Farmer & World Surfing Reserves win Hall of Fame Spirit Award
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 14 February, 2014 - It’s a Valentines Day surprise with a twist for Queensland-based surfing environmentalist who through his long love affair with beaches, last night took out the prestigious ‘Surfing Spirit Award’ at Manly for founding National Surfing Reserves. NSR is a program 20 years in development by Brad Farmer; a brainchild idea that has been exported worldwide from the Gold Coast and also given birth to the offshoot, World Surfing Reserves, currently based in California.
Joined in accepting the honour last night by his 2005 NSR co-founder, surfing Professor Andy Short OAM at a Gala ceremony at the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame Awards, Mr Farmer said: “This award honours the years of creative and ongoing energy of many thousands of beach goers across Australia who believe beaches are so loved and so worth protecting. Who wouldn’t want to keep our beaches clean and free for everyone to enjoy?
“Australia is after all just one big beach, and so we’re all connected through this lifestyle and resource.”
Just two years ago in Sydney, National Surfing Reserves Ambassador and long-time friend of Mr Farmer, 11-time World Surfing Champion Kelly Slater from the USA, joined PM Tony Abbott to declare Australia’s birthplace of surfing Manly-Freshwater, a World Surfing Reserve. (pic)
Mr Farmer who is a third generation surfer from the Gold Coast also founded the Surfrider Foundation in 1991 and has been ‘working tirelessly’ since 1993 (see attachment) to create a coordinated national program of 25 protected iconic surfing sites in Australia. Currently 50% of the NSR sites in Australia are legislated, as are two Surfing Reserves in Hawaii, based on the Australian model. Mr Farmer said today that several other governments from other surfing nations are facilitating the NSR concept and realising the social, cultural and economic advantages of Surfing Reserves.
The Gold Coast and Noosa in SE Queensland are both currently in planning for nominations to become World Surfing Reserves, with the Queensland Governor, Her Excellency Penelope Wensley AC and former Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke MBE, declaring the three iconic Gold Coast Point Breaks National Surfing Reserves just 2 years ago on February 24.
The 'Surfing Spirit' Award also recognises Mr Farmer’s 40 years of advocacy, volunteerism and philanthropy for the conservation of oceans, waves and beaches across Australia and the world. It recognises his pioneering spirit and outstanding achievements to the nation and the world in founding lasting initiatives as National and World Surfing Reserves, Surfrider Foundation Australia and National Ocean Care Day, which have all contributed to significantly to coastal protection and community awareness.
Mr Farmer began his environmental passion in 1971 aged 11 with hand-written petitions at Paradise Point on the northern Gold Coast against bulldozers clearing mangrove habitats for housing development on the Broadwater. His family first settled in that Moreton Bay area in 1842.