Surfing Australia's new identity with Indigenous connection to sea country via BWM dentsu

19 March 2021

Creative Agency: BWM Dentsu Sydney

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Leading into the Olympics, Surfing Australia is moving forward for the first time ever with a unified team name and design.

Leading into the Olympics, Surfing Australia is moving forward for the first time ever with a unified team name and design.

BWM dentsu were tasked to take on the visual identity project and conceived an integrated idea with a deeper meaning – helping connect the sport to the spirit of sea country.

“The connection to sea country is now at the beating heart of Surfing Australia, so as a surfer myself, this project means so much," BWM dentsu executive creative director Marcus Tesoriero says.

"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.”

The name of the team, The Irukanjis, was sparked by seven-time world champion surfer, Steph Gilmore, recognising the box jellyfish as ‘deadly in the water’.

BWM dentsu consulted with the Yirrganydji people, custodians of the sea in far North Queensland, from Cairns to Port Douglas.

Incorporating the Indigenous stories to the concept meant gifting Surfing Australia with the name “Irukandji”, the native stinging box jellyfish that inhabits northern Australian waters.

To bring the concept to life, BWM dentsu approached Indigenous artist Jasmine Craciun of the Barkingji, Malyangapa people of far western New South Wales.

She collaborated with the design team, helping curate an identity that embodies ancestral love and respect for sea country.

The creative agency then rolled out the design, which features a striking set of free-flowing tentacles draped across the Irukandji team’s branding, uniforms, jetskis, buses, and all of Surfing Australia’s internal assets.

The eye-catching new visual identity merges new and old in a form that epitomises spirituality and respect for the ocean.

“We thank Chis Mater, Bede Durbidge and the entire Surfing Australia team for selecting us for this incredible project," BWM dentsu managing director Brent Kerby says.

"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.”

For the first time, Australian representatives across all surfing genres, including Junior, Open, Masters, Olympic, Longboard, Big Wave, Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) and Adaptive disciplines, will compete under The Irukandjis national identity and united colours at international events such as the Olympics, International Surfing Association (ISA), World Surfing Games, WSL World Juniors and Longboard Championships.

"The Irukanji packs a serious punch, just like our Australian surfers in the water," Surfing Australia CEO Chris Mater says.

"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.”

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