People and Places
25/06/2020
Club rides out the restrictions wave

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Peninsula Surfriders Club president Sean McDevitt has been part of the club since 2006. During his 14 years he’s been a member and competitor, but it was a few years later that there was a shift as the club moved to have the younger surfers running it. 

“I jumped on the committee to help a friend who was nominated to be president,” said Sean. “I’ve been involved since then. I love the club. I’d always wanted to be involved in a boardriders club and take part in competitive surfing, even if it’s just at a club level.”

Established in 1974, the Peninsula Surfriders Club is one of Australia’s premier boardriders’ clubs with a long tradition of success in national competitions and a strong focus on junior development. Its home break is Gunnamatta Beach and its clubhouse is at Truemans Rd, Fingal. 

“I grew up close to the city and attended boardriding events at Phillip Island with my friends. It was after high school that I joined the Peninsula club after moving down this way. I’ve travelled around the world, yet I still say that the Peninsula is the best. My roots are here.” 

Unfortunately, the club had to make the tough but necessary decision to put its 2020 season on hold when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Sean tells us that the minute self-isolation restrictions were imposed, the surf turned on – Murphy’s law. However, the club is looking at the bigger picture and focusing on the community’s health and how members can jump back into action once they get the go-ahead from the government and Surfing Australia to be allowed to have 100 people outdoors. 

At the time the tide turned, the club had begun its 2020 competitive season but had held only one competition. The silver lining is that with four competitions remaining, there is still time for those who were sitting on the fence to sign up. Similarly, during winter the juniors’ events generally go on pause because school sports commitments take precedence. But this year they’ve had the chance to participate in cool activities while social distancing. 

Once the club members are back on their boards, they’ll start planning the competitions and presentation night and prepare for the main event of the year, the Victorian teams titles. It’s a big event for the club with members jumping on a hire bus with their support crew and enjoying a much-needed catch-up with other clubs. “It’s one of the better days of the year,” said Sean. “It’s very social and a lot of fun.”

With a slight decline in membership since the 1990s, Sean is eager to increase the sense of community involvement and encourage those interested to join in, compete and donate their time. The super-friendly club has hit 100 members and is encouraging more newcomers, extending a welcome to anyone who wants to come down and check it out or stop by while a contest is on to watch the action on the water. 

“We’re open to all age groups, especially kids called the super groms and pre-teen girls and boys. It’s time for the next generation to come through. Anyone who loves surfing on the Peninsula and who wants to meet other like-minded people, surf or compete should make themselves known to us and pop by.”

KATE SEARS 

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