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By Madeleine Gray on January 3, 2017 in News

Photo: Dilan Carestia

Photo: Dilan Carestia

Bodyboarding, environmentalism, and Eid are not three things you usually find in the same story. And yet, as it turns out, they actually work in perfect harmony.

Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, the bodyboarding scene in the Eastern Suburbs was really kicking, with the Eastern Suburbs Bodysurfers Club hosting regular contests and encouraging newbies to get involved. By the mid 90s, however, the enthusiasm had died down. It wasn’t until 2008 that the group arose afresh, this time culminating in the Maroubra Bodyboarders Club.

“We meet monthly for contests, and provide an entry platform for riders to make friends, learn skills, and progress to larger contests, such as young Liam Lucas who’s been over competing in South Africa,” club member Dilan Carestia explained. “It’s just bloody good fun, riding a boogie.”

This year, three senior riders – Mr. Carestia, Michael Clarke and Marc Abbott – came up with the idea of travelling to the remote Indonesian island of Sumbawa to catch some waves and do some good. Sensing an opportunity to introduce the youngsters in the club to an entirely different culture, they invited along three grommets – sixteen-year-olds Noah Gilroy, Liam Flanagan, and Liam Newman.

“It was out of this world,” Mr. Gilroy said. “The waves were perfect, and with good mates and sick vibes, what more do you want?”

Mr. Carestia has long been invested in keeping the waves and sands clean, and after attending a fundraiser for Take Three for the Sea (a not-for-profit organisation that encourages beachgoers to pick up three pieces of rubbish whenever they hit the sand), he decided that this trip posed the perfect platform to put that ethos into practice. With the help of his five travelling companions, he decided to make a show of collecting rubbish on the beach, encouraging locals to get involved.

“I see rubbish all the time in the surf and on the sand, but I’m also a geography teacher, and looking at the stats blows my mind,” Mr. Carestia said.

“By the year 2048 scientists are predicting the collapse of marine ecosystems. There will literally be more pieces of plastic in the sea than fish.”

“When we were there, it was the end of Ramadan and the litter piled up quick.

“We saw a lot of the locals cooking up barbecues on the beach, but when the day was over we saw what a mess was left behind.”

As the boys began to collect the rubbish, a glorious thing happened – everyone else wanted in, too.

“Once we started cleaning up, the locals came and helped – some just wanted photos with the blonde Aussies (the price of a photo was a piece of rubbish), but others just opened their eyes and saw what we were doing,” Mr. Abbott said.
“Sometimes a bit of external perspective can change what’s the norm.”

Ain’t that the truth. To get involved in Take Three for the Sea, head to If you’re interesting in joining the Maroubra Bodyboarders Club, you can find their page on Facebook.