Sophie Taylor-Price joins GWC2020 lineup

Climate change champion and Bob Hawke’s granddaughter, Sophie Taylor-Price, will discuss growing threats to waves, ocean and coastal conservation when she opens and addresses the 6th Biennial Global Wave Conference to be held 10 to 14 February 2020 right here on the Gold Coast.

GWC2020 is a key international ocean conservation event hosted by local organisation Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve Inc on behalf of International partners, Save the Waves Coalition, Surfrider Foundation, Surfers against Sewage, and Wild Coast.

The Conference will make its Australian debut at the Gold Coast Campus of Southern Cross University at Southern Gold Coast during a landmark year which coincides with surfing’s inclusion into the Olympic Games in Japan.

A Landcare Ambassador and Senior Manager at E&YClimate Change & Sustainability Services, Ms. Taylor-Price will join environmental and social scientists, world surfing greats, conservationists, surfing industry stakeholders, and the sustainability and eco-surfing conscientious at the 2020 conference to investigate ways of making our oceans safer, healthier, and cleaner for future generations.

Global Wave Conference was established in 2011 and has been hosted in France, Mexico, United Kingdom, and most recently in 2018 at Santa Cruz, California.

The 2020 event which was secured by Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve Inc. (GCWSR), with the support of Queensland Government Department of Tourism, Sport and Environment, Tourism Events Queensland, Destination Gold Coast, City of Gold Coast Council, Southern Cross University is expected to attract up to 400 people, including 200 international delegates.

Representing a new generation of climate leaders, Ms. Taylor-Price made headlines last year when she urged Australians to take a greater stance on climate change during her speech at a memorial for her late grandfather, former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, at the Sydney Opera House.

Ms. Taylor-Price, a sailor with a great love for the ocean, will be the opening key speaker at the Global Wave Conference hosted in Australia for the first time.

She will be discussing issues and trends around the role of oceans in relation to climate change and how individuals can become involved via projects such as CoastCare – local Landcare organisations that work together to protect and enhance local coastal and marine environments.  As a key speaker Sophie is looking forward to opening the conference on Tuesday 11 February.

“My favourite part of the world is the south coast of NSW. I grew up having almost all family holidays down there, and while I did my fair share of boogie boarding as a kid, the waves lost out when I convinced my parents to buy me a horse. While it was only holidays, my happy place of my childhood was riding on the beach and in the bush, and even today I am happy in, on, or near water”.

The conference will also hear from 13-year-old ocean warrior Shalise Leesfield, who represented Australia at the recent Parley Ocean Youth Uprise Summit in Hawaii and joined by multiple World Adaptive Surf Champion Mark ‘Mono’ Stewart, from Byron Bay.

Two-time world champion surfer Tom Carroll and his author brother Nick Carroll will discuss issues around crowding, while former World Tour professional surfer turned Olympic surf coach Bede Durbidge will share insights into Australia’s preparation for surfing at the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

Peruvian big-wave champion and Surf Till 100 program co-founder Felipe Pomar, master craftsman  surfboard shaper and artist Richard Harvey, and fellow local shaper Nev Hyman who is better known these days for his NevHouse Housing Humanity initiative, which turns waste into low-cost housing, are featured on the conference’s diverse range of speakers.

The GWC 2020 program will see a wide range of hot topics up for discussion, including artificial reefs, wave pools, shark management, ecofeminism and the ethics of surfing, sewage and water quality, sustainable surfboards, the fight against plastics, surfing as therapy, health concerns regarding sunscreen, surf tourism, relationships between surfers and fishermen, measuring human/environmental interactions in surf ecosystems, the importance of ‘surfability’ and legal protections for surf breaks.

The Conference will also host World Surfing Reserve workshops, a Save the Waves surf movie festival, ocean surf photo exhibition, fitness sessions, live music and a paddle out as part of the conference program.

Surfrider Foundation USA CEO Chad Nelsen and Surfrider Foundation Australia chair Susie Crick will also address the conference and attend an international foundation meeting on the Coast.

Visit for more program information and to book your registration.

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