Surfing New South Wales

Surfing NSW - Indigenous Surfing Program

The Sky is the limit with Girri Girri & Otis Carey

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Girri Girri Sports day at Maroubra Beach was a huge success, despite the grey skies seventy-five kids from as far as Bourke and Bathurst waxed up their surfboards with professional surfer Otis Carey as part of a three-day program designed to promote positive youth development.

Meeting three times a year for the program which enhances career education, 2011 is the first time students have visited the beach learning to surf, talking to Randwick City Council Lifeguards about ocean safety and participating in beach games.

"We have done many activities over the years but this is definately a highlight and it won't be the last time, the kids are raving about it some even want a surfboard for Christmas", said Girri Girri Sports Academy Coordiantor Nathan Rollinson.

"One of the most beneficial parts is the educational side of the program where the kids learn the dangers of the beach and also to respect it, it's really important to get knowledge and skills they take home and keep for the future", said Rollinson.

Surfing NSW and Girri Girri Sports Academy have worked together to create the day as part of the three-day program giving academy member's differentiated experiences, partaking in Rugby League, Basketball and AFL activities.

"It's opened them up to a different lifestyle, To have Otis Carey here is a big thing it shows that indigenous kids can become pro surfers and enjoy the beach lifestyle, its very different because the only water activities these kids get to participate in regularly is swimming in the rivers and the dams, it's a whole new world for them", said Rollinson.

Professional surfer Otis Carey participated in the activities with Let's Go Surfing Surf School and demonstrated the surfing he is well known for. Carey see's the importance the experience has offered the participants and knows the value of the Indigenous Surfing Programs.

"Coming to things like this and seeing the kids come to the ocean for the first time, I know I'm so lucky to be able to surf every day and be on the beach for a job", said Carey.

"The sky's the limit for them, to finish school and make a career out of the ocean, it doesn't have to be surfing but a career surrounding the ocean is achievable for everyone. I was a little grommet growing up I spent every day at the beach after school and to see these kids laughing and having fun I think they will be talking about this for a while, said Carey.

The leadership and sports camp is a selective program, where kids are picked based on their achievements at school. Latoya Kirby and Julia Wighton of Condoblin High School participated in all the activities and were glad to learn how to navigate the ocean.

"I have never been to Maroubra before, it was hard paddling out and jumping up on the board but it was great fun and we got to chat to Otis Carey which was cool", said Julia.

"It was a bit rough out there but we learnt a fair bit and did so many activities, we are here for a whole week and tomorrow we go into the city", said Latoya.

Randwick City Council Lifeguards were there to educate the participants about the ocean, informing them about how to understand the ocean and the safe areas on the beach.

"It means a lot to pass on the knowledge I have to these kids, I've been around the beach for over 20 years with the lifeguard service and surf life saving, to share information knowing that it could save their lives in the future is great", said Randwick City Council Lifeguard David Skene.

Creating a positive, safe, fun and very informative experience for students, the Leadership camp has previously run programs with the AIS in Canberra, Sydney Sports Academy in Narrabeen, Burrendong  Sport & Rec Centre and this year at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence - NCIE in Redfern.

For more information on Surfing New South Wales Indigenous Surfing Programs please visit:

About Girri Girri Sports Academy
Girri Girri Sports Academy aims to improve attendance rates, increase retention rates and provide opportunities to improve literacy and numeracy skills for Aboriginal students. Our positive youth development program focuses on the individual talents, strengths and interests for academy members. As a result Academy Members have developed positive attitudes to learning and are successfully engaging in their local schools and communities.

Otis Carey proving the sky is the limit to 75 kids from Girri Girri Sports Academy at Marbroubra. Image: Miller

Girri Girri Sports Academy students participated in the Sports day at Maroubra Beach

Otis carey and the boys after demonstrating his renound aerial moves at Maroubra Beach

Lets Go Surfing staff teaching the kids how to read the ocean at Maroubra Beach

Condoblin High School students Latoya Kirby, Kadisha Brandy, Julia Wighton and Keona Singh

Otis Carey (Bondi) surfing at Maroubra today with the Girri Girri Sports Academy

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