Surfing Queensland has instituted the Jallum Jarjum program, otherwise known as Fish Kids, which has been running since 2013.
The initiative has two objectives; to give 10 Indigenous High School students the opportunity to become fully qualified Surf Coaches, and to give 200 Indigenous kids across Queensland the opportunity to participate in the sport of surfing.
So far, 10 Indigenous High School students from Palm Beach Currumbin SHS on the Gold Coast have sat their Level 1 Surf Coaching Accreditation Course and completed their Applied First Aid certification. Upon completing their Surf Rescue Certificate in July, they will be ready to hit the beaches and complete their required 20 hours coaching experience.
Later in the year, once qualified, they will assist in the delivery of surf lessons on 4 participation days to Indigenous kids from across Queensland. Each day will see up to 50 kids learning to surf for the first time, with some kids never having seen the ocean before.
According to local Scott Rotumah, the great Duke Kahanamoku reported seeing native peoples surf over at Fingal when he first came to Australia. Rotumah has seen written evidence of this, and I can’t help but think that as “Salt Water People” it is great to see surfing’s governing bodies embrace Indigenous saltwater culture, and help get more Indigenous people involved in surfing.