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Shakira Westdorp

Catch her in action at this weekend's SUP state titles.

Coming off the back of an exceptional 2016, local lass Shakira Westdorp is keen to do it all again this year.

We chat with the World Champion ahead of this weekend’s SUP State Surfing Titles to find out what tricks she has up her sleeve.

How do you feel about competing in your hometown this weekend?

It’s nice to compete at home. We’re lucky to have good waves here and it’s great that friends and family can come and watch.

The event location has yet to be decided, are there any local waves you prefer to surf?

The Alley is always pretty good for a SUP but I have been surfing over the border a lot lately and finding some fun uncrowded waves.

How do you think you’ll go this weekend?

I’m hoping to have a win. That’s always the goal, but there are a few young girls that just keep getting better and better that are hungry for a win. You can’t afford to make many mistakes.

Last year you took out gold at the Fiji ISA World Championships, how is this year shaping up compared that?

Yeah last year was pretty special. Hard work finally paid off. This year has been a bit of a slow start. I took some time off the SUP after Fiji and have found it hard to get motivated to get back on it. I think the internal pressure of last year finally got to me. I’ve been back on the SUP the last couple of weeks now and slowly getting the fire back.

How did you get into SUP surfing and what do you love most about it?

Some friends made one after visiting Hawaii 10 or so years ago and we all took turns on it over summer and had a ball. It was a pretty heavy massive board (nothing like what we ride today) but we all just had so much fun and the passion just went from there. I love the challenge, you can go anywhere (surf, lake, rivers) its taken me all over the world and I’ve met some amazing people along the way.

What do you have on for the rest of the year?

I’m off to WA on Wednesday for a comp at Rottnest Island. The swell looks pretty solid at this stage. It’s an awesome event, probably my favorite of the year. ISA world titles in Denmark, then an event in New York, back home for the Aussie titles then off to the Canary Islands for the last event in December.

Your favourite piece of life advice? Never give up!

You’re not a Gold Coast local if you haven’t… Skydived onto Coolangatta Beach

Being a Gold Coast local we have to ask for your favourites…

Beach: Currumbin

Restaurant: Too many good ones. I love going to different ones all the time.

Bar: Balter Brewery

Coffee Shop: Metro coffee, Broadbeach


A first timers guide to 24 hours in Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise is the heart of the Gold Coast, loved by locals and a stark reminder of a youth well spent for locals.

If you’re short on time but still keen to experience the magic of this tourist hub, never fear; here’s a guide to spending 24 action packed hours in Surfers Paradise.

Early morning: Rise with the sun for a walk along one of Australia’s most famous beaches. It’s the quietest time of day in Surfers but the active wear will be out in full force. A magnificent sunrise will ignite you for the day ahead.

Breakfast: Sandbar on the Esplanade has long been a visitor’s favourite and with a recent renovation, it’s now a favourite with the locals too. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy your first coffee of the day, a smoothie bowl or an omelette with a side of lamb sausage (Aussie, Aussie, Aussie) while overlooking the beach.
Where: 52 The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise (on the corner of Elkhorn Avenue)

Mid-morning: After letting your breakfast settle, relax with a Surfers Paradise River Cruise. The cruise travels through the waterways at a leisurely pace while the Captain points out interesting sights and celebrity homes along the way. Morning tea is served and can be enjoyed on the sunlit deck overlooking the skyline.
Where: 63 Cavill Ave, Surfers Paradise (next to the Tiki statue)

Lunch: You’ll be famished after a morning on the water so head down to Betty’s Burgers & Concrete Co. for a mouth-watering burger and their famous concrete desserts. You’ll be hard pressed to stop eating but don’t forget you’ve got an afternoon of activities ahead!
Where: Chevron Renaissance12-14/3240 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise

Early afternoon: Surfers Paradise has a huge variety of shops to wander through from high end to highly touristy. You could easily lose hours (and dollars) in Cavill Mall alone.

