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Surf's up for Global Wave Conference 2020


Jessica Nelson
10 February 2020
Global Wave Conference ambassador Ellie Brooks
Global Wave Conference ambassador, business student and professional surfer Ellie Brooks

Hundreds of surfing punters and ocean lovers will meet at Southern Cross University on the Gold Coast this for Australia’s first Global Wave Conference, and they’ll be treated to fantastic swell during their stay.

Two broad complex low-pressure systems converging in the Coral Sea have brought pumping waves to the Coast – the first big swell of the year – which will coincide with the Global Wave Conference held at Southern Cross University from 11 – 14 February.

Conference Chairman Andrew McKinnon from the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve Inc said there’s no doubt attendees will make the most of the early morning waves ahead of the jam-packed program of international speakers.

“The easterly swell will build all week climaxing on Thursday and Friday in the 6 - 10ft range and then cleaning up for the weekend with fine and sunny weather. The biggest tide of the year will be on Monday at 9am NSW time (1.88 of a metre) at the Tweed River a king-high tide,” he said.

The 6th Biennial Global Wave Conference will be the first time Australia has hosted the international gathering, which aims to advance the recognition of the value of waves and their protection around the world, bringing together the best international minds from surfing, conservation, and innovation communities to tackle the world’s most challenging ocean issues.

Former World Tour pro surfer Bede Durbidge will share Tokyo 2020 Olympic insights while World Surfing Champion Tom Carroll and his author brother Nick Carroll will discuss surf crowds.

Other speakers include 13-year-old ocean warrior Shalise Leesfield of Port Macquarie, and Multiple World Adaptive Surf Champion Mark 'Mono' Stewart from Byron Bay will discuss the growth of disabled surfing.

Southern Cross University Business Student and professional surfer Ellie J Brooks is the global ambassador for the event, after spending New Years at Riyue Bay competing to become 17th in the World Surf League Qualifying Series of 2020.

The strong goofy footer is part of Southern Cross University’s Elite Athlete Program which supports students achieve academic excellence whist pursuing the demands of their sporting career.

“The University has a great appreciation of surfing and its importance here on the Gold Coast. It's all part of a really strong environmental focus here, both in terms of education and general philosophy and as surfers and the broader surfing community it’s so important to get involved,” she said.

Southern Cross University researcher Renaud Joannes-Boyau will update guests on his smart fin passion project and the University’s Head of the National Marine Science Centre Professor Steve Smith will showcase how recreational divers contribute valuable citizen science data on biodiversity through the fascinating annual Sea Slug Census events.

Professional surfer and conservationist Pacha Light, an ambassador for Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve will speak on the role of women surfing and touch on eco feminism. Other speakers include former world surfing champion Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew, Surfrider Foundation CEO Chad Nelsen on a climate change panel, legendary craftsman Richard Harvey, Gold Coast shaper Nev Hyman on the NevHouse Housing Humanity initiative, and world longboard champions Rachael Tilly and Beau Young on surf craft eco options.

Organiser Mr McKinnon said the event is more than a talkfest with numerous social and cultural events including a book launch, surf film movie nights on campus, and the unique ocean surf photo exhibition on display at Southern Cross University Gold Coast Campus Library to be auctioned off as wildlife fundraiser at Palm Beach Collective on Thursday 13 February with live music from local rock and roll act Mason Rack Band.

The Global Wave Conference was established in 2011 and has been hosted in Spain, France, Mexico, United Kingdom, and Santa Cruz, California, and this year hosted by Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve Inc on behalf of International partners, Save the Waves Coalition, Surfrider Foundation, Surfers against Sewage, and Wild Coast, and is proudly supported by Southern Cross University.

Tickets are still available at