Mike Baird is Australia's first surfing state Premier
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 19 April, 2014 - The founder of National Surfing Reserves and Surfrider Foundation Australia announced today that the installation yesterday of 44yo local Manly surfer, Mike Baird to the position of 44th Premier of the New South Wales was a proud and significant milestone for surfers nationwide.
“This shows that the historically polarized world of surfers and authorities are merging socially and politically, with more surfers becoming politicians and more politicians becoming surfers, like Peter Garrett (ALP) and the Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott,” Brad Farmer said today from the Gold Coast.
Mike Baird rides a short board these days at Manly Beach, where four years ago, he was the popular surfing MP and local chairman of the Manly-Freshwater National Surfing Reserve Committee.
“I started surfing close to 30 years ago. I used to catch a train from Pennant Hills to Chatswood and then a bus to Dee Why. For some crazy reason we chose Dee Why Point as our place to learn. These days anywhere from the Bower to North Curly is my dawny place of choice, he told tRACKS surfing magazine in an interview.
“I still remember the joy of my first board (a Bennett twin fin) and part of the experience was saving for something I desperately wanted. If it came down to my favourite surf spots then Green Island, Lennox Head and Angourie would have to qualify.
“I understand the mixed reactions to ‘surf tourism’ but for me, I am incredibly proud of our coastline and the waves on offer. Of course I have been in packed line ups, but surely the essence of surfing is sharing the experience tempered with moments of joy with just you and your mates”.
NSW is the most populous surfing state in Australia and arguably has the finest surfing coastline. “NSW is the only state in Australia to have nine formally gazetted National Surfing Reserves through the NSW Crown Lands Act, with the first Indigenous Surfing Reserve at Wreck Bay Aboriginal community to be declared in 2014,” Mr Farmer said.
“Mike and the his fellow Liberal, Prime Minister Tony Abbott represent key seats of Sydney’s northern beaches – the birthplace of Australian surfing, where Duke Kahanamoku demonstrated the culture and art of surfing a century ago.”
Tony Abbott, Manly Mayor Jean Hay AM, the NSW Governor Her Excellency Marie Bashir and NSR Ambassador Kelly Slater declared Manly-Freshwater as a ‘World Surfing Reserve’ in March 2012, the first WSR in Australia.
Mr Farmer said he would continue to lobby both the new Premier and the PM for increased funding and recognition for surfing and coastal programs to ensure Australian beaches remained the world’s best. NSW has the most number of Surfing Reserves in the world.
Mike Baird, as the leader of the best surfing coast, has an opportunity now to cement benchmark legislation for surfing and coastal communities with Surf Management Plans.