Indigenous Surfing Community Celebration Award finalists

Published on 27/02/2024

The Indigenous Surfing Community Celebration Award recognises the person or group who in the past year has, through the person or groups capability, influence and effort made an outstanding contribution to the Indigenous Surfing Community.

This year there are four finalists.

Landon Smales is from Noosa, QLD but his cultural ties are now in Ballardong Noongar Country in the South West of WA. In 2023 Landen won the Open Men, Men’s Longboard, and the Junior Boys divisions at the Australian Indigenous Surfing Titles at Djarrk Bells Beach. He’s a great role model who shows respect and is committed to actively learning more about the responsibly in giving back to his community. Landen is also a finalist for the Mick Fanning Rising Star Award.

Summer Simon is a proud Biripi woman who won an Australian Indigenous Surfing Title in the Open Women division at Djarrk Bells Beach. She has played an integral role in coordinating the inaugural Surfing Australia First Nations High Performance Program, also acting as a mentor for the younger groms. Summer teaches surf lessons and has secured sponsorship with various brands that have shone a spotlight and celebrated her cultural identity.

Lungi Slabb is a young Coodjingburra man from Fingal Head, NSW who comes from a strong, proud family and cultural heritage. His free surfing career has seen him travel to Fiji, France and other destinations over the past year. His breakthrough performances have been celebrated globally in movie parts. Lungi has always given back to his community, sharing his culture language and history, such as last year’s Indigenous round for the Tweed Seagulls RLFC, where he shared story, art, and culture to pass onto the next generations. Many of these programs are in conjunction with Lungi’s father’s program, Banaam (meaning: second brother). Fingal’s Indigenous community has paved the way for Indigenous Surfing for many years and Lungi is continuing to uphold these traditions and values.

A proud Gumbaynggirr – Bundjalung man, Otis Carey has influenced a generation of Indigenous surfers from not only his local community at Coffs Harbour but communities across the country. A trailblazer for Indigenous representation in the world of professional free surfing he continues to inspire a new generation of Indigenous surfers to pursue their passion fearlessly and has been a role model for the first cohort of Indigenous surfing groms in Surfing Australia’s First Nations High Performance Program. Otis uses his success in the surfing world to draw attention to environmental and cultural issues affecting Indigenous coastal communities. Over the past 12 months, in particular, Otis has firmly established himself a powerful figurehead for the Indigenous community, using his talent, profile and platforms to advocate for social and cultural issues.

Also performing live at the Australian Surfing Awards is Walangari Karntawarra, an Arrernte Aboriginal elder, award winning artist, gifted musician, educator, and Bondi resident. He uses his all his endeavours as a means of cross-cultural communication and his life is dedicated to improving outcomes for his people. Walangari will also present the Indigenous Surfing Community Celebration Award at the Australian Surfing Awards this Wednesday, February 28.

The Australian Surfing Awards incorporating the Hall of Fame will be held at the Bondi Pavilion on Wednesday, February 28 and is proudly sponsored by Griffith University, ACCIONA, Jim Beam, Le Tan, Small Things Wine, Tracks, Surfing World, Curly Lewis, and OnStone.

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