When sustainability met surfing
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Matthew King bringing sustainable surf twist to traditional ECEC enrichment visits

by Freya Lucas

May 21, 2024

Magicians, bubble shows, petting zoos and drumming experiences are all common ways that early childhood education and care (ECEC) providers enrich the learning experiences of children. 


Coal miner turned stay-at-home dad Matthew King is bringing something new to ECEC settings in New South Wales, combining his fondness for surfing with his interest in sustainability. 


Mr King, the brains behind the Creative Kooks Project, is driven by his passion for building a community centred around both sustainability and creativity. 


“I found joy in rescuing surfboards from ending up in landfills and transforming them into unique pieces of art with the help of our community. This is how Creative Kooks was born.”


Initially Mr King shared this passion through a surf focused podcast, highlighting the stories of legendary surfers. This soon evolved into “something much more meaningful,” with Mr King making an e-book which aims to simplify surfboard and product reviews, stripping away the technical jargon and maneuvers, catering to the everyday surfer – affectionately called ‘kooks’.


Through his podcast he connected with SurfPaints owner Danny Smyth, where talk soon turned to what became of the surfboards at the end of their natural life, languishing in garages and sheds around the country. 


“There’s not much you can do with a surfboard once it’s broken, so I wanted to do something with them,” he explained. 


That ‘something’ is a unique workshop opportunity where Mr King uses SurfPaints products to support children and young people to “Ride the Wave of Sustainability” in a session which includes a land based learn to surf experience, incorporating yoga and balance work, a book reading, and painting old recycled surfboards.


At the conclusion of the session the collaborative artwork is the property of the service, to do with what they wish.


”It’s something a little bit different from your classic lizard show,” he said.


In keeping with his strong community connections, Mr King, a firm believer in salt water therapy, gives time to One Wave as a tribe leader for fortnightly meetups called Fluro Fridays at Seven Mile Beach in Gerroa.


“I volunteer my time to rock up at the same beach at the same time once a fortnight and give that outlet for people in the local community that might be having a bit of a hard time,” he said.


“We all just sit around and have a bit of a yarn, checking on each other to see how we’ve been doing. I find this non-clinical approach is pretty welcomed among the community.”


“We lend that ear for the people that might need it. After that, we jump in the water and go for a surf and wash it all away.”


Some of the comments in this piece came from an interview Mr King did with Region Illawarra. Find that interview here.


To learn more about Creative Kooks workshops please see here.  

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