A book covering the dynamic history and life-changing work of an international surfing movement – Christian Surfers – has been launched in Sydney. More than 100 people attended the launches in the Sydney CBD and at the location where Christian Surfers began – Cronulla in Sydney’s south. The events were attended by members of the Sydney and international surfing community, as well as some of the original and current members of Christian Surfers.
Groundswell – the Christian Surfers story gives a colourful and incisive insight into the world of surf and faith including a surf chaplaincy story surrounding the death of former world champion surfer Andy Irons in 2010.
At that time, surfing chaplain Abe Andrews from the Association of Profession Surfing (ASP) stepped into the gap. Brett Davis records in the book Groundswell, “Everyone was upset and in shock. There was an air of disbelief. Abe drove around to various places, delivering food and making sure everyone was okay… At breakfast, Abe sat with more surfers and ASP staff. There was crying, talking, laughing and periods of silence.”
Groundswell is the personal reflections of Brett Davis, founder of Christian Surfers, who went on to lead a growing movement that now has over 500 groups in 35 nations and over 1500 volunteer leaders. In the late 1970’s a handful of teenage surfers decided to launch “Christian Surfers” in a working class fibro cottage in southern Sydney, to explore how faith and surfing mixed.
“I was just 18 years old and brand new to this ‘Jesus’ bloke and all we knew was that we appreciated a new direction in life, we had concern for our surfing mates and wanted to make a difference,” Brett said.
“This is the story of ordinary surfers trusting God to do the extra ordinary.
“There are endless surfer accounts of faith, mishaps and fun times.”
Association of Surfing Professionals Chairman, Richard Grellman, who attended the Sydney CBD launch said: “Given the unimpeachable work of CS with surf chaplaincy, I find it unsurprising to see the respect that it enjoys at all levels of our sport. This book opens up the story behind this reputation,”
Hawaii’s master surfboard shaper Eric Arakawa said: “Groundswell is an amazing story of passion, revelation, faith, redemption, grace and providence. And also may I add, of twisted Aussie humour,”
Stanwell Park surfer and founding member of Christian Surfers, Rob Killham, said at the launch: “A lot of people still come up to me and talk about those early years 35 years later. Brett Davis had a vision of what could be done.”
Wendy Potts was one of three girls who found strength, friendship and support through Christian Surfers. She was accepted as a peer in an era when girls were excluded from surfing told the launch crowd: “Christian Surfers were amazing brothers in Christ. The book is a wonderful read, an inspiring read. It’s been a wonderful journey.”
Groundswell will also be launched at Wollongong (27/10/12), the Gold Coast (28/10/12), Hawaii (8/11/12), Newcastle (16/11/12) and Perth WA (24/11/12).
More details on www.groundswellbook.com
For more information on Christian Surfers International www.christiansurfers.net
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