Australia's Jim Hughes said it was one of the more memorable days he's seen in years of staging Surf Grom events.
"It was a really long drive and a lot of them came down to the ocean for the first time in their lives," Jim said.
"Before this many had never seen the ocean, never seen the beach or the surf, it was amazing to see their reaction.
"Through Surf Groms and thanks to the Quiksilver foundation and Save the Children we have taken them surfing for the first time and included them in the Vegemite Surf Groms program.
Eleven-year-old Jamin Jones stood up on a surfboard for the first time ever and was wrapped by the experience.
"I love it, never been surfing before, but I reckon I want to do it all the time," Jamin said.
Judging by the big smiles, high fives, laughter and joy of the kids, the 2500-kilometre round trip will be definitely worth the effort, even if the school bus did overheat on the way while coming down the Dorrigo Ranges.