Wearing a dress in the name of charity is what Greg Beazley is all about.
Every year on a Saturday or Sunday in October, local surfers gather at Bondi Beach with their frocks and go surfing to raise money and awareness to help girls in Sierra Leone, Africa gain access to education – a privilege few girls ever receive.
I sat down with this ‘heart of gold’ surfer to talk about how it all started.
Thara (T): What do you do outside the ‘Surfers in a dress’ campaign? Do you work with other charitable organisations?
Greg (G): I’m a marketing consultant, specialising in customer lifecycle management and marketing automation. I’ve been surfing since I was 16 and absolutely love it. It’s the perfect mix of exercise, fun, relaxation and mates. I don’t work with other charities (yet), but I am an avid supporter of Kiva.org. They’re a microfinance charity that offer small scale loans to people in third world countries, so they can start or grow their business.
T: How did you come across One Girl?
G: My good friend, David Dixon is the co-founder of One Girl. It was through his personal experiences and stories from Sierra Leone that struck a chord in me and I’ve been supporting the charity since the beginning.
T: What was the response to your first campaign in 2012?
G: It was surprisingly good, considering I only had less than 3 weeks to organise it. About 45 people attended and we raised $5000.
T: What do you think made it so successful?
G: I think because I had a number of friends who joined the team and helped raise the money fairly quickly. That’s really the key. Creating a tribe of like-minded people to work towards a common goal. In terms of attendance, I luckily had a large group from Let’s Go Surfing school in Bondi come along and make the event an instant success.
T: Are you planning on making the event bigger and better in years to come? Will there be any surprises in store this year that weren’t included last year?
G: That’s the plan. My vision is to make it a Bondi community event, where several local businesses around the area are proud supporters of it and representatives of each business take part in the challenge of wearing a school dress and coming down to have some fun (whether they surf or not). In terms of surprises this year, I’m trying my best to get some celebrities involved and wearing a dress on the day.
T: Do you think you will make it a nationwide event that could occur at different beaches around Australia?
G: I’ve already had some interest from other ambassadors of One Girl in Wollongong and Adelaide who also want to hold a Surfers In A Dress event in their area. Who knows, maybe Surfers In A Dress will become a franchise event around the country or even the world. That would be awesome to see. I think if Surfers In A Dress continues to build momentum and more people get involved and get behind the cause of helping girls gain access to education in Sierra Leone, then really, the sky’s the limit.
Photo credits: Jaydon Cabe Photography