2016 has been a year of ups and downs... high points and some low points. A year of change and a year that change was thrust upon me. 

Here is a bit of a brief summary for those who are interested.

Big Bang...

January 2016 started with a few great swells and one exceptional one. Mooloolaba and Caloundra Bar were my shooting preference as well as Pt Cartwright. Shooting photo's is a great hobby and an easy way to serve the surfing community and the surfers I connect with on the tour.

Caloundra Bar 23 Jan
ISO 800 600MM f8.0 1/400sec

Mooloolaba Sunshine Coast Jan 02

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Standing Tall Caloundra Bar… 23 Jan 

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Get Away



February after the madness of Christmas holidays is the time to escape up the beach. It will be uncrowded they said… 

Feb is a notoriously humid month and it's so nice to escape the heat and crowds. Well that's what Pete and I thought we were doing?

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Shh its a secret
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Pete Allen guitar surfing…
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Beauty is everywhere... I captured this distant storm lighting up the night sky Feb 01 7:56pm    ISO 800 10mm f5.0 34.0 sec



Nick Farago Noosa Festival of Surfing... 

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March is the busy season for local contests. The Noosa Festival of Surfing. Held at First Point Noosa Heads. (10 mins from home)  Then the Australian Longboard Surfing Open at Kingscliff NSW. Just south of the Gold Coast (3hrs from home).

Noosa Festival is independent and doesn't recognise me as the event chaplain; though I have been serving there for over a decade. The surfers and families however don't have this distinction so I am able to assist where I am able with encouraging words, prayers and presence, as well as photography. Nic Jones and Jack Entwistle (pro Longboarders) had organised a group to do some tourism shots, so I was along for the ride. 

These contests attract surfers from all over the globe and it's easy to have a global presence from a local position.

The ALSO is a WSL Longboard Qualifier and the event organiser Sean is always super supportive of the chaplaincy service. I bless and open the contest in prayer as well as perform a memorial for any surfers who have passed away. Here I am able to have presence and serve via photography as well.  

This month included the Global chaplains gathering. Each year we try to connect together on the Gold Coast. I was blessed to have Nic Jones and Rachel Tilly come along and share their experiences of my chaplaincy and describe life on the Longboard tour to all.


It was great to hang out, have some fun and be a tourist with a camera alongside some of the pro surfers…. 

Dane Pioli @ Australian Longboard Surfing Open Kingscliff NSW Mar 27   ISO 400 600mm f8.0 1/400 sec


For most surfers, surfing is a spiritual experience with the surf and nature being our church. We have been fortunate over the years to have had some direction within this experience by Andrew Carruthers, the ASP Longboard Chaplin. Andrew has been an important part of our event at Kingscliff over the last six years, offering support to the organisers, the competitors and to the spectators. We value Andrews involvement in the Australian Longboard Surfing Open and indeed with the work that he does within our community in general.

Sean McKeown
Event Director
Australian Longboard Surfing Open

Dawn Mooloolaba ISO 400 50mm f1.8 1/1250sec

Home base


After the business of contests and Easter it was great to spend the month just hanging around home. Doing all of the usual things leading and teaching at SALTcommunity the church plant and connecting with the local surfing community.

Noosa main beach 25 April 4:34 pm    ISO 400 14mm f10 1/200sec



Hand Brake

May 01... saw a handbrake pulled in my life. I had had pain in my chest for 3 days that I ignored. I went to church and preached that Sunday, had a meeting afterwards all whilst experiencing a fair amount of pain. I dismissed it as indigestion. Jen insisted we go to the hospital. Just as well I had and was suffering a heart attack. 2 blockages in arteries and some damage to the heart muscle. I had a stent inserted. This took me out of action from everything for quite a while. I'm still recovering.

I was overwhelmed by the support, love and concern extended to me by many friends and surfers. Thank you all.

During my recovery Jen and I attended the Christian Surfers International conference in Wollongong.  

Inching forward


Basics and small steps

I was slowly recovering but had definitely come close to death. I began shooting to stay engaged only managing a few days during an excellent swell. Then on June 20 late in the afternoon I ventured into the water near our home for a short swim with the camera again...

Wurtulla 4:29pm 6June 

ISO 400 600mm f7.1 1/320sec

Josh Constable Wurtulla 7 June 3:03pm 

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5 June saw the biggest swell in decades on the east coast caused by a weather bomb and east coast low.

