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Mormon Family Sponsors Ninth Annual 'Coffs Soul Surfest'

Keeping the Sabbath day holy is an important part of worship for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  

In 2006, Coffs Harbour Latter-day Saint leader Garth Mackie was pondering how he could help a 16-year-old in his congregation who was participating in surfing competitions on Sunday.

He decided to sponsor a “Soul Surfest” on Saturday so members of his congregation could compete without missing their Sunday worship services.


The event allows surfers of all ages to be involved in something they love while mingling with members of their faith and community. 

Six young men who have participated in the surfing competition through the years have served or are now serving full-time missions for the Church. Three couples are now married who met at the event.

Nine years later the Coffs Soul Surfest is well known to Church members and the community, who come from all over Australia to spend the weekend.

This year more than a hundred participants registered, 32 of whom were competitors. Ages ranged from nine to 60.

16-year-old Monica Perrit from Brisbane, who has participated all nine years, attended this year with her mother, sister and several friends. 

After a fun day at the beach, surfers and their families met at the small branch chapel for a devotional. A brief spiritual message was followed by an open-mic hour where attendees shared their feelings about  their faith and love for Jesus Christ. The evening culminated with everyone making notes to send to missionaries they know who are currently serving full-time missions.

On Sunday everyone gathered for church services before heading home. During the Surfest the small branch of 50 members often triples in size. One year a record-breaking 268 attended services on the Surfest weekend.

Mackie and his family are already making plans for a 10th annual event in 2016.

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