When Australia’s national surf team competes in the Olympics for the first time at the Tokyo Games, it will proudly carry the name of the Irukandji (or Yirrganydji) people of coastal north Queensland.
The new team slogan — The Irukandjis: Deadly in the Water — refers to the small but extremely venomous jellyfish named after the Yirrganydji people, whose Country stretches along the coastal strip north of Cairns.
The name was generously gifted to Surfing Australia by the Yirrganydji people, driven by the efforts of Indigenous athlete and former World Tour surfer, Soli Bailey.
“The Irukandji jellyfish was named after the Yirrganydji people who were believed to be extinct, but we aren’t!” said Yirrganydji Land and Sea Program Senior Ranger, Brian Singleton.
“The Yirrganydji support ‘The Irukandjis’ Australian Surf Team as they take on the world.”
The team branding and uniforms were developed in collaboration with BWM Dentsu and Indigenous artist Jasmine Craciun, who derived inspiration from her ancestors, the Barkindji people.
Organic shapes on the uniform represent “fluid movement within the water and emulate light hitting the ocean when viewed from below”, according to the team statement.
The design also incorporates Australia’s green and gold colour palette.
For the first time, Australian representatives across all surfing genres, including junior, open, masters, longboard, big wave, stand-up paddleboard and adaptive disciplines, will compete under The Irukandjis name.
Surfers will proudly carry that name and wear their design at the International Surfing Association, World Surfing Games, WSL World Juniors, and Longboard Championships.
Led by seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore, the Australian Olympic surf team collaborated on the name and unanimously agreed on The Irukandjis.
By Giovanni Torre