Surfing Australia Launches Brand Identity Refresh With Indigenous Connection To Sea Country

Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, Surfing Australia has rolled out a brand refresh which, for the first time ever, unifies the team name and design.


The refresh, developed in harness with BWM Dentsu (Sydney) which was briefed to create a new visual identity project, the new design and name is based around an integrated idea which connects the sport to the spirit of sea country and respect for the ocean.


The idea for the new team name, The Irukanjis, emerged after the agency consulted with team members (including seven-time world champion surfer Steph Gilmore) and the Yirrganydji people – the custodians of the sea in far North Queensland (stretching from Cairns to Port Douglas). This led to incorporating indigenous stories into the project and to calling Surfing Australia’s Olympic team ‘Irukandji’ – the native stinging box jellyfish that inhabits northern Australian waters.


To bring the concept to life, the agency worked with indigenous artist Jasmine Craciun (of the Barkingji, Malyangapa people of far west New South Wales) who worked with the design team to help design and curate an identity that embodies ancestral love and respect for sea country.


BWM Dentsu then launched the design, which includes a visually striking set of free-flowing tentacles draped across the Irukandji team’s branding (including uniforms, jetskis, buses and all of Surfing Australia’s internal and digital assets).


The design launch creative included a teaser phase, followed by a digital-first official launch.






The new branding spans all Australian surfing genres – including Junior, Open, Masters, Olympic, Longboard, Big Wave, Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) and Adaptive disciplines – and the team will compete under The Irukandjis identity and colours at all future international events staring from the Olympics and including International Surfing Association (ISA) and World Surfing Games (WSL) events and Longboard Championships.


“The Irukanji packs a serious punch, just like our Australian surfers in the water,” commented Surfing Australia CEO Chris Mater. “Surfing Australia is seeking its first-ever naming rights partner, and we invite brands to get on board and ride the next wave of Australian surfing success.”


Marcus Tesoriero, Executive Creative Director at BWM Dentsu explained: “The connection to sea country is now at the beating heart of Surfing Australia, so as a surfer myself, this project means so much. Once we cracked the idea, everyone poured in the love. And with surfing soon to take the world stage at the Olympics, this project was a huge honour to be a part of, for everyone.”


BWM Dentsu Managing Director Brent Kerby added: “We thank Chis Mater, Bede Durbidge and the entire Surfing Australia team for selecting us for this incredible project. Our team put in a huge effort collaborating with Jasmine to design the inaugural Irukanjis’ uniform and identity for Surfing Australia – an experience that was nothing short of a once in a lifetime opportunity. As the first Australian creative agency to launch a Reconciliation Action Plan, we feel honoured to have connected surfing more deeply with the history and people of this country.”





This approach reflects the fact that BWM Dentsu was the first Australian creative agency to launch a ‘Reconciliation Action Plan’ to tackle the unjustly low proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation within the creative sector.




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