With so much violence happening across the world, including the GC, it’s nice to see some light.
Today I felt a great deal of unity at Banaam Indigenous Surf Titles (BIST): an event that’s not just about Indigenous surfing but about peace and harmony, bringing together families to celebrate culture in the community.
Thursday was the official sign-on and induction day for competitors and today saw the Opening Ceremony by the Goodjingburra Dancers with a Mixing of the Waters blessing by local elders.
I caught up with local Indigenous elder Kevin Slabb who was born and raised in Fingal Heads and taught his sons to surf, and asked what the Mixing of the Waters ceremony was about.
He told me that the concept was adapted after time spent in Hawaii, with the ceremony involving bringing water from your own land and mixing it together with the water from this land.
This signifies unity and is an important aspect of BIST.
“It’s a great thing bringing people together, each of us united,” Kevin said. “From all over the nation, everyone has brought their water and joined together with our water here. It’s a symbol of unity for the weekend”.
BIST is the first Indigenous surf competition in just under twenty years. Back in the day. Billabong used to sponsor the event and once that stopped the event faded.
Now it’s back and run entirely through volunteers.
We’re joining the call for the surfing bodies and industry to get back onboard so that we can see some more Indigenous surfers finding their feet in the competitive world of professional surfing.
You can see the program for the weekend on Facebook.