Gary ‘Kong’ Elkerton Inducted Into The Australian Surfing Hall Of Fame

Gary Kong Elkerton Australian Surfing Hall Of Fame

Gary Elkerton’s induction recognizes the contribution made by the man who is better known simply as Kong. In an era regarded more for its flash than substance by some, Kong was a surfer who could back up the hype. The big man was untouchable in everything from six to 20 feet and was three-time world championship runner-up during the ’80’s and ’90’s.  Kong also came out firing in the ASP’s Masters Championships, claiming the ASP World Masters Title in 2000, 2001 and again in 2003.

Kong’s induction was one of a number of awards presented last night in Coolangatta as part of the Australian Surfing Awards.

World number 2 Bede Durbidge was recognized as the Male Surfer of the Year, two time world champion and current world champion, Steph Gilmore was named female surfer of the year, with Sunshine Coast surfer Julian Wilson recognized as the Rising Star .

Peter ‘Joli’ Wilson’s photo of ASP World Tour surfers Mick Fanning and Ben Dunn surfing simultaneous barrels at Duranbah was voted as the Photo of the Year from a very strong field. ‘Joli’ is from the Gold Coast but very much a citizen of the world, he is a member of an elite group of highly experienced photographers whose images are a permanent fixture in surfing, outdoor and lifestyle magazines and books all around the globe.

Nigel Devenport was elated with winning the Movie of the Year Award for Lost and Running which follows the travels of a few hardy surf adventurers chasing waves with very limited resources epitomising the ‘surf road trip’.

Devenport became interested in the power of film about 5 years ago after losing some close mates and realized how special film is in capturing special moments. His next project is a follow up of Lost and Running but with an international flavour which is set to include some “out there” locations and situations.

Tim Winton’s most recent novel Breath was named the winner of the Surf Culture Award. Breath brings surfing to life and intertwines it with the wildness of youth – the lust for excitement and terror, the determination to be extraordinary, the wounds that heal and those that don’t – and about learning to live with its passing.

Coolum Boardriders were named Simon Anderson Premier Club of the Year after many years of continuing dedication to the development of junior surfing and Sunshine Coast community.  Julian Wilson who took out the Rising Star Award is also a member of the Coolum Boardriders.

The Stan Couper Administration Award was presented to Adrian Sorati. Sorati is a full time teacher and one of the unsung heroes of Australian surfing. His commitment to Surfing Victoria and the sport is second to none and his dedication to helping young surfers reach their potential has been sustained for well over a decade. Within industry circles he is acknowledged as one of those guys who are always putting in to help the sport of surfing.

The Peter Troy Lifestyle Award went to someone who has been surfing since the early 1940′s and continues to do so, regardless of his 79 years. Born in 1929, Barry “Magoo” McGuigan is the epitome of the surfing lifestyle.

His whole life has revolved around the sport of surfing.  Despite many trophies and an over 50 Australian Championship awards it is the surfing lifestyle that Magoo values the most. His knowledge of surfing history, having lived surfing for close to 70 years, is unsurpassed. His collection of surfing memorabilia is to be envied. The way of life Of Barry “Magoo” McGuigan can be adequately summed up by Barry himself, who describes the liquid running through his veins as “salt water, rather than blood”.

The Industry Award was presented to Kim Sundell representing Coastalwatch, who are regarded as Australia’s number 1 surf-cam and swell forecast website but they far from one dimensional.  Coastalwatch supports a host of environmental issues including the Sea Shepherd, Surf Aid and the Surfrider Foundation.  Coastalwatch offers support to a number of community programs including Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol, Coastguard, Volunteer Marine Rescue, Coastcare and the Cancer Council.  They offer opportunities on their website where community groups such a boardriding clubs can promote their activities free. They have been a long term supporter of the Team Australia Program assisting in sending our national junior and senior teams to contest Open and Junior World Championships.

The Pioneer Award was presented to Firewire for its commitment to advancing the technology in the manufacture of surfboards.  In 2007, Firewire rider and world number 3 Taj Burrow won two World Tour events on an epoxy surfboard, a first for this technology.  Firewire’s FST model incorporates parabolic balsa rails and rapid flex memory, its Direct Drive model replaces the balsa rails with interior carbon rods and its Rapidfire model includes the interior carbon rods with a full deck bamboo Springer to enhance the flex memory and durability.

The Australian Surfing Awards were for the second year “carbon neutral” with the organisers undergoing a carbon audit of the event. The carbon footprint of the event will be offset by the purchasing of certified carbon offsets equal to the audited emissions profile.  The process was undertaken by awards partner Balance Carbon.

ASB (Australian Surf Business) magazine continued with their support of the presentation of the awards. This is the second year of ASB’s association with the awards coinciding with an overhaul of the imagery and resources produced for the awards.

Surfing Australia is grateful to its award partners ASB, Balance Carbon and the Australian Sports Commission plus those members of the industry who have contributed and continue to contribute to the presentation of the awards.