If you’re keen for more activities there’s also Timezone, Infinity – a mind-blowing maze adventure, the Wax Museum – where you’ll come face to face with Johnny Depp, Kylie Minogue and the Dalai Lama and Ripley’s Believe it or Not Odditorium – offering 16 themed galleries filled with unbelievable artefacts and interactive exhibits. Perhaps a spot of mini golf at King Tutt’s Putt Putt.

King Tutts Putt Putt (image supplied)
King Tutts Putt Putt (image supplied)

Late afternoon: Get a birds eye view of the Gold Coast from 240 metres in the air at SkyPoint Observation Deck. Relax and enjoy afternoon tea (or a sneaky cocktail) while marveling at 360 degree views of the Coast from the ocean to the hinterland. Hot tip: Head up just before sunset to see the dazzling lights of Surfers come on.
Where: Q1, 9 Hamilton Ave, Surfers Paradise

Dinner: After a long day of activities, you’ll appreciate a relaxed dinner. Take a stroll across the bridge to the little village community of Chevron Island. Treat yourself to a takeaway pizza from Arlo’s Pizzeria and perch yourself in the park overlooking the Broadwater.
Where: Shop 2, 46-50 Thomas Drive, Chevron Island

After dinner: For a sweet treat don’t miss grabbing a gelato from local favourite Yum Gelato before you hit the hay or, if you’re a night owl and you’ve come to see the Surfers Paradise spectacle that is Orchid Avenue, dance the night away in one of the many bars located in and around Surfers Paradise.

Start at the local’s favourite Melba’s for drink in this open air bar before wandering up to the newly renovated The Avenue for a stint of live music. As every good bar crawl progresses, you can’t miss the Gold Coast’s super club Shooters. Have a bit of a jive at locally-loved  bar Elsewhere (with a colour changing disco dance floor), before settling in at late night venue The Bedroom before calling it a night (or an early morning if you gave it a good go).

Don’t forget your kebab on the way home, hold the onion.

So there you have it, one of many ways to spend 24 hours in Surfers Paradise. Keep an eye out for more plus Inside Gold Coast’s ongoing suburb spotlights.

Words by Kirra Smith.

14 reasons locals love Kirra

Champagne Pina Colada, Kirra Beach House, Kirra (image supplied)
Champagne Pina Colada, Kirra Beach House, Kirra (image supplied)

Nestled between Bilinga and Coolangatta, Kirra may be small but she is also mighty.

Best known for a pumping, world-renowned surf break and ever-present chill vibes, there’s so much more to Kirra than just waves and a pristine stretch of sand (although that’s motivation enough for us).

Here are 14 reasons Kirra locals ain’t budging for love nor money, and why the wider GC community can’t get enough of this thriving yet mellow footwear-optional ‘burb.

Billy Chow, Kirra (image by Pandanus Lane)
Billy Chow, Kirra (image by Pandanus Lane)

Billy Chow
When news spread that Kirra was scoring the new sister to Nobby Beach cult fave Ally Chow, involuntary salivation immediately ensued. One of the more recent additions to the eats scene of this beach-blessed suburb, Billy Chow is already beloved and absolutely no one is surprised by this development. Serving up share style all-day feasts, it’s one of those spots that’s got everything going for it – incredible pan-Asian eats, stellar sips, a swoon-worthy fit out and a ripper beachfront vantage. All of which make it an especially swell long (looong) lunch spot, if you ask us.
Where: 76 Musgrave Street, Kirra

Kirra Beach House, Kirra (image supplied)
Kirra Beach House, Kirra (image supplied)

Kirra Beach House
Making waves for all the right reasons – the hotly-anticipated arrival of Marine Parade’s sprawling new dining addition, Kirra Beach House, redefined the southern eats and sips game. The handiwork of local hospo gun, Dave Galvin, which speaks to the caliber in and of itself – but just wait till we get to the three seperate bars, insta-worthy interiors, cabana-studded wraparound terrace, and panoramic ocean views from all angles! We’d be remiss not to also mention the Mediterranean-style grazing and crafted cocktails. Perfect 10’s all round.
Where: Level 1, 2 Marine Parade, Coolangatta

