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Surfing Australia elite program manager Bede Durbidge set to leave impressive legacy

Surfing Australia elite program manager Bede Durbidge set to leave impressive legacy
September 10, 2021

Following four productive years at Surfing Australia in the role of Elite Program Manager and head coach of The Irukandjis Australian Surfing Team, Bede Durbidge has announced he will be leaving his role as he shifts focus from December this year to spend more time at home with his family.

Durbidge, alongside National High Performance Director Kate Wilcomes, took The Irukandjis to their inaugural Olympics in July this year, looks forward to spending more time with family and has loved every minute of his tenure at Surfing Australia.  

Now heading into the Paris Olympic cycle, the amount of travel required, multiple hotel quarantines now required, heavily contributed to the tough decision to not stay on for another Olympic campaign.

Durbidge advised “I really want to thank all the athletes, coaches, support staff, parents and all other stakeholders for being so open and welcoming me to this role just under four years ago and I hope I added some value to your campaigns. The main reason for moving on was based on my values of wanting to spend more time with the family and not travelling. This role involves a hefty amount of travel to maximise performance goals and It’s just not for me anymore.

“It’s been a very tough decision, but the time has come for me to finish up my duties at Surfing Australia in December. It’s been such a privilege to work for such a great organisation and sport that has given me and my family everything. I can’t thank enough all the staff at Surfing Australia past and current that have helped shape the human I am today.”

“I will always be invested in the program and care deeply about the future off Australian surfers.  I wish the High-Performance Program all the best for this next cycle into Paris and the WSL seasons and can’t wait to be watching from the sidelines cheering The Irukandjis on.”

The former Pipe Master, Triple Crown Champion and long-time World Surf League (WSL) competitor accepted the role of Surfing Australia Elite Program Manager back in August 2017 and oversaw multiple campaigns as The Irukandjis head coach including two World Surfing Games and most recently the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Surfing Australia Chief Executive, Chris Mater adds “Bede did an incredible job at Surfing Australia and every day had surfers’ interests as his number one priority. He is without doubt one of the best coaches in the world and his love, passion and knowledge of surfing is unmatched.

“Working through COVID 19 has not been easy and I’m very thankful for the sacrifices he has made to take our team to our first Olympics. He will be deeply missed by the team not only for his skills, but he is such a great person and I thoroughly loved working with him every minute.

National High Performance Director Kate Wilcomes shared “we are extremely grateful for Bede’s involvement in the High-Performance Program, He bought an enormous amount of experience and expertise to the surfers and coaches in the network. A great accomplishment for himself and Surfing in taking The Irukandjis to their first Olympic Games! We will miss him in the Paris cycle but look forward to continuing working together over the next few months.”

Durbidge’s Biggest Moments:

1. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Campaign and Owen Wright’s Bronze Medal

2. The 2021 ISA World Surfing Games and Sally Fitzgibbon’s Gold Medal

3. Leading the High Performance Program’s Coaching Strategy which supported 10 coaches across the network throughout 2020/21

4. Being a part of conceiving The Irukandjis Australian Surfing Team

5. Sharing the stoke every day!

Image: Surfing Australia Elite Program Manager Bede Durbidge in his happy place.  Credit: Blainey Woodham/ Surfing Australia

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