22 June, 2015 – Gold Coast, Australia – A 10 kilometre Paddling mission by 6 young groms was accomplished on International Surf Day Saturday 20th June from Snapper Rocks to Laceys, Palm Beach in support of a Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve.
Paddling in support of a Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve was the motivation needed for 6 young surfers on International Surfing Day Saturday 20th June. Originally it was the brainchild of two very dedicated teenage girls Pacha Light 14, and Kiani Dobbyn 15, both are enrolled at Palm Beach Currumbin High School sports excellence program and members of the Snapper Rocks Surfriders Club.
Concerned about protecting their breaks they encouraged other young groms to paddle with them from Snapper Rocks to Currumbin Alley with some re-energizer breaks and fun waves in between. Chairman of Gold Coast World Surfing Reserves Andrew McKinnon loaned out his quiver of various 8ft guns for the eager young surfers.
It was not a race but a chance to familiarize themselves with the southern end of the Gold Coast and do something that had never been done before especially by this dedicated youthful group. Local photographer Peter Sturm was on hand to document the special occasion from start to finish.
The dedicated grom paddlers included Kiani Dobbyn 15, Pacha Light 14, Shayne Leeuwendal 13, Anteaga James 13, and Taj Warren 10.
Fronting up and frothing to go on a fresh winter morning in the their full length steamer wetsuits, the Grom gang’s paddling mission was carefully monitored by photographer Shane Nienaber on his jet ski who generously followed their ocean awareness campaign. They entered the water from Little Marli, Snapper Rocks just after 7am pointing north and hugging the superbank catching waves at Rainbow Bay while heading for their first stop at Kirra Point. It took only 30 minutes before they were surfing the inside bank at Kirra and it was the youngest of the pack, micro mega 10 year old supergrom Taj Warren scored a perfect peeler on his Dads 7ft single fin.
On the beach for a quick checkup with water intake, it was promptly agreed to go to North Kirra for the next refuel. Mums, Dads and supporters followed their progress and everyone regrouped again infront of North Kirra Surf Club (where the WSR idea had been hatched in 2014 protest opposed to the Ocean Terminal) chewing frantically on energy bars and gulping down orange juice, they recommenced to continue the big stretch from North Kirra to Tugun.
Pacha and Yani’s Mum Anja Light no stranger to environmental campaigns globally and a former Greens candidate for Gold Coast opted for the beach walk taking time frame photos while Pacha and Kiani had go pros to document this historic paddle. AM managed to fit in a live interview with local ABC radio station 91.7FM while doing his 90.9 SEAFM & 92.5GOLDFM surf reports.
By 9am, the grom paddlers were hitting the beach in front of Tugun Surf Club having caught some great waves along the way on the secret banks that you never hear of almost a rarity on the Goldy these days and the gang were more pumped than ever for the final stretch. Greg Howell of Tweed/Gold Coast Surfrider Foundation who had organized an Eco International Surfing Day at Laceys the final destination was waving them on from Flat Rock Tugun. By the time they got to Elephant Rock the new SE swell was on the increase and the SSW wind was strengthening all working in their favour and helping them to make steady progress. A decent 3ft swell was breaking nicely at Currumbin beachfront the tide was on the make to a high tide at 11am and the paddlers were well. That was until the youngest Taj Warren couldn’t duck dive his Dads 7ft chunky retro single fin but determined and with his Dad Wazza encouraging his son from the SUP, the super-grom caught up with the rest as the rounded Currumbin Alley Rock. Almost on cue a set arrived at the Alley and they caught it with the oldest Kiani hitting the beach at around 10am.
We had roughly estimated that they would be at Laceys by 11am but ended up taking 3 hours to do 10ks as the seagull flys, wow you can’t beat the exuberance of youth as they stepped onto Laceys at least 1 hour earlier with beaming proud smiles on their faces. It was a job well done for a great cause on International Surfing Day. NBNTV & Gold Coast 9 News caught the tail end their historic paddle was splashed all over social media. They are keen to do a part B, i.e. Laceys to Burleigh when they can fit it in their hectic surf schedule. Until then the next Big Paddle & Surf event for the Gold Coast World Surf Reserve will be on Sunday 12th of July where everyone is encouraged to participate, paddle, surf, walk whatever it takes to be called Rock to Rock i.e. Elephant Rock to Currumbin Alley Rock and hosted by Currumbin Alley boardriders and create more ocean and beach awareness.
Head over to the official website to support this campaign: www.goldcoastworldsurfingreserve.com