Andrew McKinnon, pictured here with co-founder of Surfers Against Sewage Hugo Tagholm, travelled exclusively to Santa Cruz to win the bid for the 2020 GWC.
Andrew McKinnon, pictured here with co-founder of Surfers Against Sewage Hugo Tagholm, travelled exclusively to Santa Cruz to win the bid for the 2020 GWC.

Coolangatta to host 2020 Global Wave Conference

SURFING: The Southern Gold Coast has won a bid to host the 2020 Global Wave Conference (GWC), one of the world's biggest surfing events.

Coolangatta received unanimous support to host the sixth bi-annual GWC in two years when it was put to the most recent GWC in California, hosted by Save the Waves Coalition, Surfrider Foundation, Surfers against Sewage, Surfrider Europe, Wildcoast and Conservation International.

Supporters of the Gold Coast 2020 Global Wave Conference. (From left) Ben Roche (Vice Chancellor of Engagement for Southern Cross University), Dr Rob Hales (Griffith University), Andrew McKinnon, Paul Daly, Mal Chalmers, Leigh Anne Webb, Terri Demspey, Rabbit Bartholomew and Queensland Federal Senator Murray Watt.
Supporters of the Gold Coast 2020 Global Wave Conference. (From left) Ben Roche (Vice Chancellor of Engagement for Southern Cross University), Dr Rob Hales (Griffith University), Andrew McKinnon, Paul Daly, Mal Chalmers, Leigh Anne Webb, Terri Demspey, Rabbit Bartholomew and Queensland Federal Senator Murray Watt. Rob Ryan

The event is expected to attract up to 400 experts from around the world.

"We are thrilled to see the Global Wave Conference go to Gold Coast in 2020 as it is the eighth World Surfing Reserve,” said Save the Waves Executive Director Nik Strong-Cvetich.

"Gold Coast will be such an exciting venue for the sixth bi-annual held the week before the World Surfing League (WSL) World Tour event at Snapper Rocks, and this also falls in the year that surfing is introduced into the Olympics for the first time.”

It will be the first time that the GWC comes to Australia. Previously the GWC has been hosted in the Canary Islands, followed by France, Mexico, UK and Santa Cruz, California last month.

Joel Parkinson in action at Quiksilver Pro at Snapper Rocks, one of the key locations that will be part of the 2020 Global Wave Conference.
Joel Parkinson in action at Quiksilver Pro at Snapper Rocks, one of the key locations that will be part of the 2020 Global Wave Conference. Adrian Bort

The GWC will attract surfing academics, marine scientists, ocean conservationist, industry leaders, legends and champions of the sport to address issues and concerns facing surfing as a whole and how to seek solutions and outcomes that protect the sport, our ocean and planet.

Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve chairman Andrew McKinnon, who travelled to Santa Cruz to present the successful bid, was delighted the Gold Coast won the 2020 bid.

"This will be a hugely significant year for surfing, especially while we ride the Olympic wave of momentum. I say go for gold, go for the Gold Coast. See you in 2020,” said McKinnon.

The Gold Coast GWC will be a five-day conference involving a World Surfing Reserve mini-conference with the 10 World Surfing Reserve countries, including a surfing expo, Tim Bonython movie festival and 'The Drop' live music festival based in the Coolangatta area.

Southern Cross University, with its Coolangatta campus, will help to co-host alongside Griffith University. The GWC will be a 100 per cent sustainable event.

Queensland State Government Sports Minister Mick de Brenni, who is a keen shortboard surfer himself, said there's no better place for surfing than Queensland, and there's no better time to pull this conference together than March 2020.

"Already, Queensland surfers will play a massive role at the 2020 Olympics both as athletes and coaches, and the GWC cements our spot on the international stage,” Mr de Brenni said.

"I'm really proud of what we've achieved on the Goldy with the World Surfing Reserve, the significant participation in club and free surfing, and the surf industry that's grown around it.”

The 2020 Gold Coast GWC bid was supported by State Government, City of Gold Coast, Tourism and Events Queensland, Destination Gold Coast, Department of Sport, World Surfing League, Surfing Australia, Tim Bonython Movie Festival, and The Drop Music Festival.



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