Pt Cartwright 5 June 2016 2:37pm ISO 800 150mm f10 1/1000sec

Once more into the fray



July…  The Whalebone is the final contest in the WSL Australasia longboard qualifying circuit. Here the fate of pro longboarders is decided. Will they do enough to get to the world titles to compete or must they try again another year. I felt it was very important to be there and the event organisers are always so encouraging. Again I opened the contest in prayer and was present and prayerful. Being supportive and a good listening ear is important and valuable to the competitors and organisers alike.

I was limited by my reduced health but able to engage well in many ways.




August is a big month in the Carruthers household Jen, Nathan and Kaitlyn all have birthdays. This year we celebrated Kaitlyn's 25th with family and friends… 

Feeling reflective 


Serenity in the south...


We took some time out to retreat and reflect on my health and our future direction. We headed to Ulladulla. I have been applying for senior pastor roles lately as I need secure financial foundations to reduce stress and anxiety. I will move on from planting and pastoring SALTCommunity after 7.5 years. We have also been thinking of slowing down and stepping into more of a mentoring role within Surf Chaplaincy. Maybe concentrating on the Longboard CT and handing the longboard QS to others.  

Ulladulla is a favourite place of mine, the cold water and amazing coastline are a visual delight.

ISO 400 50mm f11 1/1000sec



Dawn swims with the camera are still a great delight and escape for me. This is at the beach infront of our house. 

Beauty in unexpected places 

Half Century


The old man...

Like a bride late to the wedding I almost didn't make it to 50. I'm thankful and blessed to have life in my veins and air in my lungs. Family and friends seem all the more precious.

We celebrated back in the ancestral homeland of Byron Bay.

I love the water clarity in Byron Bay and Kaitlyn loves to model.

ISO 400 11mm f13 1/400sec

Reflective thoughts

ISO 400 11mm f13 1/400sec

mmm Birthday cake Black Forest my Fav

Took part in MOvember.. it didn't stay on...

definitely a year to reflect on things... 



Back to China for the WSL World Longboard Championships in Hainan Island..

We are grateful to have you at all events , it is comforting to know there is a man of God at these events to be there for all the competitors. Laurie was telling me at last year's Noosa event when Rachael was dealing with her joint pains, that you were there praying with the two of them. I can't tell you enough how grateful I am for you to pray over her. You helped bring her that comfort she needed as well as asked God to heal her. I wish I could be at all events with her, but it is nice to know you are there.

If there is anything we can do as a family to reach out to WSL , just say the word and we will do so.
Sincerely ,
Glen, Laurie and Rachael Tilly

True Champions. 

As I fly into China for the World Longboard titles many things are happening at Home Jen's mum is terminally sick and SALTcommunity the church I planted 7.5 years ago will run its last meeting; it finishes up in Dec. So its with mixed emotions I serve in China.

It's such a privilege to serve as chaplain and be a friend to so many at the World Longboard Titles. I try to remind each surfer that 20 mins of surfing does not define them. Win or lose those are just rewards for a short period of time in the ocean. We are defined by who we are, our character and more importantly by where our worth lies. Does it lie in what you do, how you can achieve or is it in who you are made to be? A child of God valued and precious in his eyes made to reflect his glory. 

It was a privilege to also serve alongside Shannon. She returned this year as a commentator. It's just so good to have another supportive servant who gets what chaplaincy is and lives it out in her role.


Last year, I was able to experience first-hand the benefit and blessing of having a surf Chaplain present during a contest. During the Taiwan Open of Surfing, when I was knocked out in round-one, I was pretty bummed. Having Andy there, as I came out of the water to assure me that a 20min heat was not a true reflection of my surfing ability, but even more important to remind me that surfing does not define me, that I am valued, loved and beautiful despite the results of that contest, meant more that I can express.
It is rare to find someone in the contest environment whose sole purpose is to pour love and encouragement on surfers, as well as to give coaching tips, and add a lot of laughs along the way!
I believe it is crucial to the wellbeing of an athlete to have a Chaplain present at events. Surf contests, and surfing communities would be lacking a crucial aspect if Chaplains were not present. 

Shannon Brooke Bolotin 

While I was in China Jens mum Helen passed away. I rushed home to support. Helen was an amazing woman who knew and loved Jesus. She is sadly missed by all.

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