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Image 1 for Optimism as future leaders stand up - Day Two of the Global Wave Conference 2020

Day Two of the Global Wave Conference 2020. Pic: Peter Sturm

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The entry to Snapper, Thursday. Pic: B1gr1g Photographics

Optimism as future leaders stand up - Day Two of the Global Wave Conference 2020

14 February 20


Delegates were given plenty to think about on a wild, wet Wednesday for Day Two of the 6th Biannual Global Wave Conference at Southern Cross University's Gold Coast Campus, as flash flooding and torrential rain lashed south-east Queensland, the leaders of the future were front and centre of the Fay Two agenda a the international surfing and ocean conference.

Students from Currumbin State School, Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar, Elanora SHS, Palm Beach Currumbin SHS, Miami SHS and Tweed River SHS joined delegates from around the world in the audience for Wednesday's highly educational program.

The students, whose schools have all stepped and taken progressive action to drive leadership on environmental management, also participated in a youth panel session as part of the conference's Youth Leadership Program. A youth representative from each school joined a special discussion panel moderated by local environmental consultant Larissa Rose, from Glowing Green Australia. 

Yani Light (Elanora), Hannah Daley (PBC), Eliza Hall (Tweed River), Neave Butler (Lindisfarne) and Narii Salmon (Miami SHS) outlined the actions their schools have taken to help make impactful, purposeful change to support our local environment - from grassroots beach conservation to diving in local waterways to clean up rubbish and pushing for policy change.

Ms Rose is also overseeing the conference's STOKE certification initiatives - The 'Sustainable Tourism and Outdoors Kit for Evaluation' (STOKE) , which also certified the 2018 Global Wave Conference in Santa Cruz  . 

The surfing community is raising the bar for clean, green events in Australia as the conference works to meet 74 sustainability criteria and more than 200 compliance indicators to earn international STOKE certification - the world's first sustainable standard rating system for outdoor adventure resorts, destinations, and events.

The Global Wave Conference 2020 will ensure the surfing and ocean community are plugged into managing their environmental footprint using the STOKE criteria.

Teenage ocean warrior Shalise Leesfield, from Lake Cathie in Victoria, was stoked to be in the audience again on Day Two of the conference while Fingal's 17-year-old musical all-rounder Budjerah received a unanimous thumbs up from delegates as he performed live again during Wednesday's lunch break (he's back on Thursday).

The engineer who helped realise Gold Coast City Council's groundbreaking artificial reef at 19th Avenue, Palm Beach, admitted he's 'curious' to see what's going to happen to the wave peeling off the reef in the next couple of days as Tropical Cyclone Uesi whips up swells along the east coast of Australia.

Main Beach local Simon Brandi-Mortensen, who shared insight into the artificial reef's design process, hopes to find out when he paddles out on Friday.

"I have been keeping a close eye on the new swell and hope to hit Palm Beach reef early Friday morning," he says. "According to the forecast the swell period will be better and the winds more favourable compared to (Thursday)  I'll bring a 6,6 and also my 7,0 just in case."

."We still don't know for sure how big it will hold surf wise, since the reef was moved a bit further inshore since the concept design. It should hold two times overhead. We will find out soon enough."

Nicole Godwin, an award-winning author with a passion for the environment and animal rights, read her and collaborator Christopher Nielsen's latest book, Jelly-Boy, to conference delegates and explained how the idea for her story of a jellyfish who falls in love with a plastic bag evolved.

Jelly Boy, Nicole's third book, follows her award-winning 2019 release Billie, about a dolphin who encounters ocean junk, pollution, driftnets, dolphins in captivity and more as she searches for 'the biggest wave', and her debut title Ella, about a little elephant with a broken heart who works the streets with her keeper as she desperately tries to find her mum.   

The Global Wave Conference 2020 has brought the smartest surfing minds in the world to the Gold Coast to seek outcomes and solutions for the many issues facing ocean pollution.

The conference's almost 400 participants have been listening and learning to a diverse range of environmental, sustainable, health and fitness, industry, innovation, social and cultural topics presented by some of the most articulate minds from academia, conservation, activism, surfing legends, authors, and photographers.  

The conference will close on Thursday with a final address from the patron of Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve Inc., Wayne 'Rabbit' Bartholomew before a finale party/fundraiser featuring Mason Rack Band at The Collective, at Palm Beach, on Thursday from 7pm.

The conference has attracted bi-partisan support from all tiers of government and received funding support from the Queensland Government and City of Gold Coast. 

Division 14 councillor Gail O’Neill said there had been unanimous support from council in attracting the conference. 

“Having so many authorities coming together to address issues which coastal communities face will hopefully produce some positive outcomes,” she says. 

The conference has been brought to life by a volunteer army working for the common good. The speakers on the program have all donated their services to the conference and covered their own travel expenses.  

 - AUTHOR:  SUZANNE SIMONOT FOR GWC 2020

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