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Hunter Business Boardriders Step Up To Support Pro Junior Surfing At This Year's Surfest

Jake Sylvester advanced in 2nd place behind Julian Wilson Last year's Surfest Pro Junior event champion and Newcastle local Jake Sylvester. WSL / Steve Robertson

Newcastle, NSW/Australia (Friday, February 14, 2014) – When word spread through the tight-knit Newcastle surfing community that the Surfest Pro Junior was in danger of being cut from the event schedule due to a lack of funding, the Hunter Business Boardriders stepped in to help. The Hunter Business Boardriders (HBB) is a group a Newcastle surfers who not only get together to enjoy the waves, but they also make significant charitable contributions to worthy causes like the Disabled Surfers Association, Surfaid and many more.

ASP caught up with HBB president Brad Garrard to find out more about what makes him and his organisation tick.

Firstly, can you please tell us about the Hunter Business Boardriders? Newcastle and the Hunter have a strong surfing and business community and about six years ago, a group of white collar business guys who were going for early surfs and catching up for coffee afterwards decided that they should call it a networking group and see where it led.

In 2012/2013, the Committee got serious and registered HBB as an incorporated association, meaning that we could seek fees from members and establish more credibility in the fairly competitive landscape of charities asking for money.

Fast forward to today and HBB is a 250 member fundraising body for surfing related not for profits. We raised over $80,000 in 2013 for SurfAid, Sids for Kids and Disabled Surfers. We generate revenue through a number of events during the year starting with “The Surfest Charity Breakfast” and the “SurfAid Cup” in February followed by our “Fantasy Surfer Competition”, an “Economic Briefing” midyear and then finish off with the “HBB Annual Twin Fin Comp” which was just held last week.

The HBB committee is made up of myself as President and committee members - Chris Davis, Ben Hainsworth, Warwick Bartley, David King, Sam Wallace and Chris Old.

What made you decide to throw you support behind Surfest? The committee were meeting with Warren Smith and decided that this is precisely why HBB exists: to support surfing in our community. We committed $20,000 as the major sponsor of the Pro Junior. The commercial landscape is very tough at the moment and it's hard for one business to support local events like these but through HBB, our members can all feel as though they have personally contributed to keeping this event alive.

What is it about surf contest from boardriders to Pro juniors and bigger ASP events that you find enjoyable? Personally, I love to surf and I love to be involved in it. Boardriders and ASP events aren't for everyone and that's cool, but I find that they offer an opportunity for an individualistic sport like surfing to be inclusive and bonding. Coming up through the ranks of a Boardriders locally and participating in the organisation, as I do, gives me an enormous sense of contribution to a sport that gives me so much personal satisfaction.

As surfers we are constantly taking enjoyment from surfing and the ocean and I guess this is a way to contribute with minimal disruption to my life. Watching ASP events has become like watching the footy with mates. The webcast technology brings it right to you and that's unique thing for a sport that has previously been relegated to only being watched on DVD or video for so long.

For more information on the Hunter Business Boardriders check out their new website

The Hunter Business Boardriders Pro Junior gets underway this Friday at Newcastle's Surfest.

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