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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Global Wave Conference rides into town on a ‘sick swell’

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Hundreds of keen surfers and ocean lovers are meeting at Southern Cross University on the Gold Coast this week for Australia’s first Global Wave Conference, and the surf has definitely come to the party.

Two broad complex low-pressure systems converging in the Coral Sea have brought pumping waves to the coast, ensuring attendees are getting plenty of chances for hands-on experience.

The 6th Biennial Global Wave Conference will be the first time Australia has hosted the international gathering, which aims to advance the recognition of the value of waves and their protection around the world, bringing together the best international minds from surfing, conservation, and innovation communities to tackle the world’s most challenging ocean issues.

Former World Tour pro surfer Bede Durbidge will share Tokyo 2020 Olympic insights while World Surfing Champion Tom Carroll and his author brother Nick Carroll will discuss surf crowds.

Other speakers include 13-year-old ocean warrior Shalise Leesfield of Port Macquarie, and Multiple World Adaptive Surf Champion Mark ‘Mono’ Stewart from Byron Bay will discuss the growth of disabled surfing.

Conference Chairman Andrew McKinnon from the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve Inc said there’s no doubt attendees will make the most of the early morning waves ahead of the jam-packed program of international speakers.

‘The easterly swell will build all week climaxing on Thursday and Friday in the 6 – 10ft range and then cleaning up for the weekend with fine and sunny weather. The biggest tide of the year will be on Monday at 9am NSW time (1.88 of a metre) at the Tweed River a king-high tide,’ he said.

Former World Tour pro surfer Bede Durbidge will share Tokyo 2020 Olympic insights while World Surfing Champion Tom Carroll and his author brother Nick Carroll will discuss surf crowds.

Other speakers include 13-year-old ocean warrior Shalise Leesfield of Port Macquarie, and Multiple World Adaptive Surf Champion Mark ‘Mono’ Stewart from Byron Bay will discuss the growth of disabled surfing.

Southern Cross University Business Student and professional surfer Ellie J Brooks is the global ambassador for the event, after spending New Years at Riyue Bay competing to become 17th in the World Surf League Qualifying Series of 2020.

The strong goofy footer is part of Southern Cross University’s Elite Athlete Program which supports students achieve academic excellence whist pursuing the demands of their sporting career.

‘The University has a great appreciation of surfing and its importance here on the Gold Coast. It’s all part of a really strong environmental focus here, both in terms of education and general philosophy and as surfers and the broader surfing community it’s so important to get involved,’ Ms Brooks said.

The conference will also include a book launch, surf film movie nights on campus, and the unique ocean surf photo exhibition on display at Southern Cross University Gold Coast Campus Library, which will be auctioned off as wildlife fundraiser at Palm Beach Collective on Thursday 13 February.


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