World No.2 Sally Fitzgibbons, 7 x World Champ Layne Beachley, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, '78 World Champ Wayne Bartholomew and 2 x World Champ Tom Carroll Photos: Surfing Australia/Nikon

Friday, 2 November 2012

Surfing was welcomed into Parliament House in Canberra on Saturday night at the inaugural Surfing Legends Dinner.
Organised by Surfing Australia and the Sports Advocacy Group, the dinner featured a panel discussion hosted by ABC presenter Stephanie Brantz and included World Champions Wayne Bartholomew, Tom Carroll and Layne Beachley and current female World No.2 Sally Fitzgibbons.
The group also met personally with Prime Minister Julia Gillard in her office.
Surfing Australia CEO Andrew Stark, who also spoke at the dinner, said it was a fabulous opportunity to have several Australian surfing legends talk about their sport to Members of Parliament and other key stakeholders.
"It's important we continue to tell our story in all sectors including the Federal Government," Stark said.

"The surfers were well received by all and we hope the Members of Parliament and other stakeholders at the dinner have a much clearer picture of our sport and its potential growth into the future. For our surfing legends to get the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Julia Gillard was an honour for the group."

The last time Tom Carroll was in Canberra he was also in then Prime Minister Bob Hawke's office announcing his stand against apartheid in 1985 and boycotting events in South Africa.

1978 World Champion Wayne Bartholomew said the dinner was outstanding recognition of surfing as a structured sport.
"It's great that we had an opportunity to present our reflections and vision in such esteemed company in the halls of power," Bartholomew said.
"When I think way back to when I first went to an Australian Surfriders Association meeting in 1968, I never imagined everything that has happened and to be able to go to Parliament House as a respected sports figure is beyond my wildest dreams."

Chairman of the Sports Advocacy Group Andy Turnbull said the feedback from the parliamentarians at the dinner was very positive.

"The surfers demonstrated how surfing has become a mainstream sport and the panel showed their passion for their sport and qualities that have made them great champions," he said.

Andrew Stark, Sally Fitzgibbons, Layne Beachley, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Wayne Bartholomew, Tom Carroll, Chris Symington (SA General Manager Sport Development) and Norm Innis (SA Chairman)


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