More than 50 business leaders from the Gold Coast and Brisbane joined forces with Australian surfer Isabella Nichols in the nation’s biggest corporate surf challenge – surfing, or wiping out, for a good cause.
This year’s 2023 Club Wyndham Corporate Surf Challenge is the eleventh annual event and raised a record $34,000 for the FSHD Global Research Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve quality of life for people living with Facioscapulohumeral Dystrophy (FSHD). It is a complex and progressive disease that wastes muscles and can rob people of the ability to walk, talk, eat and, over time, even blink and smile.
Surfers this year competed for the Logan Steinwede Memorial Cup, a tribute to late surfer Logan Steinwede, who had been a regular competitor in the surf challenge since 2015, when he was just 12. The event team and many competitors knew Logan personally and are trying to come to terms with his tragic death.
This year’s challenge was organised and hosted by Club Wyndham and was won by Stellar Recruitment. Other local businesses participating included Ray White Surfers Paradise, Coca Cola Europacific Partners, SJS Custom, Harry Harry Australia, Lifestyle Panel, Higgins Coatings, Bunzl, TK Elevator Australia, Our Vacation Centre, Turn Key Furniture Solutions, Rapid Media, Dignified Living and Brintons Carpet & Rugs.
Women’s Championship Tour surfer Isabella Nichols brought a touch of expertise to the event, which saw her join with the surfing enthusiasts from the Gold and Brisbane business communities for the first time.
“We are grateful to see business leaders, along with pro Isabella Nichols, join with us to raise awareness and funds for FSHD Global,” said Barry Robinson, President and Managing Director, International Operations for Wyndham Destinations. “The challenge is a day full of fun, friendly competition, breathtaking moves and wipeouts, and we are grateful we were able to make another huge contribution to an important cause.
“The Foundation is an incredible advocate for those with the disease and has made real headway in recent years towards effective treatment and cures, thanks to generous donors and business partners,” he added.
Through fundraising from events like this, the Foundation has been able to make significant moves, such as having Australia included in a global clinical trial network, with trials expected to open soon.
“Thanks to our generous donors and corporate partners, we recently began using innovative muscle scanning techniques by Springbok Analytics currently used in elite sports like the NFL and NBA to begin monitoring muscle volume, fat infiltration and inflammation to test the effectiveness of potential treatments,” said Emma Weatherley, Managing Director of the FSHD Global Research Foundation.
“With clinical trials happening globally and our ongoing efforts to establish sites in Australia, we
believe we are on the cusp of a breakthrough that could change the lives of people fighting this disease and with no government funding, we are working to ensure that Australians with FSHD don’t miss out on participating in trials or benefiting from future approved therapies,” she added.
Stellar Recruitment, as the winner of the Club Wyndham Corporate Surf challenge, received custom-made surfboards by SJS Custom Surfboards, while there were additional prizes for the top scoring surfer, lowest scoring surfer and best wipeout.
The event is a tag team surfing competition run under the Surftag format, where each team is represented by four surfers. All teams competed in an elimination round, where victors progressed to a quarter final, then a semifinal and final.