The Club had few experienced surfers in the early years and concentrated on developing surfing skills through coaching days and club competition. The older role models in Bev Simmons and Evelyn Van der Aa were instrumental in offering a level of surfing that the large numbers of beginners could aim toward.
Max Perrot convinced local surf shop owners Wayne and Maree Lazarus and swimwear company owner Grant ‘Fandango’ Dwyer that sponsoring the All Girls Surf Showdown would be a history making marketing opportunity in the world of women’s surfing. The event cost them $1500 dollars and despite opposition from the cynics in surfing it became the biggest event on the girls surfing calendar with 100 entrants in the first year.
There were so few events for girls the Club executive determined to create a serious sporting event that embodied the fun of surfing and increased levels of participation – there was division for all possible girl surfers from Under 16, Open B grade and Seniors with the Open Pro and Under 21 the premier sectors: Hayley Tasker took home $500 and Trudy Todd the winner of the U/21 division in the inaugural year.. The event organisers canvassed all the available surfing wholesalers – at a time when boardshorts and wetsuits were purely male- for prizes and booty for the winners of the ACC rated event.
The Showdown was planned to promote women’s surfing to the general media and to create awareness of the rising trend of girls entering the water to the people in the sport seemingly blind to the popularity amongst women and to show the girls on the North Coast the best women surfers in Australia. The event has grown enormously and numbers have doubled.
The executive had created the ‘model master plan’ of the structure of the Club and won a Prime Ministerial Women in Sport Award in 1994 for the successful implementation of the plan attending dinner at the Brisbane Hilton with Paul Keating. The Model determined that the Club would foster successful individuals and the original success story was Jenny Boggis who was the Advanced Club Champion in the early years winning the World Grommet Title in 1995 set for a career in Pro Surfing. Boggis continued her good form to win the inaugural Billabong Pro Junior series.
The string of talented girls to follow the success of Jenny Boggis was phenomenal. Julie Morris and Crystal Vail began in the Club’s intermediate divisions moving quickly into the world of coaching and training with Max Perrot and managed to collect all amateur titles and Pro Junior titles available in the late 1990’s both attending the World Grommet Titles twice with Morris the winner in 1997 and Vail creating history winning the most number of Pro Juniors ever by a male or female.
Laurina McGrath was the new young gun also winning the world grommet title and created Club history in 1998 by taking out the Open Pro division of the Showdown defeating Professional surfers in the final. In 2004 Laurina qualified for the elite professional WCT circuit for the first time and the All Girls couldn’t have a better ambassador.
The original concept of the Showdown in the Club’s plan was to create a contest that mixed the levels of competitors so that the new hot rats could take a few experienced scalps in their quest for success. The Club also developed the interclub shield now an annual event between the Sunshine and Gold Coast Girls Clubs which celebrates past Australian women’s surfing legends Ma Bendall and Phylis O’Donnell
Marg Bryant with Phylis O’ Donnell at one of our annual tag team events