MADE Barber & Barista, Kirra (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)
MADE Barber & Barista, Kirra (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)

No longer coasting by on the merits of its stellar beaches alone, Kirra’s really been stepping things up on the foodie front of late. Just one of the hip new haunts we can thank KTQ Group’s multi-million dollar beachfront transformation for, Made is the second endeavour for Tugun’s MADE Barber & Barista founders Josh Blair & Britt Westcott. A slick, industrial style space bringing gourmet toasties, cafe treats and tight trims to Kirra’s esplanade, beach trips just got a little more productive and whole lot tastier.
Where: Corner of Musgrave & Miles St, Kirra

Kirra Beach Hotel (image supplied)
Kirra Beach Hotel (image supplied)

Kirra Beach Hotel
Back and looking better than ever after a hefty zhuzh up, a fresh look for Marine Parade’s stalwart watering hole is yet another slam dunk we owe to the mammoth Kirra Point Project development. Still the same no-fuss favourite at heart, now nestled one level beneath the slightly posher Kirra Beach House. If you’re in the mood for casual chews and brews, this place will happily hook you up with a cheeky pint and parmi – and some pretty spectacular views, of course.
Where: 2 Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Homewares, Cotton Living (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Homewares, Cotton Living (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

Cotton Living
Who doesn’t love a luxurious homewares store that’s also a patisserie café, and the answer is a unanimous NOBODY. In its beautiful new location, Cotton Living showcases stunning handmade furniture and timeless accessories to make every room in your abode sing. Everything is Insta-worthy with a focus on natural colours and textures, plus you can grab a croissant with your cushion and #WhatsNotToLove. This luxurious space right by the beach is family-owned and the obvs choice for your next coffee date with the gals.
Where: 1 Lord Street, Coolangatta

Native State, Kirra (image supplied)
Native State, Kirra (image supplied)

Native State
A boutique gym and European-style bathhouse, Kirra’s self care prospects have never looked better since Native State swanned into town back in 2023. An all-in-one wellness destination, whether you’re craving an invigorating ice bath, or a sweat-sesh in the state-of-the-art studio or infrared sauna; you can choose your own adventure with casual sessions, classes and memberships available. No matter what your dream workout looks like, reward your efforts with a bliss out with soak in the bathhouse to finish… be warned though, you might never want to leave.
Where: 3/2 Creek Street, Coolangatta

Siblings Kirra (image supplied)
Siblings Kirra (image supplied)

Another of Kirra’s panoramically blessed haunts (anybody sensing a theme here?) Siblings revived the heritage listed beachside Kirra Pavilion which was once but a humble Pizza Hut. And lbh, it’s hard to feel sad about farewelling our childhood icon when the replacement comes bearing gifts this good. Founded by local restaurateur royalty Jarrod Kyle and TJ Cianci, Siblings is a modern Australian brunch and dinner showstopper, dripping with 1950’s Miami beach vibes goodness. The menu is infused with fresh seafood and share-plates a-plenty and don’t even get us started on the cocktails, because this place takes their sips seriously! You haven’t lived till you’ve been.
Where: 15 Marine Parade, Kirra

Kirra Shelter Shed, Kirra Beach (image supplied)
Kirra Shelter Shed, Kirra Beach (image supplied)

Kirra Beach Pavilion
While driving around the headland, you may have noticed the cute little shelter overlooking the ocean. It’s a great place to hide from the scorching sun, and has certainly seen a lot over its lifetime – more than a century to be precise. Early photos of Kirra Beach show the shelter in place by around 1916 and we love ourselves some GC history. The Kirra Shelter Shed makes for a great viewing platform and is the perfect spot to watch whales frolic out in the big blue.

