SURFING Australia's Hurley High Performance Centre, at Casuarina, scored more than half-a million dollars in funding from the Federal Government to expand the centre and launch an online surfing network.
Minister for Sport, Senator Don Farrell, and Minister Assisting for Innovation, Industry and the Digital Economy Senator Kate Lundy made the $600,000 funding announcement at the centre today.
Senator Lundy said a $250,000 new media grant for the MySurf.tv digital platform was money well spent.
"The whole world has completely changed with the advent of the Internet," she said.
"The great challenge for Australian sport is how to leverage their presence in that new place
"And surfing Australia has been able to identify where they want to be and they have the capacity, the capability, the skill set and the vision to take them there first out of all of our national sporting organisations."
Sen Lundy said this had been recognised by the Australian Sports Commission by investments in the past.
"I'm now looking to surfing Australia to stand as inspiration for a whole range of Australian sports because the old broadcast model will never work...there's not enough space," she said.
And Surfing Australia has been able to identify where they want to be and they have the capacity, the capability, the skill set and the vision to take them there first out of all of our national sporting organisations.
The minister said the future was IP TV and direct content management.
The new digital platform is expected to launch in November and will provide an insight into what goes on at the training centre as well as practically everything you want to know and see in the surfing world.
It is expected to be a similar format to the ABC's iView and would look and feel the same on all technology whether you viewed it on your tablet, smart phone or smart television.
A further $350,000 of funding has also been dedicated to the expansion of the high performance centre to build a dedicated sports science and research area, which will include a testing room, training room and treatment room.
Sen Farrell said although he wasn't much of a surfer, and only really tested it out in 1964 when the Beatles were in town, he was a firm believer in Australia leading the way when it comes to produce elite surfers.
"We've produced elite surfers in the past and we want to continue that, and so for that reason we're committing another $350,000 to build up the top here a further expansion so that what is a fantastic sport, at the moment, will be even better into the future, and that predominance that we've got of surfing will continue," he said.
"We're getting not only the elite sports men but, of course, we're getting lots of young people who want to train in the best facility in the world... we're going to make this centre even better."
Surfing Australia CEO Andrew Stark said he couldn't be anymore excited with the announcement.
ASP World Tour competitor Bede Durbridge said since starting aerobic training at the centre his aerial surfing has improved at least 50%.
The construction is planned to begin in next month and is expected to be completed by late October or early November.
Federal Member for Lilley Wayne Swan, who has been a big supporter of the high performance centre from the start, said a surfing TV network was the best news he'd heard today.