Torquay Boardriders Club left behind in upcoming election

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Bells Beach. Credit: Torquay Boardriders.

Members of the Torquay Boardriders Club feel like they have been left out in this election’s campaign cash splash.

Sarah Henderson, Federal Member for Corangamite, recently announced a re-elected Morrison Liberal Government would provide $100,000 to fund a clubhouse for the 13th Beach Boardriders.

This follows Henderson’s promises to secure more than $7.32 million in funding for Surf Life Saving Clubs across the electorate including Anglesea, Pt Lonsdale, Jan Juc, Apollo Bay and Ocean Grove.

Labor has since matched the surf lifesaving proposal, with Corangamite candidate Libby Coker announcing she would back the funding if elected this weekend.

But the Torquay Boardriders Club has not got a mention this campaign. Its vice president Harry Mann said most of the club’s funding came from its members and a volunteer basis alone.

“Torquay Boardriders Club is a not-for-profit organisation with over 300 members volunteering their time to give junior surfers from Torquay the best opportunity to reach their goals on a world surfing stage,” Mann said.

“Our rising numbers and successes in national competition has only seen us experience significant and increasing fundraising pressures. We just want to have the best facilities and the best backing to make sure our members can strive to reach their goals.”

Members of Torquay Boardriders Club. Photo: Torquay Boardriders.

The Torquay Boardriders Club was formed in 1978 to ensure “Torquay was represented as the premiere surfing centre of the state in all surfing events”.

The club has athletes competing at both a national and global competition level and is recognised in Victoria as the most consistently dominant competition surfing club.

The club also has long-lasting connections to the local communities of Torquay and Jan Juc, and strong links with surfing industry businesses and organisations.

However, the club did acknowledge it had never applied for federal funding. It also said that any funding for other boardriders clubs was a good thing for the industry as a whole.

Cahill Bell-Warren, the president of the Torquay Boardriders Club, hopes the Liberal’s funding pledge for the 13th Beach club will encourage the growth of Boardriders clubs in a political landscape.

“We’re excited to see boardriders clubs finally being recognised by the government as key members in the community sporting landscape,” he said.

“Although we haven’t pulled the political trigger that (13th Beach Boardriders) have, I’m excited to see surfing and boardriders acknowledged by political parties as a key stakeholder in coastal communities.

“We need to be seen in the eyes of the government at the same level of other sporting groups that have the financial support and maintenance of their facilities.”

Henderson did not respond to requests for comment on the Torquay Boardriders Club specifically but, in a promotional video relating to the 13th Beach Boardriders funding, she said it would provide members “with a home” that is “so needed” for the club.

The Torquay Boardriders Club has since contacted various political parties requesting funding to help with the development of a permanent home.

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