Swell idea for PNG
KIDS in Papua New Guinea surf naked with old broken surfboards, while some board- rider clubs have just three boards to share between 20 people.
They still have a lot of fun, but Coolangatta surf coach Jamo Borthwick hopes to get them extra equipment to take their surfing to another level.
Mr Borthwick recently spent three weeks in the country at the request of Surfing PNG to train surf coaches, surfers and lifeguards.
“They are really, really keen and have a heap of talent,” Mr Borthwick said yesterday.
“There are some really hot surfers over there, some who would mix with the best of our crew, definitely.”
But to nurture that talent, the people need equipment, which they can't afford.
So on his return to Australia Mr Borthwick decided he would get some boards together to send back to PNG.
“Their lifestyle and what they have got over there is really basic, so simple and unreal, but they don't have much. They just don't have access to the things we have over here,” he said.
Mr Borthwick is calling on local surfers to donate that old board they don't use anymore, or a spare pair of boardshorts, lifesaving equipment, or even a boogie board.
“Any stuff people have would be sensational,” he said.
PNG is in the process of developing its surf industry and Mr Borthwick is set to play a key role. He will return to the country next year to continue training locals.
The country is keen to take advantage of some of its great surf breaks by welcoming tourists, but Mr Borthwick said it was being done in a smart way to avoid the pitfalls suffered by other popular surfing destinations in the past.
“They are doing surf tour- ism in a way that preserves their identity, culture and surf areas. It will be so everyone benefits, not just a select few.”
He said many beaches implemented a permit system to ensure there were never more than 20 people in the water at a time.
Mr Borthwick will be at the Currumbin Junior Surf Life Saving Club from 10am to 12pm with a trailer tomorrow to take donations. The following Saturday he will be at Surfers Paradise Surf Life Saving Club from 10am to 2pm.
The goods will be shipped to PNG at the end of May and again later in the year.