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Student plans to help surfers break records


Zuleika Henderson
10 November 2010

Tugun-based Southern Cross University international student Vanessa Marzola is aiming to help local surfers become record breakers this Sunday when they attempt the Guinness World Record for the ‘Most Surfers Riding the Same Wave’ at Kirra Beach as part of the Kirra Surfstock festival.

Vanessa is putting her studies into practice by helping to organise the attempt as part of an internship project with Southern Cross University’s Research Centre for Tourism, Leisure and Work.

Originally from Padua in north-east Italy and in Australia for a three months internship, Vanessa said she was enjoying being on the Gold Coast to help organise the event.

“This is the first time I’ve worked in a team to organise an event – particularly in another country and in another language - but it’s been great to work with the Kirra Surfstock team , and I’ve really enjoyed the relaxed approach people have here,” Vanessa said.

“There are some very strict rules connected to Guinness World Record attempts so it’s been my job to find out about the regulations and make sure all the criteria are met.

“We have been advertising on the internet and I’ve also been to hotels and restaurants in person to get the word out about the attempt.

“The record is 110 people, so we need at least 111 to set a new record. We’re encouraging anyone who would like to be involved to turn up with their surfboards this Sunday at Kirra Beach.”

Southern Cross University’s Graduate College of Management is also a major sponsor of the festival which is expected to attract more than 15,000 people over the three days and will include beach games, music, cultural activities and market stalls.

The University will have a stand at the event where festival goers will have the chance to enter a competition to win a surfboard.
Dr Dave Arthur, course director for the Master of International Sport Management, said events like these were important for the community.

“Events like the Kirra Surfstock festival provide students with the essential practical skills to complement the theoretical knowledge gained during their various courses,” Dr Arthur said.

“Such events also tend to be great fun and allow engagement with the community in a meaningful manner.”

President of Kirra Surfstock Inc. Sean McKeown said he was delighted to have the support Southern Cross University for the event.

“We’re very pleased to have such a strong relationship with the University,” said Mr McKeown.

“As well as the financial support, it’s been great to have access to international interns who we can offer the opportunity to be involved in a festival based around our iconic Aussie beach culture and surfing.”

The Kirra Surfstock Festival will take place this weekend from Friday November 12 – Sunday November 14. The Guinness World Record attempt on the ‘Most Surfers Riding the Same Wave’ will take place this Sunday, November 14 at 11am (Qld time) at the northern end of Kirra Beach. Surfers are encouraged to bring their surfboards and take part.

For more information on courses at Southern Cross University please go to or for enquiries about studying with the Graduate College of Management at Southern Cross University phone 07 5506 9364.

Photo: Italian international student Vanessa Marzola is helping to organise the 'Most Surfers Riding the Same Wave' Guinness World Record attempt this Sunday at Kirra Beach (high resolution image available on request).