Young surfers visit Jets

The Newcastle Jets were proud to host some very special, international visitors at the game against Sydney FC last weekend.

The Newcastle Jets were proud to host some very special, international visitors at the game against Sydney FC last weekend.

Five members of the Vanuatu high school surf team were in town to compete in Surfest, and were thrilled when they received tickets to attend the match.

The boys aged between 14 and 17, competed strongly in the Surfest competition, finishing seventh out of 64 high school teams. An impressive achievement considering they were surfing on either borrowed or second-hand boards.

The surfers were taken to the sideline to watch the Jets players warm-up before the match, and met with injured Jets player, Mitch Cooper, who also comes from Vanuatu.

“As football is the dominant sport in Vanuatu, it was a great privilege to watch the boys- faces as they entered the stadium and stood on the sidelines,” Stewart Free, whose family housed the boys and assisted with their travel, said.

“Meeting Mitch Cooper, who was born in Vanuatu, was a great surprise and his warmth and generosity of time meant a lot to the boys.”

Cooper was equally pleases to have met the young surfers from his country of birth.

“It was great to meet Camillo, Jeremy, Roger, Albert and Jun-Jun at the game today,” Cooper said.

“They did so well in their Surfest competition and represented Vanuatu fantastically.”

The trip of a lifetime to Australia for these young men was made possible by support from Jirsch Sutherland (a local accounting firm), the Free Family, Law Partners, The Kava Emporium, Billabong and Vancorp.

The boys were also presented with brand new boards from a local surfboard shaper after he gave them a tour of his factory. None of the boys had ever owned a new board and they were overwhelmed by this act of generosity.