Snapper grom aiming high
SURF SCENE with Andrew McKinnon
AT ONLY 15, Palm Beach Currumbin High School student Pacha Light has the world at her fingertips. In fact, Pacha is off to the Worlds, that is the World ISA junior titles as a member of the U16 Australian team.
At last year's Australian junior titles, Pacha scored her best result to date with a runner-up finish in the U16 national junior girls final and an all-important spot in the Aussie team together with fellow Snapper member Quinn Bruce.
Pacha is using a send-off night function to thank her supporters and sponsors who have made it possible for her to reach her dream of representing the green and gold at the World Junior Surfing Championships in the Azores Islands, Portugal from September 17-25.
Pacha has organised a special evening for supporters, sponsors and friendsthis Thursday from 6-8pm at The Dust Temple, Currumbin Creek Rd, with live music (including Pacha and her busking squad) and words from her supporters.
Pacha's fundraising goal of $5000 towards travel costs was met through the generosity of people around the world via her GoFundMe campaign - the GoFundMe team itself put in $1000.
It's been an incredible road to success for the 172cm-tall, confident young student who was born in Ecuador and used to travel to town on a donkey.
When Pacha moved to the Gold Coast (where her mum grew up), her surfing naturally fell into place and younger brother Yani followed suit.
I first met them at the historical Save Kirra rally in January 2014 when they joined 4000 people to support a world surfing reserve. The waves at North Kirra were pumping that Sunday morning on January 19.
Before the rally kicked off, we went surfing together and I was surprised at how fit and agile they were in the overhead surf for their age. They ended up surfing rings around me. When we were sitting out the back waiting for the sets during a lull, they gazed up at the beach saying: "It would be so bad if they built an ocean terminal here.”
The genuine concern in their voices and facial expression about the future of the area really resonated with me. About a year later, Pacha joined the Snapper Surfriders Club and her surfing quickly advanced to the next level.
When the mission to seek approval for the Gold Coast Burleigh Beach to Snapper Rocks World Surfing Reserve had stalled, Pacha suggested the idea of paddling for the campaign. Together with mates Taj Warren, Anteaga James, Shaye Leeuwendal and Kiani Dobbyn, Pacha led the Snapper groms on a 10km paddle from Snapper to Laceys, Palm Beach on International Surf Day, June 2015.
It received positive media attention, effectively rebooting the campaign with renewed vigour. I will always be thankful for Pacha and the Snapper groms paddle to help us out. Surfrider Foundation followed up by appointing Pacha as a youth ambassador.
No doubt we will hear more about this incredibly talented individual who has the world at her fingertips.
Good luck in Portugal Pacha and bon voyage.