Vissla Australia entered a team in the first SurfAid Cup to be held in Gold Coast waters this past week-end, helping to raise more than $37,000 AUD for the people of the wave-rich Mentawai islands and surrounding regions.
The SurfAid Cup is the organisation�s flagship fundraising event and has raised $3 million across seven locations spread across the globe since its beginnings in 2011.
SurfAid�s core mission is to save the lives of women and children in remote areas of Indonesia � areas connected to us by surfing. The charity specializes in working in isolated villages where the maternal and child mortality rate is extremely high. In the past sixteen years, in addition to building award winning health programs, SurfAid has helped communities re-build their lives after five major natural disasters (earthquakes and tsunamis) in the area.
The surf event takes on a tag-team format, with corporate groups raising funds in order to compete alongside a pro surfer of their choice (selected from a pool), all in the name of charity. The Gold Coast stop is one of five events held annually in Australia, on top of the three events held in the US. Over the years the event has been supported by some of the biggest and most iconic names in surfing including Tom Carroll, Shane Dorian, Mark Occhilupo, Layne Beachley, Rob Machado, Owen Wright and Sally Fitzgibbons.
This year�s event included an extensive list of pro surfers including ex World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour surfer and SurfAid ambassador Taj Burrow.
�I�m stoked to be surfing in the SurfAid Cup Gold Coast. SurfAid do great work in Indo and I just reckon it makes sense to give back. I jumped in the kitchen at Surfing Chefs for SurfAid last year and we raised $73k, which was amazing,� said Burrow.
The corporate teams participating in the event each contained four of their own surfers - and one pro surfer - drafted from a pro pool in order of fundraising results.
Team Plenary got the first win of the morning, raising the most funds and choosing to include Taj Burrow in their team. But at the end of the day it was the Ray White Real Estate team who took the spoils, enlisting the help of local young pro Liam O�Brien - and managing to hold off Balter Brewing, ALSA Surfing Lawyers and Komune in the final.
The Vissla warehouse team, made up of Mitch Mullen, Vissla team rider Toby Mossop, Beau Wheeler, Charlie Taylor and elected pro surfer Nathan Cook, were knocked out in the semi-finals in challenging onshore conditions, despite putting up some solid scores of their own.
SurfAid founder Dr Dave Jenkins praised the weekend�s event and encouraged the community to get involved when it returns to the Gold Coast in 2018.
�It�s been such a great first event. It�s really important that we have a great vibe on the beach and we definitely had that today. We�ll be looking forward to coming back twice as big next year.�
�We�ve seen a real mix of people come together today, united by two things � our love for the ocean and surfing, and our desire to give back to those remote areas in Indonesia that we visit all the time.�
If you�d like to donate to SurfAid � hit the link [HERE](http://www.surfaid.org/donate).
Images by Surfing QLD and Taj Burrow