Get to know our friends at Juraki Surf
JURAKI is an Indigenous Not-For-Profit community entity committed to creating, supporting & partnering in community activities, programs and (sporting) events that give Indigenous similar yet culturally-sensitive opportunities to main-stream. “Closing the gap from the Indigenous perspective”. We caught up with founders Joel and Mary Slabb to find out a bit of the history and purpose of Juraki Surf organisation.
How long ago did you found Juraki surf?
In 2015 we ran the Banaam Indigenous Surf Titles at Fingal Head, and it was awesome. After it we saw the need to continue this and how important in was for the local community as well as the Aboriginal community Australia wide, and so we started Juraki Surf Culture in January 2016.
What was the motivation behind starting Juraki Surf?
The kids. I wanted to create some opportunities for the kids and Indigenous surfing as a whole. When I was 18, I was invited to share surf and culture in Oahu, North Shore Hawaii and it changed my life. There are Aboriginal kids here in Australia that have never even been on a plane, let alone, overseas. My kids were pretty young when I started thinking about starting something and my daughter Jalaan and nephew Julung would wake me up every morning, begging me to take them surfing. They really pushed me to get things started.
When and what was the first Juraki Surf event?
2016, the Juraki Surf Invitational at Fingal Head, that was our official event, however, in March of 2016, we partnered with Joel Parkinson and the WSL to host the Juraki WSL Teams Challenge at Snapper Rocks to open the Quiky/Roxy Pro. This event saw 8 Indigenous surfers such as Russ Molony, Joey Haddon, Taj Simon and Jarulah Slabb, Jalaan Slabb, Summer Simon, Amber Mercy and Jarrah Clark pair up with 8 CT surfers, Parko, Adrian Buchan, Kolohe Andino and John John Florence, Courtney Conlogue, Stephanie Gilmore, Coco Ho and Sally Fitzgibbons. From there we saw the importance of that mentoring that the junior surfers could get from the CT Surfers and thanks to Parko and WSL, we’ve been able to build on that relationship and keep it running.
What are some highlights from Juraki’s Surfs history?
Definitely all of the WSL events, to see the grom’s surf with their surfing idols is unreal. But seriously, each year of the Juraki Surf Invitational has been different and seeing the growth in the grom’s surfing has been awesome. In 2018 we partnered with Air Asia which was great, with their help we have been able to send surfers to Indo on surf trips, some of them first time being overseas. And in 2018 and 2019 we have been able to partner with Carissa Moore and Moore Aloha to send two up and coming surfers, Jalaan Slabb and Jasmine McCorquodale to Hawaii to surf and train with Carissa, her Dad/Coach Chris and the C-Stars, a group of Hawaiian surfer girls that Carissa is mentoring.
Where do you see the future of indigenous surfing heading?
I’m really hopeful for the future of Indigenous surfing here in Australia. With the WSL helping to lead the way, and some of the CT surfers wanting to see a more Indigenous presence in the surf world and the up and coming grom’s putting in time in and out of the water and just loving what they do, how could we not see a bright future! I’m really excited for what’s to come.
Are there any events or shredders coming up we should keep an eye on?
There are some amazing surfers coming through, Lungi Slabb, Leihani Zoric, Indy Slattery, Jasmine McCorquodale and Jed McDonagh, to name just a few. The grom’s are seriously firing. With COVID, comps are a bit slow but hopefully next year it picks up and we’ll see the Indigenous groom’s making a mark in the main stream events. Jalaan is also shaping and working with some amazing surfers and companies to highlight not only Indigenous in surfing, but women in surfing as well. That’s really exciting to see as well.
Tell us a bit about yourself Joel, where are you from and where did you start surfing?
I’m from Fingal Head, Northern NSW, Coodjinburra clan, Bundjalung Nation. I started surfing at around 8 years old. My Dad bought me and my brothers a board from our neighbour for $20, we all had to share it. But we just loved surfing and went from there.
Whats the last board you are rode?
I currently ride for ALOHA. My go to board is a ALOHA Black Panda. I’m hanging out to get on a Jalaan Surfboard though, it’s in the works at the moment.
If you could only ride board for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
The one that floats me!
If you could book one beach or wave out for you and your mates what would it be?
Kelly Slater’s wave pool in Summer!! That’s the dream!