Groundswell for Christian Surfers
A book covering the dynamic history and life-changing ministry and mission of an international surfing movement — Christian Surfers — has been launched in Sydney.
More than 100 people attended the launches in the Sydney CBD and at the location where Christian Surfers began — Cronulla in Sydney’s south.
The Cronulla event was held at Rydges Hotel where once stood the iconic Christian Surfers “open” house which ministered to and cared for hundreds of young people during the 1980s.
The launch events were attended by members of the Sydney and international surfing community, as well as some of the original and current members of Christian Surfers.
Groundswell: The Christian Surfers Story is the personal reflections of Brett Davis, founder of Christian Surfers, who went on to lead a growing movement that now has over 500 groups in 35 nations and over 1500 volunteer leaders.
In the late 1970s a handful of teenage surfers decided to launch “Christian Surfers” in a working class fibro cottage in southern Sydney to explore how faith and surfing mixed.
“I was just 18 years old and brand new to this ‘Jesus’ bloke and all we knew was that we appreciated a new direction in life, we had concern for our surfing mates and wanted to make a difference,” Brett said.
“This is the story of ordinary surfers trusting God to do the extra ordinary.
“There are endless surfer accounts of faith, mishaps and fun times.”
Association of Surfing Professionals Chairman, Richard Grellman, who attended the Sydney CBD launch, said, “Given the unimpeachable work of CS with surf chaplaincy, I find it unsurprising to see the respect that it enjoys at all levels of our sport. This book opens up the story behind this reputation.”
Groundswell gives a colourful and incisive insight into the world of surf and faith, including a surf chaplaincy story surrounding the death of former world champion surfer Andy Irons in 2010.
At that time, surfing chaplain Abe Andrews from the Association of Profession Surfing (ASP) stepped into the gap. Brett Davis records in the book Groundswell, “Everyone was upset and in shock. There was an air of disbelief. Abe drove around to various places, delivering food and making sure everyone was okay … At breakfast, Abe sat with more surfers and ASP staff. There was crying, talking, laughing and periods of silence.”
Hawaii’s master surfboard shaper Eric Arakawa said, “Groundswell is an amazing story of passion, revelation, faith, redemption, grace and providence. And also may I add, of twisted Aussie humour.”
In his foreword to the book International President for Youth for Christ, David Wraight, said it had been a privilege to work with Christian Surfers as it developed into a global mission.
“Their ministry continues to expand its reach into all corners of the world providing a place for multitudes of people…to find Jesus and become reflections of His grace and love,” he said.
Groundswell is not just one person’s story but a narrative about what God has done through people who have a love of God and others. The book is peppered with wonderful stories of ordinary but sometimes highly colourful characters struggling to find identity and meaning in all the wrong places but eventually finding their inner-most needs met in Jesus Christ through the ministry of Christian Surfers.
US Professional Surfer Damien Hobgood said,“Through Christian Surfers God has empowered many people to connect the dots between their love for Jesus and love for surfing. Groundswell inspiringly tells this story.”
Stanwell Park surfer and founding member of Christian Surfers, Rob Killham, said at the launch, “A lot of people still come up to me and talk about those early years 35 years later. Brett Davis had a vision of what could be done.”
Wendy Potts was one of three girls who found strength, friendship and support through Christian Surfers. She was accepted as a peer in an era when girls were excluded from surfing. She told the launch crowd, “Christian Surfers were amazing brothers in Christ. The book is a wonderful read, an inspiring read. It’s been a wonderful journey.”
Groundswell will also be launched at Wollongong 27/10/12, the Gold Coast 28/10/12, Hawaii 8/11/12, Newcastle 16/11/12 and Perth WA 24/11/12