CUSTODIANS: Juraki's Joel Slabb and daughter Jalaan will play a big role at this weekend's Quiksilver Pro.
CUSTODIANS: Juraki's Joel Slabb and daughter Jalaan will play a big role at this weekend's Quiksilver Pro. John Gass

Juraki's warm welcome to pro surfers

A BEAUTIFUL tradition is set to continue this weekend when Juraki, one of the Tweed's local indigenous community organisations, ushers in the 2018 Quiksilver Pro at Snapper Rocks.

A traditional dance and welcome ceremony will formalise the beginning of the 12-day competition, before eight surfers from Juraki's squad take to the waves in the Juraki Teams Challenge.

It will be the third year running that Juraki opens the WSL event and, according to director Joel Slabb, Juraki's involvement will again draw indigenous youngsters, elders and the broader community closer to the indigenous culture.

"It's an opportunity for us to show who we are,” Slabb said.

"The elders lead the way. We must make sure we have space for our elders, and our kids are the next generation.

"For us, in the community, we want (our elders) to see what we're trying to do and where we are heading.

"We take a lot of guidance from them.”

For the eight surfers taking part in the WSL Juraki Teams Challenge, which will immediately follow the welcome ceremony, there is already building anticipation for one the biggest days of their lives.

The event will pair four boys and four girls from across Australia (three are from the Tweed) with eight pro surfers - many of them world champions - for a pairs event that matches youngsters with their heroes.

"The kids will have two-20 minute heats with a pro surfer, sharing colours; they get to surf Snapper with their idols,” Slabb said.

The event will then turn the community's focus firmly to the next generation.

"That's something we try to do. Juraki surf culture is looking at opportunities that our indigenous surfers don't usually get.”

Juraki's official welcome to the Quiksilver Pro will begin at 8.30am on Saturday. Wildcard trials for the Quiky Pro will take place on Saturday with the main event scheduled to run from March 11-22.



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