our history


  • July – Surfrider Foundation Australia officially created on Gold Coast by concerned surfers keen to protect Australia’s coastal environment.Executive Director – Brad Farmer, President – Mark Richards, Vice-Presidents – Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick, Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew & Dr Rex Campbell, Chairperson – Bob Moffatt, National Secretary – Greg Howell.
  • Established network of branches throughout Australia. Branches are made up from active volunteers who campaign on local issues and participate in on-the-ground projects that make a difference, ie/ revegetation, education and beach clean ups.
  • National Office opened in Burleigh Heads, Queensland.
  • Platinum sponsors Rip Curl, Quiksilver, Billabong and Hot Tuna.
  • Gold sponsors – Oakley, Ocean & Earth
    Silver sponsors – Cheetah, City Beach (Qld), Surf Dive & Ski (Vic)
  • Created and coordinated the inaugural National Ocean Care Day during the first Sunday of December (Sunday 6th) with on ground activities in every State and Territory. This event was subsequently taken over by the Commonwealth Government.


  • Largest representation of any community group on the Commonwealth Government’s Coastal Zone Inquiry.
  • Launched State of Our Surf (SOS) Project involving the creation of an environmental database of Australian Beaches. Project Coordinated by Michael Legge-Wilkinson from Newcastle.
  • Inaugural National Conference held at the Coastal Environment Centre, North Narrabeen, NSW. Guest speaker at the conference is Glen Henning, President Surfrider Foundation USA.


  • Surfrider gained a position on the national implementation committee who established the Government’s Ocean Care Programme.
  • State of our Surf Report launched on steps of Parliament House, Sydney. Hundreds of interviews with print, television and radio media from around the country to significantly raise the issue of coastal conservation issue. Recommendations from the report were screened nationally on ABC National News with various state and local governments forced to respond to issues raised.

  • VICTORY – “DON’T SPOIL WITH OIL” rally. SF Victoria leads protests against oil transfer facility at Crib Point Victoria. Rally on steps of Parliament House attracted over 200 people and a paddle out protest held at Crib Point 3 days later. Plans for oil transfer facility shelved indefinitely.
  • “Coasts in Crisis” critique of the resource assessment commission’s coastal zone inquiry written by Brad Farmer and Peter Garrett.
  • SF Coffs Harbour branch campaign for protection of “Look At Me Now” Headland from proposed ocean outfall development.
  • Human Impacts on Australian Beaches project established by Michael Legge-Wilkinson to follow on from SOS Report and raise awareness of issues affecting, and impacts on Australian beaches. Hundreds of volunteers are engaged by Legge-Wilkinson to survey hundreds of beaches around Australia.


  • VICTORY – Byron Bay branch helps stop proposed Club Med development on sensitive coastal area.

  • VICTORY – Direct campaigning resulted in a two year moratorium on offshore drilling in the Great Australian Bight.
  • VICTORY – Direct campaigning by National Office and local branches led to NSW and Qld Governments creating legislation that banned the construction of new ocean outfalls in those States.
  • VICTORY – SOS Report resulted in Government allocating $10 million to cleaning up PattaWoolunga river in Adelaide.
  • Influenced the NSW government to introduce bag limits on intertidal invertebrates on Sydney’s Northern beaches.
  • SF Australia organizes the Dob-in-a-polluter hotline.
  • SF Australia partnered with the federal ocean rescue 2000 program and secured a seat on the national implementation committee of the Marine and Coastal Community network.
  • SF Australia release a policy for Racial Harmony supporting the land rights of Australia’s Indigenous people.
  • VICTORY – SF stop development at Blue Lagoon on the NSW Central Coast.
  • “Walk for Whales” event in Surfers Paradise for Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary from all waters south of 40 degrees S.
  • SF Victoria campaign for an upgrade to 13th Beach Black Rock Ocean Outfall.
  • SF Victoria campaign for an upgrade to Lorne Ocean Outfall.
  • SF Australia release policy for Racial Harmony supporting the land rights of Australia’s Indigenous people at Collaroy Beach with support from Mark Warren,
  • VICTORY – Dozens of NSW and QLD regional beaches – many groups including Surfrider push and secure a government ban on new sewage outfalls.
  • SF Victoria launch GREEN BELLS Strategy in partnership with Surfers Appreciating the Natural Environment (SANE) at Bells Beach.
  • NUCLEAR FREE PACIFIC RALLY – Geelong (SF Victoria) 150 people attend. SF Australia coordinates No Nukes protests around the country.

  • NUCLEAR FREE PACIFIC RALLY – Sorrento by SF Victoria– water based Surfrider action attracts national media attention.
  • OUTLAW OUTFALL’ RALLY – Lorne, Victoria by SF Victoria attracts national media attention.


  • SF Gold Coast received $20,000 water watch grant after 3 years of negotiations with federal and state government.
  • SF National Conference and AGM held at Bondi Pavilion, Bondi Beach, Sydney.

