Upcoming Drug Aware Margaret River Pro to also host SurfAid Cup
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 4 April, 2016 - The local economy, Surf Aid, the Starlight Foundation, local businesses, tourism, artists, the Margaret River Community Centre and the Margaret River Football Club all benefit from the region hosting the World Surf League Championship Tour event, the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.
Surfing WA CEO Mark Lane said that the winners of the Pro weren’t only the top finishing male and female surfers. “We involve many local businesses, community groups and charities in the Pro and make a conscious effort to ensure the benefits of the event are far reaching,” Mr Lane said.
“For the past five years, we’ve run the Surf Aid Cup, which has a lovely synergy with the Pro. Corporate teams raise money and the team that’s raised the most has first pick of which professional surfer will join their team. The teams then surf and compete, with all money raised going to Surf Aid.”
SurfAid works with impoverished women and children in isolated areas in Indonesia, places connected to surfing. Surf Aid is working with 51,000 people providing essential but simple, sustainable solutions like clean water, improved nutrition and clean birthing.
“The local Footy Club manages the parking and in return, we make a donation to the club to contribute to their running costs.
“We facilitated surfers autographs for Aravina Estate who have had a surfboard made up that will be auctioned off at the Starlight Ball later in the year to raise money for the Starlight Children Foundation.
“In conjunction with the Department of Sport and Recreation, we also run the ‘GromPrix’, which is a terrific opportunity for developing young surfers – WA’s rising surfing stars. They have mentoring sessions, coaching sessions and participate in a seminar hosted by a Surfing Australia High Performance coach.
“For the past fifteen years, Gerry Reilly at Melting Pot Glass Studio has been making the trophies for the Pro. They are stunning pieces of art and he often gets surfers come visit his studio to see him craft and blow glass.
“We also do quite a lot of community engagement with the Augusta Margaret River Shire with their Youth Advisory Council and ‘Count Me In’ group. They are given special access to the Pro, behind the scenes tours and a chance to meet the surfers,” Mr Lane said.
Mr Lane said that for the first time, Surfing WA has partnered up with Top Drop Tours to offer a ‘Waves and Wine Tour’ that includes a behind-the-scenes look at the WSL event site.
“Top Drop Tours has been acknowledged at the Australian Tourism Awards as the best Tour and Transport Operator in the country for two years running because they do an outstanding job – I’m delighted to involve them in the Pro and give guests an opportunity to see a different side of the event, before they enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting,” the Event Director said.
“We also acknowledge the teams that work hard to ensure the Pro runs smoothly and safely.
For the frontline services – medics, paramedics, sea search and rescue, volunteers, local police and hospital staff - Surfing WA puts on a special awards night. Each team chooses one member who has gone above and beyond the call of duty and they are presented with an award. This year, Telstra have sponsored the Frontline Services Sundowner and those chosen will also receive a prize for their achievements.
Mr Lane said that over 50 local businesses were engaged to assist with the event operations.
Through the Pro, Surfing WA directly inject $1.5m into local businesses, not including peripheral spend such as staff wages, meals and expenses. “Our site crew, caterers, construction managers, telecommunications specialists, cleaners, service staff, many in the broadcast crew as well as the assistant judges are all locals.”
In 2014, economic impact surveys showed that over $4.4m was injected into the local economy as a result of visitor spend at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro. The third stop on the WSL CT is the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, which will be held at Surfers Point from April 8 to 19.
The world’s best surfers including Kelly Slater, Gabriel Medina, Joel Parkinson, Stephanie Gilmore and local surfing hero Taj Burrow will compete for points over 12 days. The WSL CT brings the top 34 ranked male (plus two wild card entries) and top 17 ranked female (plus one wild card entry) surfers to the extraordinary waves in the South West of Western Australia.