Surfrider Foundation Eco Challenge in Tugun

The third Surfrider Foundation Eco Challenge on the Gold Coast will be held in Tugun on Saturday 19 March and this year it is teaming up with one of Bleach* festival’s all time favourites: Toolona Street Festival. The day at the Tugun beachside kicks off at noon with Eco Challenge; a family friendly, sustainable, solar powered, plastic free, community event. And if that list wasn’t long enough, you can add surfing and the surrounding lifestyle into it. Once all the surfing is done, you can feast on local delicacies at the beach end of Toolona street followed by dancing the evening away.

Eco Challenge will include wooden surfboard demonstrations, anything and everything to do with a sustainable lifestyle and – of course – surfing. There is a Team Challenge on Alaia (big, finless wooden surfboards to those who are not on top of their surfing trivia) surfboards for 6 prebooked teams and an Expression Session in the middle for all those individuals who want show off their talents.

And when it is time to sit down for dinner, everyone is welcome to do so at the long, communal dinner tables of Toolona Street. Strolling beneath the lantern lights under the branches of the 90-year old fig tree while listening to the sounds of Electrik Lemonade, Robbie Miller and Ivey might be just the way to wrap your day in Tugun.

But in all seriousness, there is much more to these events that meets the eye. It is not just about surfing or raising awareness of sustainability. It is not just about an atmospheric dinner under a fig tree. It is about doing the right thing and taking the right steps towards the future of events and event management.

Eco Challenge, true to its name, is all about ecological sustainability and has been practicing what it preaches ever since it started 4 years ago. Toolona Street Festival then again has made the commitment to go plastic-free in 2016. This is not an easy task by any means for an event that has food and drinks at its heart but if anyone is up to the challenge, it is this festival. Greg Howell, director of Climatewave Enterprises and coordinator of Eco Challenge, has lent his considerable knowledge and passion to make this happen.

Under Greg’s watchful eye and guidance, the street festival will ask its food vendors to use only compostable catering products, will not sell bottled water and will introduce new waste management methods. This doesn’t change much for the hungry and thirsty festival folk though; your food will simply be served on something that won’t be left behind for decades, you will be asked to bring your own reusable drink bottle and fill it up at the hydration station and when you go and discard your waste, just follow the instructions and pay a little bit of extra attention. And how is this for a fact of the day; if a recycle bin; commercial, private or at an event, is contaminated with non-recyclable items above the level of 15%, all the content of the bin has to go to landfill and the purpose has been defeated.

So pack your natural sunscreen and your reusable drink bottle, put your beeswax on your wooden surfboard, bring your appetite, your thirst, your family and friends and get amongst it at Tugun beachfront. Toolona Street Festival and Eco Challenge are part of Bleach* Festival so for further information visit bleachfestival.com.au

PHOTO CREDIT: Peter Sturm of My Perspectives Background
CAPTION: “The Sunflower” sponsored by Dr. Barry Hill from Southern Cross University, Greg Howell, sustainable event organiser & Councillor Chris Robbins

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