  • SF National office releases LOCAL ENVIROGROUP Manual, a guide for groups wishing to form their own branch or environmental group.
  • SF Northern Beaches launch Anti-seawall campaign at Collaroy/Narrabeen
  • SF Coffs Harbour branch celebrate victory in the proclamation of the Solitary Islands as a Marine Park after five years of intense lobbying.
  • National release of MOM CD featuring music from Silverchair and other bands. CD launch is supported by Silverchair national tour with SF stalls at each concert.
  • SF’ “ Human Impacts on Australian Beaches” report launched by Peter Garrett (from Midnight Oil) and Project Author Michael Legge-Wilkinson at the Bondi Pavilion, Sydney. This report was the follow up to the first State of the Surf report and gained national and international media attention (including BBC London and USA Today). Estimated media reach of 120 million people.
  • SF Victoria receive $24,000 in funding for Point Impossible Revegetation Project near Torquay.


  • SF National Conference and AGM held in Jan Juc, Victoria. The conference is attended by over 40 Surfrider representatives from around Australia. Guest Speaker Larry Manson from SF USA.
  • SF Surf Coast Branch formed in Torquay.
  • SF Surf Coast host first NOT SO CLEAN WATER CLASSIC surf contest at Point Impossible to protest against ocean pollution from nearby Black Rock Sewage Treatment Plant.
  • SF Australia moves its National Office to Manly.
  • Branches involved in major revegetation and beach protection works in Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.


  • SF Australia call for phasing out of Australia’s 160 ocean outfalls over a twenty year period in their submission to the development of Australia’s Ocean Policy. Call for a national approach to coastal zone management.
  • POINT IMPOSSIBLE REVEGETATION project launched by SF Victoria. This project was conducted from 1996-1998 and included extensive Archealogical work and major revegetation works at Point Impossible near Torquay by SF Victoria in partnership with local Aboriginal community and local foreshore committee.
  • SF Victoria launch Marine Parks poster to support public campaign for the establishment of a Marine National Park at Bells Beach.
  • SF Gold Coast take delivery of a Quintrex 455 Hornet for their Seabird Rescue program.
  • Stockton Bight issue receives national attention from SF Newcastle.
  • SF National Conference and AGM held in Byron Bay, New South Wales. The theme of the conference is; ‘Spirit Of The Ocean’.


  • SF National moves into new offices at the Gold Coast and Hinterland Council (GECKO).
  • SF Australia teams with national VANS WARPED Tour.
  • SF Australia supports MOM II CD national launch and promotion.
  • SF 1999 National Conference and AGM held in Newcastle. Guest speakers from SF USA and SF Japan.
  • SF Surf Coast host Indigenous Coastal Workshop in Torquay with representatives from Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative.
  • MOM II CD launched and promoted nationally.
  • SF Mid North Coast branch run three rounds of RESPECT THE BEACH Junior Surf Contest funded by Coastcare ($14.000).
  • VICTORY – Sydney Water agree to install disinfecting system at Warriewood Sewage Treatment Plant after years of lobbying by SF Northern Beaches and surfing community.
  • Greg Howell (National Administrator) and Fairlee Andrew (National Director) travel to USA to address the inaugural International Surfrider Foundation Summit held in California.
  • HOLD ONTO YOUR BUTT campaign launched on Gold Coast with support from David ‘Rasta’ Rastavich / Michael ‘Munga’ Barry.
  • NO SO CLEAN WATER CLASSIC surf contest held by SF Surf Coast at Point Impossible near Torquay to highlight local ocean outfall issues.


  • SF National Conference and AGM held on the Gold Coast. Official welcome by Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew.
  • Inaugural SPIRIT OF SURFING GATHERING held at Broken Head, New South Wales. Hosted by Peter Cuming with support from SF and Surfing Australia.
  • SF Northern Beaches launch their own version of the Surfers Code under guidance of Neil Lazarow.
  • SF Mid North Coast run three rounds of the RESPECT THE BEACH junior surf coast funded by Coastcare.
  • VICTORY – After five years of lobbying from SF Northern Beaches Sydney Water agree to upgrade Warriewood Sewage Treatment Plant to tertiary level treatment standard.


  • VICTORY – SF Surf Coast celebrate the proclamation of a Marine National Park at Bells Beach.
  • SPIRIT OF SURFING project launched at Bells Beach. Partnership between SF Surf Coast, SANE, Torquay Boardriders, Wathaurong Aboruginal Coopertaive and Surf Coast Shire.


  • SF Tasmania member Matt Dell wins 2004 Coca-Cola Community Environment award for his Marine Debris Clean Up program in Tasmania.
  • “Respect the Beach” campaign relaunched in QLD schools
  • National “Hold On To Your Butts” campaign supported by SF Australia.
  • Human Impacts On Australian beaches project work continued.


