Army surf camp builds resilience and wellness

The Army Surf Riders Association (ASRA) recently held its development camp as members prepared to compete in the Inter-Service Surfing Championship.

CAPTION: Participants of the Army Surf Riders development camp at Elizabeth Beach, NSW. Story by Captain Andrew Page. All photos: Sergeant Tristan Kennedy.

As surfing is a recognised Army and ADF sport, the development camp is held each year so surfers of all abilities can improve their skills, with emphasis placed on resilience and wellness.

ASRA President Major Zachary Brown said members of the Defence Force trained to overcome difficult situations, with sport recognised as one of the best ways to hone those qualities.


“Our annual development camps focus on mental health and wellbeing, as well as understanding tools and techniques required to build stronger resilience, so it is easy to see how those attributes in a sporting context can help members to be combat effective,” Major Brown said.

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CAPTION: Army Surf Riders development camp at Elizabeth Beach, NSW.

“Events like Army surf camp are one of the many great perks of being a part of the Defence Force. Not only do our members receive professional surf coaching from Australian legends like Philippa Anderson, our members get trained in surf rescue techniques, ocean awareness and have lots of fun in the process.

“It is an awesome feeling to help someone stand up and ride a wave for the first time, and judging by their smile, you know they’re hooked, so it’s easy to see the value in these activities and how they promote retention within the Defence Force, with our participants finishing the year on a massive high.”

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CAPTION: Lance Corporal Allie Harvey learns to surf.

Warrant Officer Class Two Brad Prowse said ASRA had a number of experienced people on the camp, and they played an important role in mentoring the beginner and intermediate surfers.

“We trained them on various techniques and encouraged them to push past mental boundaries by ‘calling’ them onto waves they previously wouldn’t have charged for,” he said.

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CAPTION: Craftsman Kelly Munyard and Craftsman Jack Haylan learn to surf during the Army Surf Riders development camp.

The development camp was held at two locations, including the Sunshine Coast Recreation Centre at Currimundi in Queensland and Tiona Holiday Park at Forster in NSW.

The 125 participants also took part in yoga, mental health discussions and first aid training.


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