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As early as the late 60’s there had been some interest in a Christian surfing group. Avalon’s John Hirt has to be credited with the first `Christian Boardriders’ club which ran for many years and no longer exists. The current movement of “Christian Surfers Australia” had their beginnings as early as 1976, the majority of groups since 1980. Each of these had sprung up out of an individual or group’s vision for reaching their local beaches and sense of God’s prompting and provision.
In 1983 the first National Conference was held for the purpose of bringing the existing 6 groups together and to explore the possibilities of working together as a national movement. The conference proved to have God’s blessing. We agreed to partner together despite lots of differences. We formed a national body `Christian Surfers Australia’ and agreed on a logo and a vision to reach surfers throughout Australia. The 1984 National Conference had 12 groups present and saw “Christian Surfers Australia” set apart a full time National Co-ordinator (Brett Davis). It also resulted in a stronger commitment to the national movement and real breakthroughs in agreeing on the gospel of salvation and outreach as our core values with other doctrinal differences left to our respective churches. Each progressive year has further built the ministry. 1985 the production of a 16mm film `Between the Lines’, 1986 a `Charity Contest’ funding an orphanage in Bali, the release of the Training Strategy, 1987 the new N.C. was Melbourne’s Peter Leonard, 1987 the establishment of Regional Co-ordinators, 1988 the forming of a National Executive, and in 1989 we had 20 groups.
In 1990 Brett and Gillian Davis returned as N.C. and the head office moved to Thirroul Baptist church. Further partnering with the local church was a trend. The Grommet Guide to God was a partnership for a gospel tool with Bible Society in 1993 with the sequel, the Grommet Guide to Growth in 1997. CSA was also formally affiliated with NAYM and sought to find its role with the other youth missions of Australia, gleaning much helpful advice.
Australia and its sister organisation in New Zealand took the initiative to network similar ministries world wide and organised the first international conference in 1993. We partnered with YWAM’s Surfers For Mission International and other C.S. style ministries to form a network called ‘Surf Ministries International’ that had a biannual conference, a biannual newsletter and loose management board.
A more serious focus in 1995 saw us sensing God’s call to ‘Grow Up’ and see ourselves an adult ministry and not hide behind our adolescence. We began to see God call people to part and full time service in C.S.A. and a staff strategy was formed. We restructured CSA as an incorporated association and set up a structure for legal and financial integrity and accountability. A new Board of Directors was appointed with a structure of pastoral boards to support staff and R.C.’s. We appointed surfing’s first chaplain in Jay Pinkster in 1998.
In January of 1998 at the 3rd international conference Brett Davis was called upon to step up to form an international mission organisation, Christian Surfers International, and announced his intention to step up to an International Co-ordinators role. By the end of 1998 we saw a great turnover of our RC’s where they became part time or full time positions. A part time national administrator was appointed.
Brett Davis and his family toured the world in 1999 and transitioned into the international leadership in 2000 with Andrew Carruthers as his successor for CSA national director. Today, Christian Surfers is reaching into surfing communities all around the world.