PLEASE EXPLAIN: Byron Bay High?s HSC surfing subject has been placed in the spotlight after NSW Education Minister Carmel Tebbu
PLEASE EXPLAIN: Byron Bay High?s HSC surfing subject has been placed in the spotlight after NSW Education Minister Carmel Tebbu

HSC SURFING FACES THEDUMP

By RACHEL SCOLLAY and AAP

FOR Troy Rosee being able to study surfing was a definite plus when deciding to stay on at school.

"It's something you can relate to and you keep wanting to go to school," said the Byron Bay High School student.

"It's a great subject and everybody likes it. Surfing should be mainstream. It's part of our culture."

Troy's comments come after NSW Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt issued a 'please explain' to education bureaucrats for allowing surfing to be part of the high school curriculum.

The Board of Studies-endorsed course has been developed by Byron High School but does not count toward students' Universities Admission Index Scores.

Ms Tebbutt said she recognised that creative courses could keep students at school but she had concerns about the value of surfing as a Higher School Certificate subject.

Troy said students learned about the history of surfing, technical aspects about boardmaking and shape, as well as the once-weekly sessions on the water. He would probably carry it into Year 12.

"Our teacher is real passionate about surfing, so it's not just a subject it's a whole life thing," said the 17-year-old.

"Surfing is a holistic sport.

"She has shown us different careers you can take that revolve around surfing. It opens up prospects of staying in the sport ? but not competing. Because it's only the top 44 guys in the world who can compete."

Troy said the sport deserved more recognition and offering the subject at high school gave it credibility.

It's a sentiment echoed by Jak Carroll, who co-ordinates the Southern Cross University surf diploma.

"There was a lot of hoo-haa originally," he said.

"But it died down very quickly. People doing the course are getting good solid jobs in the industry and that helps," he said.

Mr Carroll said the surfing industry was worth between $1 and $3 billion in Australia alone, and between $6 and $9 billion worldwide.

Offering the subject at high school was a positive development.

"Surfing is a business and it's our culture."

He said the SCU course, Diploma of Sports Management (Surfing Studies), offered on the Tweed Gold Coast campus, looked at all aspects of the industry, with a business focus. There was also one unit on the water looking at surf skills.

There were 23 students in the first intake last year, with 31 enrolled this year.

He said most surf businesses in Australia were small to medium-sized.

"Often they're just recruiting their mates or people off the beach. We're saying we can offer you people who not only love surfing, but have manage- ment skills as well."

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