James Kruse - Treasurer
Have lived and worked in Papua New Guinea since 1989 and a founding member of the Surfing Association of Papua New Guinea and its continuing Treasurer. Also appointed to PNG Toursim Industry Association ) PNGTIA) and it's Treasurer in 2005.
Having grown up on the north Coast of New South Wales, I started my surfing life riding waves at Lennox Point, South and North wall Ballina and the waves around Byron Bay. On arriving in PNG, I was amazed at the untapped potential for surf in the country and the fact that most people assumed that there simply “was no surf in Papua New Guinea” How wrong they were!
The early years of surfing in PNG were very much exploratory, and the Association’s early members focussed primarily on getting out of Port Moresby and discovering new breaks around the country.
Some of these surfari’s were utter disasters with missed connections, delayed flights, and sometimes zero swell. Others however, produced some of the most fantastic surf any surfer could wish for.
My fondest memories are of travelling through abandoned coconut plantations to “discover” isolated reef breaks and then paddling out with a couple of mates, knowing that they were probably the first surfers to ever ride the wave. With crystal clear tropical water, the occasional green turtle feeding on the reef below you, and a view of rainforest clad mountains dropping to a white sand beach lined with coconuts, makes surfing in PNG one of the ultimate experiences in any surfers life.
One of the highlights of surfing in PNG for me, has been the opportunity to represent the country in the longboard division at the 1995 South Pacific Games in Tahiti. The whole lead up to the games, the training, fund raising, selection trials, and coaching was a real learning curve for the Surfing Association. Getting a team approved by the PNG Sports Federation Inc. and then actually representing PNG surfing at an international competition for the first time was quite an achievement for all those involved.
My involvement in the PNG Surfing Association has continued from its inception to the current day. I still continue to get out for the occasional wave on the reefs off Port Moresby and I pack a board when travelling to the island provinces looking for that opportunity to re-visit one of those secret spots or discover another unridden reef break just around the next headland.