A Sunshine Coast charity dedicated to the memory of a popular surfer is marking a major milestone in its mission to establish a permanent home.
SalTy Souls Legacy has been putting vulnerable and disengaged Sunshine Coast children aged five to 17 through surfing programs since 2018.
The charity was formed to honour Moffat Beach surfer Tyler Kennedy, who tragically died while on a surf trip in Bali in 2017.
After months of fundraising, planning and community generosity, council approval has now been granted to establish the headquarters in Maroochydore.
Charity founder and the sister of Tyler, Tamara Smith, says this will make a world of difference to the children.
“We are at that stage now where SalTys need its own space,” she says.
“Our garage at home has been turned into a storage space and we have a container we are renting that is out at Nambour. Whenever one of our kids from the program needs to change over a board or we need more, it’s a matter of driving out there.
“At any one time we have up to 120 boards in storage. We have to have different boards to match them to the children’s size and skill level.”
The new headquarters will be next to Thrive Youth Hub on Aerodrome Road after the space was generously offered to SalTy Souls.
“To have SalTys flashed out on Aerodrome Road loud and proud, it’s amazing for us to get our cause out there,” Ms Smith says.
The Rotary Club of Alexandra Headland has been integral in this space becoming a realty, donating the proceeds from its Winter Solstice Swim in 2021 to
“We are so grateful that Rotary saw our desperate needs,” Ms Smith says. “We were struggling with the reality that we would have to raise $30,000 ourselves to go towards this and that [money] was not actually going to be able to go to the kids.”
Two shipping containers have also been donated. These will be transformed into the hub. “One will be a fully decked- out surfboard storage space that will open into a workshop space. The second container will be an office space and pop-up shop for our charity merch.”
Work is anticipated to begin on transforming the containers in the next month, but Ms Smith is hoping the generosity of the community will continue and is calling on those who can to help with the internal fit-out.
“What we are needing from the community now is support. If any tradies can help with donating items or services for our fit-out – it’s all of all the little things.”
SalTy Souls’ fully funded surf therapy programs run for six weeks and each child is gifted a repurposed surfboard and beach starter kit so they can continue surfing.
To help or donate to SalTy Souls Legacy visit saltysoulslegacy.org.