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.


Luke Mckenzie


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.

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.

Erin Tanner

Erin Tanner is a lawyer with experience working with businesses of all sizes.  Erin works primarily on commercial contracts and transactions, strategic advice, corporate restructuring, and privacy law, advising clients in a wide range of industries including sports, major events and tourism.  Erin has also worked with several major charities and not-for-profits, identifying the right corporate and tax structures to help them achieve their goals and make the most of their finances in a difficult regulatory environment. With experience working both as an external advisor, and as part of an in-house legal and commercial team, Erin is known for being easy to work with and can fit well into any team. Coming from the landlocked ACT, Erin is still making up for years of lost beach time and tries to fit in a surf or surf trip away whenever she can.


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.

Shanice Ryder

Business Support Manager

Originally from Margaret River, Western Australia, Shanice has previously worked within the surfing industry before her move to Queensland. Since moving east, Shanice has worked within the finance sector as an administrator and an executive assistant, but joined the Surfing Queensland team 3 years ago in order to pursue her passion within the surf industry. Shanice has an immense love for being outdoors and soaking up everything the Queensland lifestyle has to offer.

Elliot Dempster

Head of Events, Pathways & Communications

Elliot grew up in Northern NSW as a keen surfer before following his dreams and travelling the world where he worked in varied hospitality and tourism roles such as ski mountain operations, hotel management and as a sailing instructor. Elliot’s passion for surfing and community sport eventually led him back to South East Queensland to complete a Bachelor of Sport Management and Marketing, ultimately landing him in his dream role as Surfing Queensland’s Head of Events. Elliot has thoroughly developed his event management and coordination skills, having delivered multiple world class major surfing events since coming on board as a highly valued team member.


Manuel Calvo Sastre

Sport Administrator

Born and raised in Mar del Plata, Argentina, Manuel moved to Gold Coast to complete a Master of Sport Management at Bond University. After completing a Bachelor in Business Administration and working in varied corporations, he decided to redirect his professional career into the sports world. Manuel’s passion for surfing motivated him to knock on Surfing Queensland’s door for his Professional Internship. Three months later he is stoked to be part of the team as the Sport Administrator, a dream position that combines his love for surfing, with his studies and professional experience.

Keanu Chapman

Events & Communications Coordinator

Growing up in Coffs Harbour, NSW, Keanu developed a keen interest in surfing and was involved in Christian Surfers Coffs Harbour and volunteered with the Disabled Surfers Association. He moved to the Gold Coast to commence a Bachelor of Communications and Journalism at Griffith University. Keanu had the opportunity to complete an internship with Surfing Queensland during his final year at Griffith University. Once he graduated, he was asked to join the Surfing Queensland team and take his professional practice to the next level. Combining his passion for surfing and in-depth knowledge in communications, he is undoubtedly an integral member of the team.