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Shakira Westdorp

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

Best known for a pumping, world-renowned surf break and ever-present chill vibes, Kirra is the unassuming seaside village within our swiftly expanding city.

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

Warning: the word Kirra may be slightly overused within this article.

Here’s a list.

St Helens Bar + Kitchen
The newest of the bunch is St Helens, a laidback eatery from which you can feel the ocean breeze on your face while enjoying fresh, seasonal eats made from local ingredients. The family owned business has quickly become a firm favourite due to their welcoming, good vibes, quality and affordable menu and of course, the perfect location. Head in there for a delicious feast.
Where: Shop 2, 78 Musgrave St, Kirra

Kirramisu
Famous for an overflowing dessert cabinet including, you guessed it, tasty tiramisu, this little gem has become an institution in the beachside suburb. Not only loved for their clever name, Kirramisu serve up a bangin’ breakfast and lunch menu, fresh juices and smoothies and all with a side of sparkling ocean views. It’s the little place with the big soul.
Where: 2/28 Musgrave St, Kirra 

Kirra Surf
Speaking of institutions, Kirra Surf is a must-visit when cruising into the footwear-optional suburb. Their range of surfing products and apparel is unrivalled, the staff are super friendly and there’s always at least two things you’ll want to take home with you. Pop in for a visit and marvel at the larger-than-life posters of your fave good-looking surfer boys.
Where: 8 Creek St, Kirra 

Baskk at Kirra Point
Right on the cusp of the Coolangatta and Kirra border is baskk at Kirra Point. Also a bit of a newbie, baskk is bringing cruisy, lounge bar vibes to the already rather chill suburb. Serving a range of tasty tapas and some absolutely stunning cocktails (there’s flowers in the ice cubes guys), it’s the place to be for long lunches that turn into decadent dinners.
Where: Shop 2, Beach House Plaza, 52-58 Marine Pde, Coolangatta

baskk at Kirra Point

Bread and Butter
The Kirra institution recently got a spectacular makeover to match it’s spectacular menu and the people of Kirra (and the rest of the Gold Coast) were very happy about it. They’re serving up pizza, pasta and gnocchi of the tastiest varieties including all you can eat for $30 on Thursday nights. Plus you’ll get those delightful salty ocean breezes from right across the road. Best.
Where: 76 Musgrave St, Kirra 

Kirra Hub
A very recent addition to little old Kirra is Kirra Hub, a social eatery all about good food, good drinks and chill place to spend time with your people. The concept venue, in the Kirra Surf Apartments building, offers three types of cuisine under the one roof. Think pizzas, burgers and authentic German dishes. There’s so much deliciousness to choose from.
Where: 2 Creek St, Kirra

Kirra Beach Bakery
A visit to Kirra isn’t complete without hitting up the local bakery. Whether you’re in need of a post-surf Sweet Chilli Chicken Pie or a pre-dinner Vanilla Slice (don’t judge), Kirra Beach Bakery is the place to go. Get down there early in the morning for fresh-out-of-the-oven bread and enjoy a slice or two with the local seagulls while watching the sunrise.
Where: 1/100 Musgrave St, Kirra 

Cotton Living
Who doesn’t love homewares. Cotton Living, located opposite the beach, is one of the best, showcasing stunning handmade furniture and accessories. Everything in the store is Insta-worthy with a focus on natural colours and textures and the deepest of ocean blue hues. It’s a luxurious space inspired by the beauty of the Coast and you’re sure to find something to take back to your own abode.
Where: Shop 5, 34 Musgrave Street, Kirra

Kirra lookout by Andrew Shield

HiPoke
The poke bowl phenomenon has taken the Gold Coast by storm and why wouldn’t it. Originating in Hawaii, poke bowls are made up of protein and salad combinations artfully arranged in bowls and perfect for both consuming and Instagram snaps. Two of our favourite things. Of the signature bowls, we’re all about the Karaage Chicken with edamame, carrot, corn, sweet chilli mayo and lotus root chips. Summer is just around the corner folks, time to get healthy.
Where: 18/48 Musgrave St, Kirra

HSD Kirra
Since surfing is king in Kirra, it’s no surprise that a tiny little converted surf shack has become a favourite for local hangs. Previously the shaping digs of Dorrington Surfboards, the classic little brick building is a family owned affair stocking all the best surf-friendly goods from boards and accessories to clothing. Head down and stay awhile, HSD is oozing with good vibes.
Where: Nirvana by the Sea, Shop 2, Cnr Musgrave and Douglas Streets, Kirra

Kirra Surf Life Saving Club
Located right on the beach, this old boy has been around longer than you (est. 1916) and is a firm favourite amongst all Gold Coasters. It’s the perfect spot for an afternoon cold one overlooking the ocean or an affordable dinner with the crew. Sit yourself on the deck and let that balmy sea breeze float your worries away.
Where: 15 Marine Pde, Kirra 

Kirra Hill Lookout
Where better to feast your eyes on the beautiful beach that Kirra is famous for the world over. Trek to the top of the headland (maybe after you’ve had that pie) and prepare to be wowed by views from Main Beach to Snapper Rocks. Pack a picnic or fire up the barbie and thank your lucky stars you get to live in the best place on Earth.
Where: It’s on the big hill, you won’t miss it 

Gold Coast Skydive
Jumping out of a plane is all kinds of a fun time, and jumping out of a plane and landing on Kirra beach, even better. The food folks at Gold Coast Skydive are based in Kirra and once you’re out of that plane hurtling toward the sand, Kirra is exactly where you’ll land. After that adrenaline rush you might want to calm yourself with a beer or two. Luckily, the surf club is right there to assist.
Where: 1/78 Musgrave St, Kirra

Kirra Beach Pavilion
While driving around the headland, you may have noticed the cute little shelter overlooking the ocean. It’s not only a great place to hide from the scorching sun, it’s also got some time on its back, over a century to be precise. Early photos of Kirra beach show the shelter in place by around 1916. The Kirra Shelter Shed makes for a great viewing platform and is the perfect spot to watch whales play out in the ocean.

Words by Kirra (sadly-not-named-after-the-suburb) Smith

Ocean image by Andrew Shield

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