Kirra Surf
Speaking of institutions, Kirra Surf is a must-visit when cruising into this salt-kissed suburb. Whether you’re in the market for some new threads, a new board or you’re a total surfing rookie just looking to get started, these guys will hook you up. Their range of surfing apparel, products and know-how is unrivalled, the staff are super friendly, and there’s always at least (twenty)two things you’ll want to take home with you. 10/10 beach rats agree, this place is one of the best.
Where: 6/8 Creek Street, Kirra 

Hibachi Chicken Achiote & De Lechon (Pork) taco's, Agave Rosa (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Hibachi Chicken Achiote & De Lechon (Pork) taco's, Agave Rosa (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Agave Rosa
A taqueria that does mexi eats, but not as you might expect, Agave Rosa is Kirra’s casa of modern Mexican fusion. The only thing more vibrant than the telltale hot pink interior is fresh and zesty eats this place is churning out on the reg. From the brilliant mind that brought us Project Tokyo, imagine a menu where your favourite Mexi flavours are melded with bold Japanese influences. The result is inventive and tantalising creations like Chipotle Hibachi Chicken Tacos and pico de gallo drizzled Tuna Tataki – just add in a round of Classic margaritas (because sometimes you can’t improve perfection) and you’ve got yourself a tastebud party.
Where: 74 Musgrave Street, Coolangatta

People watching the waves at Kirra Beach (image courtesy of Destination Gold Coast)
People watching the waves at Kirra Beach (image courtesy of Destination Gold Coast)

Kirra Beach Bakery
One of the best barometers of a town is its local bakery – and no visit is complete without a trip to Kirra Beach Bakery. Serving quintessential Aussie bakery fare at its finest – if it’s been a while between cheeky nostalgic treats (think Jam and cream donuts and Custard slice) this place will have you reevaluating your priorities.  Whether you’re in need (need being the operative word, here) of a post-surf pie, sausage roll, quiche or pastie, a healthy salad sando or sweet treat (don’t judge) for the road, Kirra Beach Bakery is the place. Get down there early in the morning for fresh-out-of-the-oven bread and enjoy a slice or two with the local ‘gulls while watching the sunrise. Good stuff.
Where: 11/48 Musgrave St, Kirra 

Tofu Poké Bowl, HiPoke (image supplied)
Tofu Poké Bowl, HiPoke (image supplied)

A dish originating in Hawaii, the poke bowl phenomenon is here to stay. Made of colourful salad and protein combinations artfully arranged in bowls almost too pretty to eat (almost). For our pick of the signature bowls, the Salmon Sashimi always slaps – as does the Karaage Chicken made with edamame, carrot, corn, sweet chilli mayo and lotus root chips. Satisfying and healthy, the entire menu is preservative free and all seafood is sustainably sourced. It’d be rude not to try them all.
Where: 18/48 Musgrave Street, Kirra

Bike riders at Kirra (image courtesy of Destination Gold Coast)
Bike riders at Kirra (image courtesy of Destination Gold Coast)

Kirra Surf Life Saving Club
We can always count on surf clubs to bring great vibes and an even better location, and this is one of the best (shh, don’t tell the others). Just footsteps from the sand, this old boy has been around longer than you (est. 1916) and is a firm fave amongst all Gold Coasters. It’s the perfect family-friendly spot for dinner with your brood, or a sundowner or two overlooking the ocean. Perch up on the deck and let that balmy sea breeze take you to your happiest place.
Where: 15 Marine Parade, Kirra 

Kirra Hill Lookout
If by this stage you’re suitably fed and watered (read: bursting at the seams) the only thing left to do is drink in the world-famous Kirra beach in all its glory! Trek to the top of the headland and prepare to be wowed by views from Main Beach to Snapper Rocks and everywhere in between. If you wanna make a day of it, pack a picnic or fire up the barbie (you’ve earned it after that walk) – and thank your lucky stars you get to live in the best place on Earth. No bias, just #facts.
Where: It’s on the big hill, you won’t miss it!

Words by Bianca Trathen & Kellie Leader

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