Milla Brown 2022 Surfing titles. Credit Sam Walkerdene

Two-time Surfing World Champion Tyler Wright, along with up-and-coming surfing prodigies Milla Brown and Ocean Lancaster have received athlete scholarships with the NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS).  

The Institute has forged a world-class reputation for the significant role it plays in supporting high performance athletes who have the skills and traits necessary to represent Australia at the Olympic, Paralympic or Commonwealth Games.  

This support now extends to surfing athletes, who have access to support which includes strength and conditioning; athlete, wellbeing and engagement; and performance health services at the Institute’s high performance facilities at the Sydney Olympic Park and Narrabeen facilities, or Newcastle for the regionally based surfers. 

“NSWIS is thrilled to welcome Tyler, Milla and Ocean as scholarship athletes. It is incredibly important for the Institute to work with experienced athletes from newer Olympic sports to learn from their experiences and develop the right support pathway for our future champions,” NSWIS CEO Kevin Thompson said.  

“This includes looking at access to performance support services such as wellbeing and engagement, strength and conditioning, and performance health.” 

Brown and Lancaster were last month selected by Surfing Australia to wear the green and gold at the 2024 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in El Salvador, with Brown presented the honour of co-captaining the team alongside Dane Henry. 

Also selected to represent Australia at the event was 15-year-old Ocea Curtis, who hails from NSW’s north coast and was selected by NSWIS for the Pursu32+ talent development program, an initiative which nurtures aspiring athletes from regional NSW.  

NSWIS has had a partnership agreement with Surfing Australia and Surfing NSW since the beginning of the current Olympic cycle to support administration and coaching, which includes Gen32 surfing coach Jay Thompson. The agreement now includes supporting athletes who are selected for the Olympic Games as well as emerging and developing athletes.  

“Surfing Australia’s High Performance Program (HPP) is excited to see nationally categorized athletes in the pathway and on the Championship Tour receiving additional support from NSWIS,” Surfing Australia’s Performance Support and Podium Manager, Eric Haakonssen said. 

“Access to NSWIS’ services expands our capacity to support athletes who are remote from the HPP and bring in additional expertise for us to leverage as a program. We are grateful for this collaboration and are excited to see how it evolves as we look ahead to Paris 2024 and beyond.” 

Through its scholarship system NSWIS has enjoyed an enviable record for assisting 113 athletes win a total of 98 summer Olympic medals and 81 athletes win a total of 191 summer Paralympic medals. 

Frances Cordaro, NSWIS

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