About Us

Origins

Surfing Queensland was established in 1964 and since this time has developed into a thriving sporting association committed to the development of this great sport.  Surfing Queensland is the recognised not-for-profit peak State body of a National Association entrusted and committed to the development of the sport of surfing and the education of the general public on surf safety and surf survival.

Click here to see SQLD Strategic Plan summary

Board

Luke McKenzie

Chair

Luke has been a board member of Surfing Queensland since 2009 and Chairperson since 2016. Professionally, Luke has been a Director at Balmain for over 20 years and manages its Queensland operations. Balmain is Australia’s leading non-bank commercial property debt organisation. Balmain originates over $2.5b of commercial loans annually, and has approximately $7b in funds under management on behalf of private investors, SMSF’s and some of the world’s largest financial institutions. Luke has postgraduate qualifications in Applied Finance and Investment, is an authorised Credit Representative of Balmain and is Fellow of FINSIA.

Angela Garniss

Angela joined Surfing Queensland in late 2019. She is a passionate local who brings experience in successfully managing large scale projects in the major events and sports industry, most recently as Head of Sponsor Services at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Organising committee. Her ability to develop strategy and drive change has been crucial and contributed to highly successful achievements in her full time role in the not for profit sector. Angela is highly skilled in the management of high net worth relationships both commercially and in the not for profit sector. From this, she has created pathways of exceptional networks to deliver a high return for investors. Angela’s love for the outdoors and caring nature has led her to volunteer for school and community events as well as working with vulnerable groups in our community.

Jeff Frazer

Jeff is a Partner at KPMG and has over twenty years experience in accounting, finance and compliance. His focus is on audit and advisory service delivery, but with the nature of clients that Jeff works with, he has a broad range of skills including valuations, tax and accounting, financial reporting and transaction based engagements. Prior to joining KPMG, Jeff worked in the financial markets working on the Sydney Futures Exchange for Macquarie Bank Limited. Jeff sits on the Boards of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (Gold Coast); and The Gold Coast Hospital Foundation. Jeff is a keen surfer and has travelled extensively surfing in Europe, the middle east, Indonesia and Hawaii.

April Rich

April is an internationally qualified Sports Lawyer and was awarded the Australian In-house Lawyer of the Year in 2017. April has worked on the Commonwealth Games, Invictus Games and regularly donates her time to provide pro bono legal services and mentor junior lawyers. She has previously been a director on the Board of Mountain Bike Australia and has been a director of Surfing Queensland since 2018.

Kathryn Best

Kathryn is an experienced and passionate communications and marketing professional, with over 13 years’ experience at a number of major media, non-profit and corporate brands. With a Bachelor of Business majoring in Public Relations and Marketing at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Kathryn commenced her career at Nova Brisbane and then moved to the Seven Network working across both publicity and marketing disciplines. Following Channel Seven, Kathryn joined the Bank of Queensland (BOQ) working across portfolios in both Brand and Marketing and Corporate Affairs. Kathryn’s BOQ career highlights include managing the Bank’s partnership with the World Surf League and leading the development of a new community investment strategy. Combining her knowledge of the fast pace of media and practice in the corporate sector, Kathryn now freelances as a Communications Consultant and is passionate about supporting non-profit organisations to drive social impact.

Vaughan O'Connor

Vaughan O’Connor has worked in the marketing and communications industry for over 25 years with a number of global and national brands now working with his team at Rapid Media to grow their market share in the Australian market. With offices in Queensland, NSW and Victoria Rapid Media is working at the forefront of measuring marketing effectiveness and attribution with real-time technology to allow clients to quickly determine success or failure on marketing initiatives to be able to fine-tune future investments. Being an avid recreational surfer for over forty years Vaughan has also actively participated with a number of key stakeholders and brands in the surf industry to help create major events and generate grassroots community participation and has been a board member with Surfing Queensland since 2016.

Staff

Adam Yates

Chief Executive Officer

Surfing Queensland’s Board of Directors appointed Adam Chief Executive Officer of the organisation in 2014. Prior to commencing as CEO, Adam was an integral component of the management structure managing multi-million dollar event budgets and the staging of over 200 events throughout his tenure as Surfing Queensland’s Events Manager. Adam has a Bachelor of Business Management degree and over 15 years of experience in sport management and surfing industries. His commitment and thorough knowledge of the organisation see Adam drive and deliver the commercial and strategic priorities of the organisation. Adam has a demonstrated track record to navigate through complex issues. Prioritising, managing and delivering outcomes that fulfil the commercial and strategic priorities, as well as having an in-depth understanding of corporate governance is testament to Adam’s success.

Alan Biggs

General Manager

During the last 20 years Alan has held General Manager and CFO roles across a diverse range of industries as well as 3 years in Local Government as the CEO for the Shire of Shark Bay. (Alan was the first person in Western Australia to be appointed the Chief Executive Officer of a Local Government from private enterprise, which required Ministerial Approval). His experience spans across many industries and his leadership skills come from managing companies with turnover in excess of $100 million and significant staff levels (450). Alan’s formal qualifications (3) include a Bachelor of Commerce (Accountancy), Graduate Diploma in Marketing and a Diploma in Technical Analysis.

Ben Cochrane

Content and Communications

Ben has raced around the world in the sport of Ironman racing and relocated to Australia in 2014 to train alongside some of the worlds best ocean athletes. After completing a Bachelor of Business Majoring in Finance in 2017, Ben began his career in event management, teaming up with the Ocean6 Series who activated the Nutri-Grain Ironman Series for two seasons. In these two years, Ben was one of three full time staff that successfully activated twelve events across Australia with each event attracting 600 of the worlds best surf sports competitors. The team also created 54 TV shows a summer that were broadcast globally on Fox Sports. Ben further aligned with his passion of Surfing, joining the Surfing Queensland team in 2019 where he has since ran over 25 Surfing Events as event manager. In between running events, Ben is the ultimate frother and can be found somewhere in the ocean near our Burleigh Heads Office.

Alicia Jones

Business Support Executive

Alicia has joined the Surfing Queensland team with over 10 years of Executive Assistant experience with expertise in scheduling, correspondence, board secretarial duties and office management. Having held positions across various industries including Government, Investment Management, Real Estate and Management Consulting, Alicia is able to tailor her skills to meet the needs of various clients.