A doctor looking for the perfect wave found something he wasn’t expecting, and founded something he didn’t expect to.
In 1999, physician and surfer Dr Dave Jenkins went on a surf charter to the Mentawai Islands with one goal in mind – surf.
One afternoon on what he thought would be a harmless tourist venture inland to one of the villages, Dr Dave’s beliefs in what is important in life were changed forever.
‘After walking past the graveyard and seeing a lot of very small graves I ended up running a clinic at the chief’s request.
‘I was the first doctor ever to visit the village. I saw women and children dying from malaria, malnutrition and inadequate living standards – things that I knew were treatable and, better still, preventable by helping them change behaviours such as basic hygiene and better breastfeeding practices.
The scene haunted the Jenkins an he vowed to return to the Mentawai with people and supplies – SurfAid was born.
Since then, the tree has sprouted branches and after a sold out event in 2018, Surfing Chefs for SurfAid will return to Three Blue Ducks on The Farm in Byron Bay on 31 March.
Surfing Chefs for SurfAid is a seated multi-course dinner prepared by some of Australia’s most acclaimed chefs, served with free flowing Balter beer, Brookies cocktails, Villa Vodka cocktails, and McHenry Hohnen wines.
This year’s event includes a special recognition for SurfAid Ambassador, Tom Carroll. In addition to being one of the event’s featured chef’s, Tom will be named SurfAid’s Humanitarian of the Year.
‘What an extraordinary model SurfAid delivers,’ says Carroll. ‘We all have an amazing time, eat extraordinary food (doesn’t even come close to describing it), and are offered the opportunity to give back – with people’s lives thousands of kilometres away being improved exponentially.’
A bespoke auction featuring the ultimate luxury Maldives Surf Trip to Pasta Point thanks to Atoll Adventures and Cinnamon Dhonveli, a ski holiday to Hakuba, thanks to Ski Japan, a chefs dream with a Traeger Grill & Shun knives, a signed Kelly Slater board and heaps of surf paraphernalia – all to support SurfAid’s lifesaving work.
The event will be joined by SurfAid Founder, Dr. Dave Jenkins.
‘Surfing Chefs for SurfAid is not just for surfers, this event is for the globally minded; it’s for people who appreciate good food; surfers who recognise surfing as a vehicle for giving back and for the local community too,’ says SurfAid Ambassador Felicity Palmateer.
Felicity will cook alongside Tom Carroll, Connor O’Leary and 12 acclaimed chefs.
‘The Mentawais is an an incredible region for surf,’ she said. ‘I’m grateful to be included in a night that is not only fun, but makes such a positive difference to so many. And to learn a thing or two working alongside so many talented chefs is pretty special.
‘All the food that is prepared is just amazing. And to raise so much money is just great, so everyone should come. It is a really special occasion.’
Guest chefs for this year’s lineup include: Ben O’Donoghue, David Lovett, Dennis Baker, Emma McCaskill, Gianluca Donzelli, Matt Stone, Palisa Anderson, Russell Blaikie, Steven Snow, Stuart Toon and Three Blue Ducks.