Manly, Australia. March 10th 2012 – Legendary world surfing champion Kelly Slater accompanied the Governor of New South Wales, Australia, Professor Marie Bashir, at a beachfront ceremony at Manly Beach that formally dedicated the Manly-Freshwater World Surfing Reserve, the first such reserve in Australia – and the third of its type in the world.
“Australia has the world’s best beaches,” said Slater, who is the current and 11-time world surfing champion, as well as a World Surfing Reserves global ambassador. “You think of sacred as an empty beach somewhere where no one is, but then you think of the history of a place like Manly especially in the symbolic terms of surfing.” Slater posed at the ceremony with the original board that Hawaiian legend Duke Kahanamoku built and rode at Manly-Freshwater in 1914.
Local Aboriginal star “Uncle Max” performs a traditional Smoking Ceremony
The four-kilometer (2.5 mile) Manly-Freshwater World Surfing Reserve joins just two other such surfing reserves in the world, namely Malibu, USA (2010) and Ericeira, Portugal (2011). “World Surfing Reserves give formal recognition to the world’s most significant surfing beaches, acknowledging their outstanding surf breaks as well as the rich surfing history and culture associated with them,” said Mayor of Manly, Councillor Jean Hay. Councillor Hay is Chair of the Manly-Freshwater World Surfing Reserve Steering Committee.
World Surfing Reserves is an international initiative based on models established by UNESCO’s World Heritage Program and National Surfing Reserve Reserves Australia to recognize and help protect outstanding surf zones and their surrounding environments, around the world. World Surfing Reserves’ board of international experts forges partnerships with local communities to select, enshrine, and help protect globally significant surf spots of universal value.
Manly-Freshwater is known as the birthplace of Australian surfing and was the very stretch of coastline where the great Hawaiian surfer and Olympian Duke Kahanamoku first demonstrated the art of board riding in Australia in 1914. The Duke came to Manly-Freshwater and carved a board out of local timber and rode the board at Freshwater beach in front of an amazed Australian crowd.
Slater and dignitaries alongside Duke Kahanamoku’s famous board ridden in Manly-Freshwater in 1914.
Right to left: Brad Farmer,Jean Hay,Kelly Slater, Michael Regan, Marie Bashir, Tony Abbott, Mike Baird.
Photos from the Manly-Freshwater Dedication Ceremony (photos courtesy of Henry Wong, Manly Council)