Our recent Margaret River Primary School Surfing Carnival for Years 5 and 6 which takes place early in Term 1 is a much-loved event, supported by staff, students and the wider school community.
I asked Mr Thomas why this is such a valued school event. This is what he said,
Why are we surfing at school?
Surfing, just like many of the activities and hobbies available in our community, appeals to families in different ways and for different reasons. In Margaret River there are opportunities from elite level coaching and competition, through to a more relaxed holistc lifestyle in and around the ocean. Our school surfing carnival samples a little from across the whole spectrum of the surfing experience.
The carnival is an opportunity for students to surf together, with expert coaching and a professional water safety team – but in an environment that is built around learning and growing together. We see students who haven’t ever paddled out at the beach where we hold the event, feeling challenged – yet safe in the knowledge that there is help on hand and their friends are by their side. More able surfers take advantage of the expert coaching, and get a sense of what it might be like to surf in an organised compettion.
The most critical element of the carnival is the opportunity to understand the ocean a little better, given that we are influenced by its rhythms so much in our community. An important part of that is the opportunity to watch, listen and talk about this with other people. We have many family members who come along to the event to share this journey with our students. A quick scan across the beach reveals grandparents sharing stories of how they learnt to surf, parents helping with equipment, coaches pointing out the nuances of the water movements and young surfers buzzing with anticipation. This is why our surf carnival is so valued. It brings generations together, to learn about the ocean and to build important bonds that will be needed as our young people begin a lifelong connection with the ocean.
Bonnie Byrne (parent) said,
We really liked that it’s not a competitive environment and that anybody who wants to have a go can. It was really nice that Bronte Macaulay was able to come down at the end of the day to acknowledge the kids.
Robert Bruce (Grandparent) said,
Just the participation and the encouragement to surf and keep healthy. This promotes a healthy lifestyle and shows that surfing is not all about winning.
From these insightful comments, it’s evident that this event is real-life learning of so much more than the physical skills involved, and judging by the participation of community members who come to the carnival, it’s also a celebration of a much valued aspect of Margaret River community life.
Enjoy the slideshow.
[Thank you to Bonnie and Robert for your thoughts.]
Written and posted by D. Veary; Photos by Aaron Thomas; Slideshow clip by D. Veary