Surfers Honoured in Oldest Room in Parliament

Published on 21/10/2022

It’s not everyday you see surfboards in Parliament House but today Surfing NSW and four of the state’s surfing legends captivated the NSW Parliamentarians in one of the grandest rooms of the NSW Parliament, the Jubilee Room. 

It was a special day with the presentation of the Midget Farrelly Lifetime Achievement award to two former world champions, Pam Burridge and Tom Carroll by Farrelly’s family, as well as the acknowledgement of the award-winning Her Wave initiative and Surfers Rescue 24/7. 

Both award recipients paid tribute to Farrelly, Surfing NSW’s first president and first world champion, and the incredible life he led as a pioneer in the sport and in all aspects of ocean sports. 

“This is an amazing honour to receive this award,” said 2021 recipient, 1990 world champion Pam Burridge from Mollymook. 

“I feel very privileged to stand here in Parliament House to receive it. I feel so connected to Midget, he did so much to inspire me as a competitor, to run a business, making surfboards. Surfing has given me everything,” she said.

“It really is such an honour. Surfing has given me so much and it just doesn’t stop. It’s a script that was written and it’s in me and now I can pass it onto the young kids,” said 2022 recipient and two-time world champion Tom Carroll, who told the story of how his first world title was won with the influence of ballet training after hearing Farrelly drew elements of his surfing style from his sister’s ballet. 

Burridge and Carroll were joined by Layne Beachley, Sally Fitzgibbons and Surfing NSW CEO Luke Madden in a panel discussion around lives saved and the community impact surfers have. 

State members from coastal electorates as well as regional electorates joined in the celebration of achievements of the state sporting organisation and were delighted to be part of the event. 

NSW Parliamentary Friends of Surfing Chair, Hon. James Griffin said it was a great day and a great way to bring the essence of surfing to Parliament House. 

“I’ve had the enormous privilege of being the Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Surfing, and it’s been an amazing opportunity to work with the team who do such great work within communities up and down the coast,” he said.

“For both coastal MPs and those from the regions, there’s a real opportunity for everyone to engage with Surfing NSW to ensure that people who have a love for the ocean know that there’s a board, a club or surf school there for them to be part of. There are endless opportunities available.” 

Surfing NSW Deputy Chair Harry Hodge proudly highlighted the organisation’s successes and the state of surfing in NSW to the packed room. 

“103 World Titles have been decided since 1964. Out of those, 37 have been from NSW surfers, that’s more than any country or state in the world,” said Hodge. 

“What Surfing NSW does is provide critical pathways that enable this kind of success through our initiatives that support every aspect of surfing from kids through to adults. Our partnership with the NSW Government is crucial to ensure we can continue to deliver world-class events, community programs and athlete pathways.” 

Find out more about the Surfing NSW Her Wave initiative and Surfers Rescue 24/7 program. 

For more information on Surfing NSW programs and how you can get involved, please email us at

Image below L-R – Sally Fitzgibbons, Layne Beachley, Pam Burridge, Johanna Farrelly, Beverlie Farrelly, Tom Carroll, Harry Hodge. Photo by Harry Hayes.

Image bottom – Surfing NSW Staff with Sally Fitzgibbons and Ronnie Blakey.

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