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Australia’s surfers take on new identity of The Irukandjis in run-up to Tokyo

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Australia’s national surfers have taken on the new identity of The Irukandjis – a reference to the venomous jellyfish that inhabit the nation’s marine waters – with the additional tagline of: Deadly in the Water.

“They pack a serious punch, just like our Australian surfers in the water”, said Surfing Australia chief executive Chris Mater, of the sea creatures that have inspired the re-branding of the Australian team that will be involved in the scheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where the sport is set to make its Olympic debut this summer.

Led by Stephanie Gilmore, the Australian Olympic surf team collaborated on the name and unanimously agreed on The Irukandjis, noting their characteristic of being “deadly in the water.”

Gilmore, a seven-time World Surf League (WSL) world champion, commented at the launch in Manly: “I really wanted us to find an awesome name for the team that incorporated the indigenous culture of Australia.

“Irukandji perfectly suits our team as we try our best to be ‘deadly in the water’ against our rivals in the Tokyo Olympics.”

Australia’s national surfers have taken on the new identity of The Irukandjis - a reference to the venomous jellyfish that inhabit the nation’s marine waters - with the additional tagline of: Deadly in the Water ©Surfing Australia
Australia’s national surfers have taken on the new identity of The Irukandjis – a reference to the venomous jellyfish that inhabit the nation’s marine waters – with the additional tagline of: Deadly in the Water ©Surfing Australia

The Irukandjis name was generously gifted to Surfing Australia by the local Yirrganydji people of North Queensland, driven by the efforts of indigenous athlete and former World Tour surfer, Soli Bailey.

Senior Ranger of the Yirrganydji Land and Sea Programme Brian Singleton said: “The Irukandji jellyfish was named after the Yirrganydji people who were believed to be extinct but we aren’t!

“The Yirrganydji supports ‘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.

The organic shapes on the uniform represent fluid movement within the water and emulate light hitting the ocean when viewed from below.

With The Irukandjis representing Australia on the world stage, the incorporation of Australia’s national green and gold colour palate is a dominant factor in the design.

Layne Beachley, chair of Surfing Australia and seven-time world champion, said: “Our name and identity are powerful forces.

“As surfing enters the Olympics for the first time and enjoys incredible popularity worldwide, it was time to give our Australian team an identity that we can all rally behind.

“The Irukandji’s sting in the water is ferocious and that is how our Australian surfers approach competition.”

The new identity will be taken on by Australian representatives across all surfing genres and the colours will be sported at international events such as the Olympics, International Surfing Association’s World Surfing Games, WSL World Juniors and Longboard Championships.



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