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Innis Foundation scholarships presented to top surfing students


Zoe Satherley
9 July 2010
Southern Cross University Diploma of Sport Management (Surfing Studies) students Beau Nixon and Jeda Greenlaw both have their sights set on a successful career in surfing.

Now, thanks to winning an Innis Foundation Scholarship, sponsored by Surfing Australia chairman Norm Innis, their path to the top will be that much easier.

Jeda, from Ocean Shores, has been a keen beach-goer since she was a toddler and by the age of 10 was already surfing the waves on a board of her own.

She always hoped to find a career in the surf industry in events management and was delighted when she found that Southern Cross University offered the course of her dreams.

Beau, from Tweed Heads, said his dad was a surfer and had taught him to surf from the age of three at Soldiers Beach on the NSW Central Coast where he grew up.

After completing his Higher School Certificate, Beau chose to relocate to Southern Cross University’s Riverside campus at Tweed Heads to study surfing. “I talked to someone who had done the course and they spoke really highly of it,” Beau said.

“Now I can echo that sentiment. I am really loving it and plan to start my own surf safari business when I graduate.”

Course co-ordinator Jak Carroll said the Innis Foundation scholarships supported individuals who would be the future leaders in the surf industry and that many previous recipients had already made their mark in the surf world since the scholarships began in 2004.

“It is exciting to be able to cement the relationship between the University and Surfing Australia, of which Norm Innis is chairman and the relationship between ourselves and the Innis Foundation,” he said.

“Norm is highly regarded in the surfing world, having spent over two decades working at a senior level in surf management and it is an honour that he has chosen to give scholarships to Southern Cross University surfing students as his way of giving something back to the industry that gave so much to him.”

The Innis Foundation scholarships are part of Southern Cross University’s Rising Stars Scholarships program.

Norm said that the surf industry in the 21st Century offered far more career possibilities than he would ever have imagined when he was starting out as a professional surfer.

“There are so many aspects to the sport these days,” he said. “You can start a surf school, go into surf event management both in Australia and internationally, go into surfing education, start your own business in a number of areas like opening a surf shop, doing surfing promotions or advertising, become a surfing writer or surfing commentator, becoming a surf photographer or going into high performance surfing.

“It is a huge and growing industry, so there are plenty of job opportunities out there. But it is competitive and most people moving into the industry now have tertiary qualifications of some sort.

“There is a distinct cultural change which reflects the move away from old surfers running events to young people with sport or business diplomas or degrees at the helm. Australia alone has some 250 surf events and competitions each year so there are plenty of opportunities to get paid work in the industry.

“Even the federal government now perceives surfing to be one of the more important sports in Australia, especially with the current focus on participation in sport to promote lifelong health and fitness.”

Photo: Chairman of the Innis Foundation, Norm Innis, with scholarship recipients Beau Nixon and Jeda Greenlaw at the presentation ceremony at the Gold Coast campus.