Navy surfers take a break

This article has photo gallery Published on CAPT Taylor Lynch (author), PTE Nicole Dorrett (photographer)

Location(s): Werri Beach, NSW

Topic(s): Surfing

Lieutenant Frank Tachibana during the Navy Surfriders Association competition at Werri Beach, NSW. (photo: Private Nicole Dorrett)
Lieutenant Frank Tachibana during the Navy Surfriders Association competition at Werri Beach, NSW.

The Navy Surfriders Association held its September surfing event at Werri Beach in New South Wales, as part of its commitment to continue surfing and competing every month leading in to the national inter-service championships.

Conditions were sunny with high winds and a bit of swell, allowing the judges to select four winners who will work towards representing Navy in the Inter-Service surfing competition later this year.

Lieutenant Frank Tachibana, one of the winners on the day, sang the praises of the Navy Surfriders Association.

“It’s predominately a social club, but we do focus on competitive surfing as well.

“It’s a vehicle for likeminded people to get together, out of the office, and take part in a really healthy, fun activity, focusing on fitness, ocean knowledge, and being comfortable around the water,” Lieutenant Tachibana said.

Earlier this year, Lieutenant Tachibana spent nine months deployed in HMAS Ballarat as part of Operation MANITOU.

As a Navy pilot who flies MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, Lieutenant Tachibana said it was great to be able to unwind, catch some waves and experience different cultures with fellow Navy Surfrider shipmates while on leave during overseas port visits.

“I think it means the world to a lot of people.

“Everybody knows how stressful work can be at times, and when you’re working at a high tempo you don’t get a lot of time off, so when the time does become available to get together and go surfing - it’s a really special thing,” Lieutenant Tachibana said.

Vice President of the Navy Surfriders Association, Leading Seaman Aircrewman Dylan Skipsey said Navy members who are interested should get in contact with the association.

“It’s not so much about the skill level, but the desire to surf,” Leading Seaman Skipsey said.

“The more you practice, the better you get and there are always people around who can give beginners a few pointers, and experienced surfers a run for their money,” he said.

Navy’s surfing calendar is packed in the lead up to the 2020 Inter-Service Championships.

Along with monthly contests, there is the week-long High Performance Development Camp on the New South Wales north coast in October.

The annual Navy Surfing Carnival will run from 24-29 November in the Ulladulla region of the New South Wales south coast, including beginner surf clinics and four days of competition. 

At the carnival, selectors will be identifying talent for Navy teams for competitions in 2020.

The carnival is open to all Navy personnel, with beginners most welcome and coaching available at no extra cost.

Serving members who are interested in taking part in future events and joining the association can email

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Gallery: