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From Sunday 25 May to Friday 30 May 2014, the iconic Bells Beach in Victoria will again see dozens of Aboriginal surfers flock to its waters to compete in the Australian Indigenous Surfing Titles (AIST).
The event, which is run in collaboration with Surfing Victoria and Surfing Australia with support from the local Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative, aims to showcase the iconic location of Bells Beach and ensure that AIST becomes an annual event on the Surfing Victoria calendar.
Riding in the wake of last year’s success, the event will house more than 50 surfers in three divisions, who have travelled from all over the country to compete. Indigenous Aquatics Officer at Surfing Victoria, Anthony Hume explains that the event is a way to get the mob together.
'It’s our way of expressing ourselves and our way of doing our major community gathering; it’s our modern way of song and dance – getting together and expressing that to all the other mobs around… they think the same, which is good,' Anthony told radio show Deadly Sounds®.
'There’s a lot of passion involved, and when it’s over you can’t wait for next year.'
The titles have so far attracted much praise and enthusiasm from the surfers and local community members alike, after being re-born in 2012 after a 16-year hiatus.
'This is our third year after the long hiatus we had with the event that used to be held at Fingal Beach. As the young one, I used to go to them and I really missed them so it's really exciting to be a major part of it to be a competitor as well,' he says.
Indigenous Aquatics Manager, Steve Parker admits that he was 'hassling' his CEO to get the event up and running again, and it’s a good thing he did because the community were keen to become involved.
'At our opening ceremony last year 100–200 people turned up – Indigenous and non-Indigenous, which was great. We had a lot of local people come down and watch the ceremony,' Steve told Deadly Sounds®.
Source: Deadly Vibe