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Jallum Jarjum riding a wave of success

01 Jul 2022

This NAIDOC Week we spoke with Surfing Queensland, one of our Active Industry Fund organisations, about their unique Indigenous Surf Program 'Jallum Jarjum' and the great success it is having across the state.

What is the Jallum Jarjum program?

‘Jallum Jarjum’ is the translation of the phrase ‘fish kids’ in traditional indigenous language.
The Jallum Jarjum program offers a tailored indigenous surfing program aiming to introduce Indigenous youth to the lifestyle and sport of surfing plus the associated health benefits. The program also seeks to break down barriers and provide education and employment pathways for Indigenous youth in surfing, through ‘job ready’ training courses and opportunities to undertake courses.

How successful has the program been?

Throughout the Jallum Jarjum program, Surfing Queensland has seen a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of all of the indigenous youth involved. The program has attracted more than 112 participants and accredited four coaches, two of which have landed meaningful employment in the surfing industry.

The NAIDOC Week theme for 2022 is Get up! Stand up! Show up! – looking at amplifying our voices and narrowing the gap between aspiration and reality, good intent and outcome.

How does Jallum Jarjum exemplify this? 

It’s important to deliver programs like Jallum Jarjum to preserve and celebrate indigenous culture. Australia’s first people have a rich history with their land and activating young indigenous people to participate in surfing, provides a new opportunity to close the gap as we promote the connection and engagement through our diverse sport.

More than 60% of Australia’s Indigenous population resides on the east coast of Australia, however participation within the sport of surfing by the Indigenous community is underrepresented. A statistic mirrored by extremely low numbers from the indigenous community employed within the surf industry. The Jallum Jarjum program aims to break down these barriers and provide indigenous youth with pathway opportunities in the surfing industry.

How do you think this program assists in addressing and embracing change?

Sport has a positive impact on indigenous wellbeing and mentoring and can contribute positively towards closing the gap in targeted areas such as health, education and employment. Indigenous surfers represent just 1.8% of the overall surfing population according to the Australia Sports Commission. The Jallum Jarjum program directly enables indigenous youth to be involved with a sport where they previously may have seen too many obstacles to participate. In addition, Surfing Queensland was successful in securing meaningful employment for two indigenous people, exemplifying the positive outcomes that can come from sporting programs such as Jallum Jarjum.

Any final words?

Surfing Queesland CEO Adam Yates explained that the Jallum Jarjum program is an important initiative that not only provides many pathway opportunities within education and employment for Indigenious communities in the surfing industry.

“I’ve also seen first-hand the positive impact the program has on the health and wellbeing of the participants. Surfing Queensland is committed to closing the gap and creating systemic change within the sport of Surfing through programs such as Jallum Jarjum”, Mr Yates said.