Andrew Stark to receive Surfing Australia Life Membership

Published on 23/02/2024

We’re honoured to announce that former Surfing Australia CEO and current President of the WSL and Kelly Slater Wave Co for Asia Pacific, Andrew Stark, will receive Surfing Australia Life Membership at the 2023 Australian Surfing Awards.

Starky, a veteran of the surf industry with over 20 years of experience in sport management from grassroots to elite level, joined the WSL in September 2018 after serving as Surfing Australia CEO for 9 ½ years. During his tenure, he successfully grew the organisation from 7 staff members to a thriving business that now employs over 50 full and part-time employees.

Among his many achievements at Surfing Australia, Starky opened the doors to the Surfing Australia Hyundai High Performance Centre (HPC), developed the iconic national junior development program Woolworths SurfGroms, and started the hugely popular Hyundai Australian Boardriders Battle series, now in its 11th year.

Before his role at Surfing Australia, Starky was a manager at Surfing Queensland for nine years, including four years as CEO.

Known for charging big waves, Starky is a passionate and experienced surfer who thoroughly enjoys the ocean and everything the sport and lifestyle of surfing has to offer.

Andrew Stark said: “It is an absolute honour to be recognised by Surfing Australia with this Life Membership. My decade at Surfing Australia was truly rewarding and to see the sport development programs that we started as a team including SurfGroms, the Australian Boardriders Battle and the High Performance Centre, continue to thrive is fantastic to see. These are true legacy programs for the sport and I am immensely proud and appreciative to have had the opportunity to be involved with Surfing Australia through such a pivotal time for the organisation and working with such outstanding passionate people. To work for an organisation with a purpose to create a healthier and happier Australia through surfing was such a great privilege. As a passionate lifelong surfer, I could not have asked for a better career path than I have experienced to date. To share the stoke of surfing with so many people in such a quality way has been truly rewarding. I am sincerely appreciative for this Surfing Australia Life Membership.”

Surfing Australia CEO, Chris Mater, said: “I had the privilege of taking the reins of Surfing Australia from Starky, and he left the organisation in great shape. The work he had done at Surfing Australia laid an excellent foundation for what we have been able to accomplish over the past five years. His Life Membership is well-deserved, and there are very few people who have contributed as much to the sport in this country.”

Chair of Surfing Australia, Ace Buchan, said: “We are thrilled to award Starky with Surfing Australia Life Membership. Throughout his tenure he displayed a relentless commitment to drive Surfing Australia forward that was underpinned by his own deep passion for surfing. He oversaw arguably the biggest transformation of the business with the completion of the High Performance Centre and the introduction of both the Australian Boardriders Battle and the Woolworths SurfGroms program, which showed his commitment to developing the sport at all levels. We are forever grateful for his contribution.”

Life Membership of Surfing Australia is recognition of a person who has rendered distinguished or special service to the sport of surfing at the national level. It is awarded from time to time when the Surfing Australia Board and the Annual General Meeting of members believe it is warranted.

About the 2023 Australian Surfing Awards:
The Australian Surfing Awards will be held at the iconic Bondi Pavilion at Bondi Beach in Sydney on Wednesday, February 28.

Hosted by surf media icons Vaughan Blakey and Jess Grimwood, the awards honour the best surfers over the past 12 months across 19 categories, adding to the excitement of our biggest award, the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame. 

The Australian Surfing Awards incorporating the Hall of Fame are proudly sponsored by Griffith University, ACCIONA, Jim Beam, Le Tan, Small Things Wine, Tracks, Surfing World, Curly Lewis, and OnStone.

The official afterparty for the Awards will be held at the Curly Lewis Brewery.

For more details see the Australian Surfing Awards website and Hall of Fame honour list.

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