KURNAI College students Zoey Marks and Chloe Mobourne are blazing the way for Koorie girls in the surf.
The pair competed at the Victorian Indigenous Surfing championship in Torquay this month, in a first for the Latrobe Valley’s Koorie community.
With next to no surfing experience, the 16 year-olds showed natural flair at the East Gippsland Indigenous trials at Cape Conran last month, where Chloe finished first and Zoe third to qualify for the state event.
“It was a pretty good feeling I didn’t think that I would actually come third,” Zoe said.
“We just jumped on a surf board and did our best.”
Budjeri Napan board member Naomi Murphy said the duo’s success could lead to a new development program in the Valley, opening up new pathways for indigenous youth in sport.
“It’s nice to have something out there to offer Koorie kids which isn’t just football, netball and basketball,” she said.
“We’ve got great beaches here and if we can create this opportunity and get some sponsorship (it would be great).”
Discussions are underway with Surfing Victoria, along with Gippsland Koorie surfers Anthony Hume and Steve Parker, about bringing the unprecedented program to the Valley to help further the girls’ budding talent.
Prior to her win at Cape Conran, Chloe had only surfed once before, but her background in dancing helped her balance on the board.
“I don’t know (where the aptitude came from) I just picked it up pretty quickly,” she said.
Similarly, Zoe’s exposure to the sport was limited.
“I had an interest in surfing for quite a while; I used to watch Blue Water High. It’s really, really fun and I like it already; It seems like a good hobby and it gets me motivated,” Zoe said.
The girls are keen to enhance their skills with an eye to competing at future Australian Indigenous surfing championships.