by Andy Pitt
CSWA and a YWAM Surfers DTS crew joined together to work at the 2015 Drug Aware Pro in Margaret River. The event was exceedingly blessed with surf, as anyone who viewed the WSL footage of the comp will realise! A number of the men's rounds were run at 'The Box', with some of the best surfers in the world getting seriously worked by the gnarly hollow barrels it was producing.
The women's event went off well too with the finals being held in solid clean 6-8ft surf at Margies Mainbreak. It was exciting surfing to say the least!
From a work point of view, we had a larger service team this year and were able to assist in other facets of event set up as a result of our numbers. The officials were stoked that we could not just cover our own work zones of bins and dunnies, but a number of other needed tasks - event branding, drug testing and running food to different parts of the event just to name some.
The event covered the bill on a beautiful house on the river for our service team, which became our base for rest and hospitality. We had a few of the surfers, photographers and our WSL Women's Chaplain come for dinner on a few nights and shared about life on the Tour. During lay days we could go surfing, food tasting in the area and coaching a number of others around the event. One such group was the Esther Foundation - a care ministry to young women who have come through addiction, abuse and tragedy. We had a great day of surf coaching with their crew at 'The Farm' in Geographe Bay.
During the event a church in Margaret River hosted a BBQ with the screening of the Walking on Water movie Beyond Sight. It was good to support this form of outreach that leveraged off of the pro event and for our team to be part of that. We also attended a Sunday service at Down South Gospel as a team, where Ana Barend, the Women's Chaplain shared, as well as Terry Bowdler (YWAM) giving a service team report and Steve Bailey giving feedback on the recent CS Australia National Gathering.
We are really satisfied to have had some great ministry through the Drug Aware Pro, with solid selfless service and work leading to many meaningful conversations and prayers across the event. It was so fulfilling to see how much favour Ana Barend had with the women surfers and their families. She caddied for a number of the women surfers, even for up to six hours one day...in some BIG surf too. Way to go Ana!
The invite has already been extended for us to be part of next year's event and we'd like to grab the opportunity with both hands again. It is a joy and privilege to be salt and light and represent Christ to this awesome arena through service and chaplaincy. Having Christian Surfers t-shirts meant that our team were easily identifiable around the event site as well - it was nice to fly the CS flag there!
Contact me if you'd like to get involved with next year's event!
Margaret River Pro - A Personal Story
by Taylor Brant
I personally felt in my element at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro and I saw God really working at this event. I had experience serving with Snowboarders and Skiers for Christ at snowboard competitions back home in Colorado and was excited to serve at a world class surf event. YWAM Perth joined up with the Christian Surfers volunteer crew lead by Andy Pitt and Terry Bowdler to do jobs that most people wouldn't want to do like cleaning bathrooms, being responsible for all the recycling and trash and putting up sponsorship banners. Each day as a team we would put in a long day of work, getting there very early in the morning and not leaving until evening. We strived to leave it nicer than we found it. Sadly, there was a tragic event just weeks before the competition, where a semi truck driver was killed delivering the staging materials. There was a heavy burden amongst the event organizers and we were the helping hands that made sure behind the scenes that it ran smoothly and that the event would start on schedule. The best part of the Margaret River Pro event was bringing a positive friendly atmosphere each day to the event and building relationships with the organisers of the event, the professional surfers, the media team and even the security at the event.
We had such a positive impact on the event and it didn't go unnoticed. I had the opportunity to build solid friendships and share the gospel with a local pro surfer, as well as his brother and friends, the filming and editing crew for WSL and even a few security guards. One of the guys on the WSL video editing team was stoked to receive a Surfers Bible and read it and one of the security guards even came to recognise that he felt like this lost sheep that Jesus described about in his parables. I told him that I would be getting him a Surfers Bible and it just so happened we found just one left - it was meant for him!
During the last day of the competition, we held a showing of the Walking on Water's Beyond Sight film. We handed out flyers and the last one I handed out was to a security guard from the event. He was the last person I would have thought to show up at the film screening but he stopped by before his next shift. He had read a bible once in his life when he was young and thought it was boring, so I was sure to mark out the gospels for a life changing read for him.
I loved serving at this event, it was great to meet these people where they were at and be a light for Jesus to everyone we came across.