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Surfing Australia's First Nations Youth High Performance Program

Promising young Indigenous surfers from all corners of Australia are preparing to come together in Lennox Head, on Bundjalung Country, for an exciting event—the inaugural Surfing Australia First Nations Youth High Performance Program. In this five-day camp, athletes between the ages of 7 and 18 will refine their surfing skills at various beach breaks and participate in cultural sessions guided by a dedicated all-Indigenous Committee.

Rory Togo, spokesperson for the Committee, expressed his enthusiasm for the upcoming camp, stating, "We couldn't be more excited for the second camp. The kids have had a chance to bond like a small family unit over camp one and can't wait to reunite. In camp two, we will really start to focus on the high-performance aspect of our programming."

Otis Carey, a Gumbaynggirr–Bundjalung man and accomplished surfer, attended the first camp in Victoria and will return as a Surf Mentor for the youth. Reflecting on his own experience growing up, Otis shared, "I only knew about three other Indigenous surfers. I never had many other Indigenous role models to look up to. If I had something like this when I was younger, I feel like I would've excelled in my personal life and in my surfing life. It's just a great way for Indigenous kids to connect with other Indigenous surfers. It's great that there's a cultural aspect to the program as well."

With optimism, Otis highlighted the bright future of Indigenous surfing, noting, "Some of the kids are surfing so well. I can definitely see a few getting on Tour if they stick to it."

The Surfing Australia First Nations Youth High Performance Program camp is proudly supported by the Norm J Innis Charitable Foundation, with Billabong as the major partner, and contributions from Mark Richards Surfboards, FCS, and Surfboard Empire.

About the program:

Sixteen surfers have been selected for the Surfing Australia First Nations Youth High Performance Program based on their event results and potential as surfers. Each participant will have an individual High-Performance plan tailored to prioritize their well-being and cultural identity, valuing their voice and that of their families. The plan encompasses strength and conditioning training, sports psychology, life skills, trick acquisition, goal setting, and additional support as needed.

First Nations Youth HPP athletes:


  • Kyroan O'Donnell (Noosa, QLD)

  • Landen Smales (Noosa, QLD)

  • Tatum Pratten-Eggins (Newcastle, NSW)

  • Hunter Winkler (Coffs Harbour, NSW)

  • Braith Wilson (Coffs Harbour, NSW)

  • Zane Silvester (Duranbah, QLD)

  • Joe Murray (Coffs Harbour, NSW)

  • Kaiden Smales (Noosa, QLD)

  • Taj Simon (Snapper Rocks, QLD)


  • Maggie Shaw (Lancelin Ledge Point, WA)

  • Indy Slattery (Currumbin Alley, QLD)

  • Kauri Heuston-Connor (Burleigh Pt, QLD)

  • Ocea Curtis (Lennox Head, NSW)

  • Bel Gee (Ocean Grove, VIC)

  • Bodhi Simon (Snapper Rocks, QLD)

  • Meg Day (Moonta, SA)

Read the full article here.

Photo Courtesy Surfing Australia

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