Volunteers rip into environmental protection

80 Rip Curl employees have joined forces with locals to protect the coastline as part of an annual event that has seen more than 80,000 indigenous plants planted on the Surf Coast over 14 years.

Enthusiastic Rip Curl staff from the Torquay Head Office worked at a range of sites including Point Impossible, Bells Beach, Bird Rock, and Whites Beach.

Rip Curl staff were divided in to 6 teams, coordinated by volunteers from Surfers Appreciating the Natural Environment (SANE), Jan Juc Coast Action, Torquay Coast Action and staff from the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC).

Rip Curl staff Aloise Bersan, Sam O'Dwyer and Robbie Cullen aren't afraid to get their hands dirty on the 2014 Rip Curl Planet Day.
Rip Curl staff Aloise Bersan, Sam O’Dwyer and Robbie Cullen aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty on the 2014 Rip Curl Planet Day.

Rip Curl CEO Stephan Kay said the results give him a sense of achievement and pride.

“It’s great to see the transformation of the coastal foreshore that’s occurred as a result of these efforts.

“I love seeing the regenerated sections of the coast that Rip Curl employees have worked on when I’m going for a surf or walking the cliffs,” Mr Kay said.

Each year, Rip Curl gives back to the community and demonstrates a strong commitment to the local environment by giving their employees the opportunity to participate in a paid work day of volunteering.

Rip Curl employees completed a river clean-up and planting day at Spring Creek, one of many locations targeted on the Day,
Rip Curl employees completed a river clean-up and planting day at Spring Creek, one of many locations targeted on the Day.

Planet Day Director Mark Flanagan said the primary focus of the event is to positively contribute to the public spaces in and around the Surf Coast.

“We liaise with the community groups that help manage the areas throughout the whole year and work under their guidelines,” he said.

GORCC Environmental Projects Coordinator Alex Sedger said Rip Curl is a strong advocate for environmental protection.

“The event allows a major global company to give back to the coastal environment, engage their staff, and raise awareness around local environmental issues.

The Rip Curl staff and volunteers were involved in indigenous tree planting, weed eradication, and coastal cleanup works across two days

“The Rip Curl employees weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty in planting and weeding works, and some went to extreme lengths to collect rubbish in Spring Creek using stand up paddle boards,” said Ms. Sedger.

The Rip Curl team makes cleaning fun using paddle boards along Spring Creek.


Ms. Sedger said a number of unexpected items of rubbish were discovered.

“A car battery, bull-bar and about 50 golf balls were removed in the process,” she said.

Click here for further information on the Rip Curl Planet Day, or here to find out how you can start volunteering along the surf coast.

Playful whale heralds in a great day for forum goers

The Community Forum for Coastal Volunteers last Sunday, 29 August 2010, turned out to be quite an experience for all concerned.

Throughout the day, Fairhaven Surf Life Saving Club was abuzz with the conversation and laughter of some 40 voices as a playful whale made the most of the glassy waves on offer, delighting and sometimes distracting participants from forum proceedings.

With some arriving after very long drives from as far away as Princetown, the first order of the day was morning tea and pit stops before Coast Action/Coastcare Facilitator Jess Brown welcomed everyone to the forum and introduced facilitator Geoff Brown.

Geoff got straight down to business working with the group to map out the connections between the various groups and agencies represented, including by inviting everyone to ‘find their tribe’. A number of tribes quickly formed, primarily along geographic and/or organisational type lines (e.g. Land Manager Tribe, Community Volunteer Group Tribe). Queens Park

It was fascinating to see which tribe people saw themselves as belonging to, with the sole Princetown representative welcomed into the Anglesea community tribe and Friends of Queens Park ending up in the land manager tribe.

This exercise highlighted the different types of connections and the benefits of building constructive networks – a perfect introduction into the three guest speaker presentations that followed:

  • Graeme Stockton outlined the achievements of his group, Surfers Appreciating the Natural Environment (SANE), in protecting and conserving the many values of the Bells Beach Surfing Reserve  Bells Beach
  • Gail Chrisfield described how one little hooded plover helped to introduce the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee to the possibilities afforded by social media to connect and engage with people online, and
  • Margaret Macdonald used a case study to illustrate how the community connections between Friends of Eastern Otways and other groups were having a positive impact on the coastal environment around the iconic Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch. PR Plover and his missus

Then it was time for everyone else to share their own stories with others via a ‘Jumpstart Story’ process that enabled one to quickly listen and share with at least half those gathered before identifying the five or six most inspiring stories for further investigation by the whole group.

The conversations continued flowing throughout a very lively lunch, interspersed with visits to the top of the grassy knoll to view the whale who, by now, looked to have taken up residence out the front of the club.

Fed and watered, the group soon settled down after lunch into the task of future gazing, using a magic wand to look at goals and hopes for the future. The stories from the morning session proved useful in identifying the ‘X factors’ for success, including the skills, capacities and connections among the volunteer groups that are already in place and can be built on. Moggs Creek

Meanwhile the various land managers worked on simple but enlightening role statements to support them in communicating and connecting with others.

Finally, the home straight was in plain sight (as was the whale – still!) as the discussion moved to the next steps needed to making the future a reality, with the first step being to share what happened at the forum via this blog.

In all, the day provided a fantastic opportunity to connect and share with others whose passion is caring for the coast. A big heartfelt thank you to Coast Action/Coastcare Facilitator Jess Brown who put in a lot of hard work and effort to put it all together and make it happen.

Over the coming weeks, the stories emerging from the forum, the lessons we learnt, the goals and wishes for our various groups and our coast, and the next steps we need to take will be progressively added to this blog for participants to refer to and comment on, and to share with those who weren’t there, including people we don’t even know from coasts in other parts of the world.

We look forward to sharing these experiences with you and invite you to post your impressions, thoughts and ideas to this blog – and to spread the word to others.

Ten things we love about our beautiful Great Ocean Road coast

Those of us involved with GORCC – whether as employees, voluntary committee members, coastal volunteer groups or partners – all have one thing in common. We all love our beautiful Great Ocean Road coast. It’s our inspiration and passion.

Here are 10 things that put a smile on our faces and make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  • The sun rising above the ocean on a perfectly still, crystal clear morning.Jan Juc
  • Six foot at Boobs – or any of our other favourite local surf breaks.
  • The walk along the cliff tops from Jan Juc to Bells Beach – simply stunning any time of the day all year round.
  • The swingbridge and boardwalk on the Erskine River – a picturesque greeting card as you drive into Lorne and an enjoyable place to while away some time during your stay.Swingbridge
  • Torquay Surf Beach on a summers day – despite the crowds!
  • Volunteers working alongside our outdoor works crew at 6am on New Years Day to help clean-up the Lorne foreshore after its busiest night of the year.
  • More than 2,000 people gathering in the dark at Torquay’s Point Danger for the ANZAC Day dawn service.
  • The magnificent views over the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary from the Split Point Lighthouse in Aireys Inlet.Eagle Rock
  • An opportunity to rug up and walk along the beach in winter with a storm brewing over the Otways – ideal vantage points include Fairhaven, Moggs Creek, Easternview and Lorne.
  • The feeling of relaxation that comes over you as you dig your toes in the sand.

These are just a few of our favourite things. We could go on ad infinitum but we’re more interested in finding out what it is about our coast that you love. You can add to our list by posting a comment to share your favourite things about the coast.

Posted by David Clarke, CEO.