by Mitchell Crawley
THE HEADQUARTERS of Surfing Australia's Hurley High Performance Centre is set for a $5.63 million expansion with a major announcement expected later this month.
Andrew Stark, Surfing Australia's chief executive officer, was tight-lipped on details but said the project would be a huge boost for local surfers and wave riding groups.
"What I can say is Surfing Australia is expanding the High Performance Centre, which will result in a much broader footprint so we can service more athletes, more recreational surfers and do more community programs,” Stark said.
"We actually do quite a lot with local boardrider clubs and community groups already, so with a much larger facility we'll be able to do more.”
Government investment, part of which was announced last week, will make the expansion possible.
Stark acknowledged the show of government confidence was an indication the centre was "exceeding expectations”.
"It's been incredibly successful,” he said.
"It's certainly exceeded our expectations.
"(Surfers) are also going to the Olympics, so Japan 2020 is the first Olympic Games to have surfing, and that building will be the home of an Olympic surfing training facility.”
Stark issued a coy "no comment” when it was suggested the centre could eventually include a Kelly Slater Wave Company wave pool, but he said expansion would take into account what was best for surfers and the Tweed.
NSW Nationals Senator John Williams announced the $2.53 million boost for Surfing Australia last week.
He said it would go towards the $5.63 million total cost to expand the multi-purpose surfing centre in Casuarina, which he suggested would create economic and social benefits for the Tweed.
The $4 million high performance centre, a world-first facility dedicated to the development of elite surfers and coaches, opened in 2012.
Designed in consultation with the Australian Institute of Sport, it includes a surf-specific gym, auditorium, offices, testing and treatment room and accommodation for 16.