Olympic surf team officially named

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With the 2021 Tokyo Olympics fast approaching, the Australian Surfing Team was officially named last week with the moniker – ‘The Irukandjis: Deadly in the Water’ unveiled at an event in Manly. Surfing will make its debut at the upcoming Olympics with Coolum local and pro surfer Julian Wilson set to compete in the men’s competition in Japan. The Olympics which were originally scheduled for 2020 were postponed due to COVID and the surfing team is eager to show the rest of the world just how dominant Australia is in the sport. We hope that all of Coolum will be cheering on our “deadly” team come late July. Pictured is the surfing team – Matt Formston, Shakira Westdorp, Stephanie Gilmore, Julian Wilson, Sally Fitzgibbons and Harley Ingleby in their official uniform. Photo: Contributed 

In a historic moment for Australian Surfing, a new team name and identity was unveiled last week in Manly for Australia’s national surf team. The much-anticipated new namesake and tagline was revealed to be ‘The Irukandjis: Deadly in the Water’, after the Irukandji jellyfish – an extremely venomous species of jellyfish that inhabit Australian marine waters.

Surfing Australia CEO Chris Mater said that the little jellyfish pack a serious punch which is just like our surfers.

For the first time, Australian representatives across all surfing genres, including Junior, Open, Masters, Olympic, Longboard, Big Wave, Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) and Adaptive disciplines, will compete under The Irukandjis national identity and united colours at international events such as the Olympics, International Surfing Association (ISA), World Surfing Games, WSL World Juniors and Longboard Championships. 

Led by Stephanie Gilmore, the Australian Olympic surf team collaborated on the name and unanimously agreed on The Irukandjis, noting their commitment to be ‘deadly in the water’. 

Seven-time World Surf League (WSL) World Champion and Australian Olympic team member, Stephanie Gilmore said that she wanted to find an awesome name and one that incorporated Indigenous culture.

“Irukandji perfectly suits our team as we try our best to be ‘deadly in the water’ against our rivals at the Tokyo Olympics.” 

The Irukandjis name was generously gifted to Surfing Australia by the local Yirrganydji people of North Queensland, driven by the efforts of Indigenous athlete and former World Tour surfer, Soli Bailey. 

Senior Ranger Brian Singleton from the Yirrganydji Land and Sea Program said that the Irukandji jellyfish was named after the Yirrganydji people.

“They were believed to be extinct but they aren’t and the Yirrganydji supports ‘The Irukandjis’ Australian Surf Team as they take on the world.” 

The team branding and uniforms were developed in collaboration with BWM Dentsu and Indigenous artist Jasmine Craciun, who derived inspiration from her ancestors, the Barkindji people.

The organic shapes on the uniform represent fluid movement within the water and emulate light hitting the ocean when viewed from below. With The Irukandjis representing Australia on the world stage, the incorporation of Australia’s national green and gold colour palate is a dominant factor in the design.

Chairperson for Surfing Australia and seven-time world champion, Layne Beachley said that the Australian name and identity are powerful forces.

“As surfing enters the Olympics for the first time and enjoys incredible popularity worldwide, it was time to give our Australian team an identity that we can all rally behind.

“The Irukandji’s sting in the water is ferocious and that is how our Australian surfers approach competition.”

Coolum local Julian Wilson at the official naming announcement of the Australian Surfing Team for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Photo: Contributed

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