Currumbin to Host International Surfing Symposium Next Month

Posted on Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve Inc., will host the International Surfing Symposium in Currumbin to promote the sport and its direct relevance to critical issues such as ocean conservation and maintaining beach and surf amenity.

Chairman Andrew McKinnon said the “Surfing Summit” would build on the success of the city’s recent endorsement as the 8th World Surfing Reserve in March, 2016.

“The International Surfing Symposium will capitalise on the momentum building around surfing and the environment that the ocean public inhabit - we feel a responsibility to protect our oceans for future generations,” said Andrew.

Organisers have invited a highly qualified range of keynote speakers - from academics, coastal engineers, international surfing conservationists, surfing champions, and industry representatives - to address the challenges and future issues faced by the surfing lifestyle, its environment and industry.

“Topics to be canvassed include the environmental impacts of beach erosion, the use of recycled products for surfing equipment, shark shield technology, surf fitness, and explore future surf sustainability themes designed to make a positive difference. Other topical issues will include women’s surfing, impact of social media influence and a shark panel debate” he said.

The event has the support of the Queensland Government, the City of Gold Coast, Griffith University, and the private sector. The Symposium is broken up into a two day conference Monday 13th & Tuesday 14th of March from 9am to 5pm. Tickets for the two day conference (including meals and refreshments) can be purchased online from

“We are fortunate to have the support from the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and the City of Gold Coast’s Local Stewardship Committee for the World Surfing Reserve and Southern Gold Coast Councillor’s Pauline Young (Division 12), Daphne McDonald (Division 13) and Gail O’Neill (Division 14).”

Keynote speakers include the Gold Coast’s first two World Professional Champions, Peter Townend (1976) and Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew (1978).

Bartholomew, patron of the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve, welcomed the Symposium.

“It’s a fantastic initiative which will not only gather surfing’s best but it will also lure many of the world’s leading experts in coastal conservation and surf sustainability to the Gold Coast. We face many challenges over the next 20 years and this Symposium has attracted a collective brains trust that is second to none.”

Former World number 2 in 1991, California’s Brad Gerlach, now a professional coach, is a welcome addition to the Conference. Gerlach and his Australian wife Anna are expecting to be parents in April in Australia. Gerlach brings a wealth of professional surfing knowledge to the table, he is a highly respected mentor and was a key speaker at the 2015 Global Wave Conference in 2015 in the UK.

Peru’s first World Champion Felipe Pomar (1965) will discuss how to keep surfing until 100 years. The 74 year old Big Wave champion, is arguably the fittest surfer in the World for his age. The youngest speaker is 15-year-old Pacha Light, who is an Ambassador for Gold Coast Tweed Surfrider Foundation and recently appointed Ambassador for SEABIN, working on the eradication of plastics in the ocean.

Patagonia Global Wave Ambassador Dave Rasta Rastovich will join with legendary shaper Dick Van Straalen to talk about the State of the “Yewion.” Author/ Journalist Tim Baker will discuss the value of a wave. Program Director of Save the Waves (the World Governing Body of World Surfing Reserves) Nick Mucha from Santa Cruz, California is making his Aussie debut and will discuss how WSRs work.

The International Surfing Symposium is in association with the Global Wave Conference leading into the Global Wave Conference October 2017 at Santa Cruz. McKinnon is aiming for the Gold Coast to host the biannual Global Wave Conference in 2019.

The two-day conference on Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th March 2017 from 9am - 4pm at Currumbin RSL is followed by International Surf Movie Festival at Currumbin Surfworld Wednesday 15th March and the Big Gig to wrap-up the Symposium with James Reyne & Band supported by Felicity Lawless Band on Friday 17th March. 

Full detail of the schedule, speakers and associated music events are available at:

All our events are running on the eve of the Quiksilver & Roxy Pro 2017 World Tour opener at Snapper Rocks Gold Coast.

For further contact Andrew McKinnon 0412754974 or Julie Jerbic 

Photo credit: photo Currumbin Alley photographer Sean Scott. 

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