  • SF Australia campaign for an extension to the Marine Park in Ningaloo National Park, Western Australia.
  • Save Bastion Point campaign from dredging and boat ramp development begins supported by SF branches from around the country.
  • SF Surf Coast campaign to stop the dredging and surf break destruction of Corsair surf break in Victoria.
  • SF campaign for an extension to the Marine Park in Ningaloo National Park, Western Australia.
  • VICTORY – SF campaign to protect Belmont Wetlands successful when area is declared a State Park.
  • SF organise 26 rings of remembrance for the people lost in the 2004 boxing day tsunami. SF establish partnerships with SurfAid International and Lhoknga Aid Building Project. SF was able to funnel almost $500,000 of aid to these organizations following the tsunami.


  • VICTORY – Catherine Hill Bay – A heritage coastal surfing town saved from developers proposals.
  • SF National Conference and AGM held at Coffs Harbour.
  • SF Australia launch ‘I SURF I VOTE’ sticker to raise awareness with local, State and Federal politicians about beach issues which have been ignored.


  • VICTORY – The Gardens, South Narrabeen – Saved from sea wall construction plans in 2007 by our ‘Line in the Sand’ campaign.


  • VICTORY – Sandon Point saved from excess foreshore encroachment and beachfront housing.
  • VICTORY – Smoking banned at all beaches along the Surf Coast in Victoria after proposal from SF Surf Coast. First smoking ban on Victoria beaches. This initiative was a finalist in The Victorian Coastal Awards.
  • SF Tasmania oppose boat ramp being constructed at Georgetown led by Peter Whish-Wilson from SF Tasmania.
  • SF National Conference and AGM held in Hobart.


  • VICTORY – Local SF campaign saves The Farm, Shellharbour from development.


  • Surfrider Foundation Australia releases revised National Environmental Policy.


  • VICTORY – Campaigning by SF Sunshine Coast branch stops a one kilometre seawall proposal at Alexandria Beach.
  • Margaret River region – SF Margaret River and No Oil for SW Beaches Alliance organise 20,000+ submissions that stop an offshore oil drilling proposal.


  • VICTORY – SF South West WA branch campaign led to Cape Ngaris State Marine Park promise with 10 special surf zones between Dunsborough and Augusta.


  • Surfrider Foundation launch national Endangered Waves initiative and identifies nine waves throughout Australia under imminent threat: Bastion Point (Mallacoota, Victoria), The Other Side, TOS (South Stradbroke Island, Qld), Bells Beach (Vic), Kirra Point (Gold Coast, Qld), North Narrabeen (Sydney, NSW), Capricorn Coast (Qld), Ball Bay (Norfolk Island), Westernport Bay (Vic), Tam O’Shanter Bay (Tas)
  • CLIMATE CHANGE AT BELLS BEACH video launched on Youtube by SF Surf Coast.
  • VICTORY – SF Surf Coast in partnership with local groups stops overdevelopment of Bells Beach Surfing Reserve.


  • SF National and Gold Coast launch campaign to prevent the Broadwater at The Spit becoming a cruise ship terminal. SF Chairman Brendan Donahue describes the development as a ‘zombie threat. kill it off and it resurfaces 8-10 years later.”
  • SF Surf Coast partner with SANE, Torquay Boardriders and Bells Beach Preservation Society to launch campaign to stop people crapping in native vegetation areas at Winki Pop. A follow up video produced by the Surf Coast Branch featuring Maurice Cole receives attention.


  • SF Australia launch Vimeo channel with ‘We Love The Waves’ and Jack Johnson video clips.
  • SF National Gathering and AGM held at Crescent Head, NSW.


  • VICTORY – SF Surf Coast halt inappropriate eco-development near Bells Beach.
  • Over 250 volunteers descend on Double Island Point for the annual Beach Clean Up organised by SF Sunshine Coast.


  • King Island surfing community ask Surfrider to join the fight to stop a proposed industrial fish farm in the waters off famed beach break, Martha Lavinia. Surfrider crew, including Ambassador Barton Lynch, head to King Island to meet with the local community and launch #SAVEMARTHALAVINIA campaign to bring awareness to the issue and halt further development by Industrial Fish-Farming companyTassal. SF and partners put a pause on the development.


  • Surfrider joins the Fight for the Bight Alliance to  #FIGHTFORTHEBIGHT to stop offshore oil drilling in a marine park in The Great Australian Bight. From a series of high-profile, local paddle-outs along the coast from Torquay to Gold Coast organised by Surfrider branches culminating in a national day of action seeing 50+ paddle-outs around the country on a single day with 50,000+ people attending.


  • VICTORY – Mining company Equinor withdraws from drilling in The Great Australian Bight..
  • Surfrider Australia gets behind Northern Beaches Branch and local Northern Beacgroup Save our Coast to #STOPPEP11 – the renewal of expiring PEP11 (Petroleum Exploration Permit) which could see gas drilling off the NSW coast from Manly to Newcastle. Surfrider and friends head to Canberra to meet with MP’s to discuss concerns and launch a mock gas drilling rig in the waters of Lake Burley Griffin, outside Parliament House.


  • Victory against proposed Gas Facility in Westernport Bay by newly formed Mornington Penninsula branch with “Wetsuits Against Westernport” Campaign.