This week in Manly, John O’Neill, Komosion’s Executive Chairman and Chairman of Surfing NSW, told an audience of business leaders surfing’s entry into the Olympic Games coupled with the “amazing innovation” of Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch herald a new era for the surf economy.

Speaking at the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro Business Leaders Breakfast attended by the two most successful surfers of all time, Kelly Slater (11-times World Champion) and Australia’s own Mark Richards (four-times World Champion), Mr O’Neill said great opportunity for those involved in the sport lay way beyond a pathway to the podium.

“As surfers ourselves – and as organisers of the sport of surfing in Sydney and Australia – we are hugely excited about the opportunities ahead,” Mr O’Neill told an audience of 200 people attending a breakfast co-hosted by Surfing NSW and the NSW Business Chamber at the event’s beachside VIP marquee.

“We see an opportunity to grow the surf economy so that people who love the surf lifestyle and want to associate with it can secure jobs and earn money while pursuing their passion … and not just in our cities.”

There are an estimated 2.5 million recreational surfers in Australia, 107 surf schools and 2,292 accredited surfing coaches nationally. Over 1 in 10 Australians surf as a recreational activity.

Mr O’Neill said the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro event this week employed more than 100 people in a vast array of roles including webcasting, judging, physiotherapy, security, marketing, photography, surfboard shaping, videography, drone operations, sponsorship, government, media and community relations, and a myriad other event operations roles.

Surfing will be competed for the first time in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games and has been nominated for inclusion again in France in 2024.

For more information on Vissla Sydney Surf Pro 2019 visit