International Student Challenge is World First Carbon Neutral Surfing Event

A world first hits the Gold and Tweed Coasts next month, with the Student Surf Festival 2016 being held at Duranbah Beach on Sunday the 24th of April. The event is open to all Gold Coast university students, and it promises to be a fun day of competitive surfing, with some prizes thrown in.

The challenge, which began over 10 years ago, was based on a desire to integrate the international student community and the Australian student community with surfing as the vehicle. I have commentated at these events for many years, and as well as being incredibly fun they continue expand the cultural awareness of all participants.  Many say the best part of the entire event is the chance to meet some wonderful people from many different countries who have come to study here on the Gold Coast.

As well as the surf contest there is an expression session with some great prizes, and a party night at Kommune Resort where a JS Surfboard signed by all the World Tour competitors will be auctioned to raise money for the Volunteer Tweed Marine Rescue. And that’s not all!

This year, as part of a study project, some students will be powering the PA and computer judging systems from renewable sources. If successful, this may even be used as a prototype for surfing events in the future. The Southern Cross University School of Arts and Social Sciences has built Australia’s largest solar-powered audiovisual production system, nicknamed the Sunflower. The Sunflower has been designed by SCU visual arts and audio technicians and students to look like a giant flower, made up of a state-of-the-art energy generation storage and a management system which can be tilted and positioned for optimum orientation to the sun.

It has a 1.2 kw solar panel array and a lithium battery bank that can provide enough power to run a festival stage entirely from solar energy. It’s amazing new technology and a world first for a surfing event.

The Student Surf Challenge 2016 will be held on Sunday 24th April. To get more information regarding eligibility and entering you can search for the event at  The divisions are Open Men, Open Women, International Men, and International Women.

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