Participants from the weekend's Indigenous Surfing Program held at the North Wall on the weekend show off their medals and certificates. Picture: CONTRIBUTED
Participants from the weekend's Indigenous Surfing Program held at the North Wall on the weekend show off their medals and certificates. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Third time lucky for indigenous surfers

IT WAS a case of third time lucky for the Coffs Harbour Indigenous Surfing Program which finally went ahead on the weekend in fun, playful surf at the North Wall.

The event was originally scheduled to coincide with the premiere of local Indigenous pro-surfer, Otis Carey's profile film late last month but the treacherous weather forced weekend shifts on two separarte occasions.

More than 50 surfers attended to be educated on reading surf conditions, paddling, wave negotiation, sun smart behaviour and environmental awareness by former World Tour surfer Lee Winkler and his surf school.

Event organiser and Otis' dad, Rod Carey said the day was well worth the wait.

"The day definitely lived up to expectations," Mr Carey said.

"We had over 50 kids all getting involved in the day as well as fun little waves that would run along the bank.

"Plenty of parents and families also turned up to watch as well, which was great.

"A lot of these kids had participated in a similar event a year or so back but for a giant portion of them, this was the first time they'd surfed.

"Out of all the guys who did the course last time, a lot went on to join the local boardriders club."

Mr Carey had special praise for Lee Winkler.

"Lee is a great coach for the kids. He's well respected in the Coffs Harbour area and a lot of the kids look up to him and know him through various avenues like school surfing," he said.

"He's always been fantastic when it comes to the local Indigenous community."

Local Indigenous surfer Allira Walker also won a board as an encouragement award for the courage and enthusiasm she showed on the day.

It was Allira's first time surfing.

Other fun prizes were given away on the day for things like best wipeout, best listener and best question.

All participants scored themselves a certificate, a cap and a medallion as well a bunch of other prizes from a wide array of Otis' sponsors.

The Surfing NSW 'ISP' aims to attract large numbers of young Indigenous communities to beaches throughout the state. The program promotes health, enjoyment and wellbeing through surfing and ocean safety awareness, bringing positive education to remote and local Indigenous communities.



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