The indigenous boat riders club spans 6 generations. Credit: supplied

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BY MEL SOMERVILLE

 

A Randwick surfing club is calling for donations from the public to help support surfing programs and events for Indigenous youths.

 

La Perouse Board Riders Indigenous Corporation (LBRIC), an Indigenous Surfing club established in 1959 has been incorporated and hopes to raise money for surfing programs that will both promote and sustain the club for the future.

 

Sean Longbottom, 40, who has been part of the club since he was ten years old said “we’re planning to get a weekend down at Maroubra Beach and if we time it right… get the club kicked off next year, with an aim for monthly competitions and an end of year presentation with trophies.”

 

“We’ve just had a container donated that we put down at The Land Council at La Perouse, plus about 15 boards that were donated to us by Bondi Rescue. We’re working out of the container, using it to store our boards. The boards are damaged, and we want to get a professional in to show the kids how to do small repairs and then use the boards for practice,” he said.

 

The club is hoping to raise $50,000 towards developing the club for young members, using the funds for training, trailers and equipment.

 

By becoming a corporation, the group has been able to begin applying for government grants to help rejuvenate the club.

 

Interest in the club has grown- this year 20 members went to the Bell’s Beach National Indigenous Surf Titles, double the number of the previous year.

 

Nook Ryan, 70, is the oldest member and a founder of the original La Perouse Boardriders Club. Mr Ryan still surfs and said “I started surfing at Maroubra when I was 11, in 1959… the club is important because it steers the kids in the right direction. We work with them and teach them about the water conditions. I’ve been working with six generations doing it. A lot of the kids who have come through me own their own houses, 70% of them are tradesmen with families now.”

 

LBRIC hopes that “through surfing, [we] will prevent the increase of depression, obesity, drug abuse and incarceration in our community, while also promoting a fun, healthy lifestyle in the La Perouse area.”

 

The group has registered with the Australian Sports Foundation (ASF) and enlisted the help of Ryan Holloway, National Sales and Partnerships Director at the Academy of Sport in Narrabeen.

 

Mr Holloway said: “We’re trying to promote the fundraising and to help the La Perouse Boardriders Club strategically develop a plan.”

 

“We register clubs like La Perouse Boardriders Club with our association, loaning out DGR [Deductible Gift Recipients] status so they can go out and raise tax deductible funds for their sporting purposes. We provide them with a platform, website, donation portal, we put them in touch with the right people, we loan our expertise on how they can put fundraising elements in the events they have planned,” he added.

 

Mr Longbottom has been in talks with Surfing NSW and is hoping himself and three of the clubs six directors will be able to complete a Level 1 Surf Coaching Course which will allow them to run ‘Learn to Surf’ programs.

 

Mr Longbottom said “one of our objectives was to start a surf club in our own community, mixing culture and surfing. We’d have camps, go down to the Royal National Park, spend a couple of days surfing, diving, fishing, looking at some sites, learning ocean awareness. The program will improve our cultural knowledge and promote health and well-being through ocean activities. “

 

“My father got the club started with a few close mates and relatives when I was 10. They partnered with Eastern Zone Aboriginal Health and were doing a lot of road trips away, surf trips and competitions, pretty much what we do now…there was a lot of ground work for all that, finding sponsors, the pressure of it all got a bit much. I thought it would be good to start it up again with my mates and cousins,” he said.