In 2017, Perth Anaesthetist and Director of Utopian Cosmetics Dr. Dennis spent three months as a medical volunteer to train the next generation of Anaesthetists in the Pacific region. Dennis’s role as the Regional Pacific Anaesthetic Fellow was based in Suva, Fiji from May to August 2017.
As a skilled surfer himself, it was only natural for Dennis to become involved in the local surfing community during his placement in Fiji. He spent a lot of time mentoring, and consequently arranging Utopian Cosmetics as a sponsor of the Fijian Junior Surf Team.
On Saturday 29 July 2017, Utopian Cosmetics was the major sponsor of the Suva Reef Lighthouse Challenge surf competition. Dr. Dennis competed himself and then presented winning boards to 3 juniors who travelled to Japan for the ISA World Junior Titles in September.
Having an opportunity to surf professionally gives these children a great advantage in life, (in Fiji the minimum wage is $2.85FJD per hour – about $1.90 AU per hour). Coming from humble backgrounds meant the kids were surfing on old boards making it difficult for them to be competitive in their favorite sport, so Dr. Dennis was delighted to present them with new crafts.
“Surfing gives these kids a chance to financially support their families should they gain greater sponsorship and make it to the professional level,” says Dr. Dennis.
On the 27th of September the Fiji Junior Surf team travelled across the globe to compete in the ISA World Junior Titles in Hyuga, Japan. Apisai Tibinaliva and Kalani Wakeham were both in the under 16 boys division and earned our team 108 points each for Fiji by placing 3rd in their last heat.
One of the youngest competitors Kiesha Wakeham made it through to her second round heat with some impressive manoeuvres. In her last heat, conditions proved tough for all especially our small Kiesha and she battled to the end scoring her best wave on the siren and earned 280 points for Fiji.
In an incredibly high standard of surfing, our three junior surfers did Fiji proud with their performance. The three surfers lifted their own personal skill levels and showed incredible determination to the end. The team returned to their very proud supporters in Nadi on 4th October 2017.
The South Pacific and surfing are both a great passions of Dr. Dennis making this sponsorship very close to his heart. He is also an avid surfer and founding member and secretary to the group “Surfing Doctors”, a not-for-profit organisation aimed at providing emergency relief and educating other doctors in the field of Remote Emergency Aquatic Medicine.
The group also dedicates itself to raising funds to help developing communities in places such as Java and the Solomon Islands with the provision of medical supplies and the establishment of medical centres to service local communities. Learn more at http://www.surfingdoctors.com.
We wish the junior surf team all the best and will continue to follow their journeys into the future. Learn more at http://www.surfingfiji.com.fj