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'They proved to themselves they could do it': watch video of teenagers' wild ride 

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Footage of a Sunshine Coast surfboat crew has garnered plenty of attention, with more than 1.5 million views of their thrilling efforts at the state championships.

Sweep Jase Bean filmed the Met Caloundra team of 15-year-old girls as they caught a large and powerful wave to shore at North Kirra last week.

See the video below (warning: it contains some colourful language)

Isla Lonsdale, Olivia Courtney, Molly McShea and Kaya Kwintowski were seen overcoming their fears during the under-19 race.

Mr Bean, who recorded their efforts via a GoPro on his helmet, posted a video online and it was quickly shared on social media. He told Sunshine Coast News he was amazed by the video’s impact.

“We saw that it had 5000 views and we said ‘that’s odd’, and then it was 30,000 and we said ‘that’s crazy’, then it was 800,000 and we said ‘what’s going on here?’,” he said.

“Now there’s 1.5 million. That’s phenomenal.”


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He said the video was probably well watched because of the girls’ in-race excitement and because of their bravery in testing conditions.

“They’re young girls having a crack,” he said.

“During the warm-up, two of them were in tears saying, ‘we can’t do this’.

“I said to them, ‘it’s up to you: talk amongst yourselves, let it all out and then tell me what you want to do’.

“They said they were going to give the race a go, and then they proved to themselves that they can do it, which is awesome.

“They toughed it out.”

Met Caloundra surf boat crew members Molly McShea, Isla Lonsdale, Olivia Courtney and Kaya Kwintowski.

The girls finished in third place out of four crews.

They competed in two more races but missed out on qualifying for the final.

The conditions were confronting.

“They’re all tiny,” Mr Bean said. “You could stand beside them and think ‘how are they going to do this?’.

“It was the biggest surf they’ve been in.

“(But) the girls had their helmets on, and we knew what we were up against.

“There was a shore break, a gutter and then bigger waves breaking on the back bank: some of them had a two-metre face on them.

“We caught that wave (in the video) about 280m off the beach and ran it the whole way home.

“You only get that sort of opportunity when the surf’s up. It’s the luck of the draw and then the thrill of the ride.”

The Met Caloundra under-19 surf boat crew in action. Picture: Adrian Bullock

Mr Bean said the crew was “bashed a bit” when they paddled out through the waves, prompting one of the girls to say, “I can’t do this”.

“But I said, ‘we can’t stop now, we’ve got to get out the back and get safe and then we’ll re-assess’,” he said.

“Once we got out the back (behind the waves), she forgot what she had said.”

Mr Bean said Molly had shown considerable resolve to race, after she was injured in a race at Maroochydore earlier in the season, when another boat collided with them.

She was hospitalised with severe bruising to her leg and required crutches for weeks.

“She was still a bit traumatised after that, so for her to get out there and race (at Kirra) was a joy to see,” he said.

The Met Caloundra under-19 surf boat crew. Picture: Harvie Alison

It’s their first year in the sport.

“They started in late September and have been training three times a week,” Mr Bean said.

“This season is a test to see if they like it and want to hang around.

“They’re racing against women who are 19 years old, who are twice the size of them and have four years of experience.

“I’ve told them that in a few years’ time they will be a force, and everyone will be scared of them.”

Mr Bean said the video could generate substantial interest in surfboat rowing.

“There are people who have seen it online who say they have no idea what the sport is but they’re interested, so I’ve been directing them to the rowers page,” he said.

“The surf rowers league page has many more followers now.

“All of their other videos have now tripled in numbers, so it’s good for the sport.”

The Met Caloundra under-19 surf boat crew had a thrilling race.

Mr Bean said surfboat rowing was exhilarating.

“I would class it as an extreme sport because you can go out in some horrendous conditions some days,” he said.

“But they (organisers) do call races off before the surf gets too ridiculous.”

He hoped the interest would lead to greater participation numbers.

The four girls are the only teenage rowers at Met Caloundra.

“But the number of junior rowers on the Sunshine Coast is increasing and things like this (viral video) are only going to help,” he said.

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