Surfing Australia's CEO Andrew Stark having a shower after a surf at Snapper Rocks.
Surfing Australia's CEO Andrew Stark having a shower after a surf at Snapper Rocks. Blainey Woodham

Surf CEO works, lives and breathes the sport

AS the head of Coolangatta-based group Surfing Australia, Andrew Stark encourages his staff to surf as much as possible.

It's not the average request from a boss, but it's certainly a ritual the CEO practises every chance he gets.

"I'm really busy but make a point of still surfing a lot. I love it," Mr Stark said.

He works, lives and breathes the sport, which has seen him take the organisation to new heights since taking over as CEO in 2009.

The long hours are not seen as a chore as Mr Stark works hard for the sport he loves and gets enjoyment out of every minute, making a point of surfing as much as he can.

"I think my passion for surfing definitely helps in the job," he said.

"At the same time, it is important to run things from a business perspective to grow the sport."

And "grow the sport" Mr Stark has done, growing the business by 280%, increasing full-time staff from six to 21, and increasing turnover from $1.8 to $7 million in five years.

With a business degree under his belt - achieved while also running the University of Queensland's Boardriders Club in Brisbane - Mr Stark started with Surfing Queensland in 2000 and has not looked back.

Mr Stark came on board at Surfing Australia aiming to bring a business mentality to surfing.

Lily, Mr Stark's two-year-old daughter, already knows quite a bit about surfing. Dad tells her all about it every night at bedtime, with surfing together in the future the hot topic most nights.

The Vegemite Surf Groms program run by Surfing Australia has seen 20,000 children discover the joys of wave riding.

Surfing Australia is a not-for-profit group that aims to promote the development of surfing in Australia.



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