Surfing studies take off at Southern Cross University

Published 7 November 2003

Southern Cross University will offer surfing studies in 2004 through its Tweed Gold Coast campus. But most of the lessons will be delivered in a classroom, there is no cappuccino served, and taxpayers are not funding the course.

The Diploma in Sport Management (Surfing Studies) is aimed at those who work in, or wish to work in, the management of the sport or the industry. It is endorsed by the peak sporting body, Surfing Australia, and supported by major industry players.

In 2004, SCU will take 40 students for the one year full-time, or two year part-time, course covering subjects such as marketing, events management, sport media, business and sport management and technology. There is no need for applicants to be able to surf, although it would help.

Vice-Chancellor of SCU, Professor John Rickard, said today that the course had been through a rigorous process of academic evaluation to ensure that it had integrity.

“This is not a degree in surfboard riding, but rather a vocationally-focussed professional development program,” he said.

“We hope it as a forerunner to more comprehensive programs - perhaps even a degree. However, that depends on the support and interest in this first year,” Professor Rickard said.

Surfing Australia Chief Executive Officer, Alan Atkins, said that the sport and the industry was right behind the initiative.

“Surfing is a billion-dollar-plus industry in Australia and eight billion dollars worldwide, and it brings in millions in exports and tourism,” he said.

“There are almost two million Australians actively participating in surfing. We need to be more professional and competitive with other sports,” Mr Atkins said.

“The fact that students will be paying full fees for this course indicates how important it is to those involved in the sport.”

Mr Atkins said that there had been considerable international interest already in the course.

“Our long term aim with Surfing Australia is to become the world leader in surfing industry education and research,” Professor Rickard added.

7 November 2003

Pictured from left to right: junior pro surfer Brad Wilcox; Founder of Brothers Neilsen, Paul Neilsen; Former world champion Wayne(Rabbit) Bartholomew; Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and Member for Richmond Larry Anthony;and Surfing Australia CEO Alan Atkins.

Media contact:

SCU - Chris Stewart 0418 431484
Surfing Australia - Renee Marshall 0421 190993 or 02 66749874