Indigenous professional surfer Joe Haddon helping a student from Doomadgee state school. The children had never seen the sea, been in it or been on a board. All that changed when they came to Byron Bay this week.
Indigenous professional surfer Joe Haddon helping a student from Doomadgee state school. The children had never seen the sea, been in it or been on a board. All that changed when they came to Byron Bay this week.

Outback kids take to surf

IMAGINE never having seen the ocean, then going in it for the first time with a professional surfer.

Aboriginal children from a remote community in north-west Queensland went in the ocean for the first time this week and had their first surfing lesson at Byron Bay.

Surfing Australia hosted the group of 12 children from Doomadgee State School near the Northern Territory border as part of the school's "show me your world and I'll show you mine" tour of south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales.

The tour is an incentive program to encourage children to attend school.

The surfing lesson was taught by Indigenous surfer Joe Haddon and Byron Bay surf coach Steve Foreman.

The aim of the trip was to provide an opportunity for children living in remote Indigenous communities to be introduced to a wide range of experiences which are not available at home.

Tour organiser Dr Kerrie Foxwell said it was the first time the children had been in the surf.

"They had an absolutely fantastic time," Dr Foxwell said.

"It was the first time they had been surfing and when asked what had been the favourite thing about the trip they said surfing was the best part.

"It's really interesting to witness such pure joy and happiness.

"That is good news for anyone, but is especially good for children from these remote Indigenous communities which are some of the most disadvantaged communities in Australia.

"It was particularly pleasing for them to be able to meet other Indigenous people who are doing well and are a success and Joe is an example of that."



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