Why More Boardriders clubs should follow suit.
Around Australia Boardriders clubs are an integral part of the cultural framework. They help bind surfing communities and provide an important pathway for Australian surfing talent. For many of us the colourful days at local boardriders events and trips away to inter-club challenges are the source of our most cherished memories. And while we all love to watch the WSL anyone who has joined a boardriders club has borne witness to monumental showdowns at a local beach on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
Beyond the rivalries and competition it’s through their Boardriders clubs that many surfers find an invaluable sense of belonging. A club also provides members with access to a network of people who can help with everything from work to emotional support in tough times.
Despite the important role boardriders clubs play as the glue within surfing/beach communities they often struggle to get the backing from government bodies they warrant. Support has certainly never been on the same scale as it is for the Surf Life Saving Clubs and it’s arguable that Boardriders clubs perform an equally important role.
WindanSea Boardriders on the Sunshine Coast is currently attempting to create a more permanent home for its members. After seven years of research, planning and fundraising it has lodged a Development application to build a clubhouse at the southern end of Currimundi beach.
WindandSea, originally a Southern Californian club, has a long and decorated history. There were once three chapters of WindandSea in Australia and membership was only offered to the cream of Australian surfing.
The Sunshine Coast chapter is the last remaining WindandSea club in Australia and while they boast highly ranked members like WCT hopeful, Reef Heazlewood, (Parko is a former member) they are now very much a community driven club with over 50 per cent of the club’s membership being juniors with women and girls representing more than 20 per cent of total membership.
“We are extremely mindful of the local community and eager to secure the support of locals so that the DA is approved by Council officers. We need to stress that this is a community club – nothing like a surf club with a licenced bar, pokies and late night events,” explains club president, Terry Landsberg, in the club’s official media release.
Club member, Brendan O’mara, also points out that leased-out clubs and taverns often don’t offer the kind of family-friendly environment that WindanSea tries to cultivate.
“We currently have to utilise local licensed premises such as taverns for functions and events, where junior members of the club are exposed to gambling, including poker machines and betting and it just isn't a family friendly environment, which the club strives to promote.”
Many of you reading in Australia, or abroad for that matter, may be thinking, ‘What has this got to do with my surfing existence?’ The reality is, if the WindanSea club has success in getting approval for a clubhouse it strengthens the cause for other clubs around Australia and the globe. It brings all clubs closer to being formally recognised as important community groups and enjoying the benefits that come with that status.
If you are interested in helping WindanSea with their cause or finding out about how they got their proposal off the ground check out their website windanseaboardriders.com.au