Council grant helps local junior surfer chase her dreams
  • Thursday 05 April 2018

With the help of a council Individual Development Grant, as well as family, community and business support, Ellia Smith from Coolum Beach is chasing her dreams on the surfing circuit.

Inspired by other successful Coolum surfers - Julian Wilson and Isabella Nicholls – Ellia is following in their footsteps to build her own impressive list of achievements.

Ellia’s success started when she represented Queensland in the under 14s, under 16s All Stars and under 19s MR Shield at the 2016 Australia Junior Surfing Titles at Phillip Island in Victoria.

She then went on to win the under 19 MR Australian Title in 2016 and once again represented Queensland in the under 16s All Stars at the 2017 Australian Junior Surfing Titles in Culburra, NSW.

Much to her delight, Ellia qualified for the 14 and under girls division of the Ripcurl Grom Search National Final in Wollongong, NSW in January this year and placed third in the final.

Ellia said she loves to surf mostly at her home beach, but she also enjoys carving up the waves at Yaroomba, Peregian, and Noosa when the conditions are good.

“I feel very proud, happy and honoured to represent my state as many amazing surfers from Queensland are now professional surfers and the best in the world,” Ellia said.

“The Sunshine Coast Council Individual Development Grant helped to fund part of my fees to travel with the Queensland team at the Australian Junior Surfing Titles in 2017.

“Another Individual Development Grant assisted with the cost to participate in the 14 and under Girls Division of the Ripcurl Grom Search National Final in January 2018.

“I really enjoy surfing and always have so much fun surfing with my dad and my friends. I also enjoy competitive surfing and setting goals in every surf comp to perform better.

“Living on the Sunshine Coast is the perfect place to surf, explore the coastline and beautiful national parks and enjoy a healthy outdoors lifestyle.

“I dedicate myself to my sport and train hard with the Ocean Performance Centre, Elite Surf Coaching, Coolum Boardriders Club and free surfing every chance I get.”

Community Programs Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said Ellia was a fantastic ambassador for not only for our region, but for the whole of Queensland.

“To compete for your state is a real honour and each and every athlete’s passion for their sport is truly inspirational and commendable,” Cr McKay said.

“I’m proud that council and our local community and businesses were able to provide some financial assistance to allow her to fulfil her dreams of representing her state.”

This financial year to date, council has supported 108 local individuals through the Individual Development Grants Program, providing $37,095 in funding to assist with expenses including travel, accommodation, entry and registration fees.

Individual Development Grants provide support to Sunshine Coast Local Government Area residents who are performing, competing or presenting at national or international competitions, conferences or events.

Visit council’s website for more details or to apply for an Individual Development Grant.

Image credit: Local surfer Ellia Smith from Coolum Beach. Image by Jeff Perren.