Surfing's new wave
SOME of the nation's best up and coming surfers will soon be calling Casuarina home as a new multi-million dollar surf training centre nears completion.
The Hurley Surfing Australia High Performance Centre is the first of its kind in the world and will house state-of-the-art surf education and training facilities to support the development of Australia's elite surfers.
"The centre is the Australian Institute of Sport equivalent for surfing," said CEO of Surfing Australia, Andrew Stark.
"We want to change the entire training culture. We want to bring in Olympic-standard training methodologies and utilise the very best in sports science and cutting-edge athlete performance technology to ensure Australian surfers have the absolute world's best training environment."
"It's only open to Australian surfers and will be a pretty powerful advantage."
Mr Stark says Brazilian, European and American surfers were moving ahead in leaps and bounds in the competition results and there was a need for such a centre to help grow the new generation of surfers.
Scholarships will be on offer and programs in the new centre will be aimed at a lower age group of 10 to 14 year olds who will be sourced from Surfing Australia's talent identification programs.
"We want to get them really young and bring them in to the system so by the time they're ready to start they can compete at that top level."
"There'll be accommodation as well so they can experience a daily training environment. It's not just about surfing technique and water, but also diet, nutrition, media training and other life skills."
Mr Stark says the centre will also cater to recreational surfers with user-pays programs and activities to enable them to develop their surfing skills.
Mr Stark said it was exciting that the project was finally coming to fruition after the need for such a facility was identified many years ago and Consolidated Properties had gifted the million dollar site for development of the centre.
The Federal government contributed $2 million for construction, the Australian Sports Commission has invested in the surf programs to be run at the centre and the Australian Institute of Sport lent its expertise to assisting with the building design to make it a true training centre for surfing's elite athletes.
"We need to have a central place, a national hub for athletes and being where it is it's close to the airport, a good location, far enough away from distractions, there's warm water and excellent surfing conditions."
Mr Stark said in recent years, the likes of Stephanie Gilmore, Layne Beachley and Mick Fanning, along with a profitable surf retail industry had contributed to the rise of the sport's profile.
The Centre will open its doors in June.