Almost 100 people gathered at Birubi Beach early on Thursday morning to kick off the Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro surf competition with a White Ribbon awareness walk and beach clean up.
Participants were enthusiastic about being on the beach at such an early hour – 7am – to walk a little over a kilometre of Birubi Beach.
They were distressed however to hear remarks from Port Stephens White Ribbon ambassador Roger Yeo who reminded them that 59 women have been killed in Australia this year, most of them by men they knew.
There have been 11 women killed in the past month alone.
Walkers managed to gathered three bins full of rubbish during their walk which was counted and categorised into recyclables, soft plastics and landfill by Port Stephens conservation group Sea Shelter.
After the walk several took advantage of the moment to go for a quick surf with professionals practising for the competition and were rewarded with surf hats and professional white leg ropes from sponsor Ocean & Earth.
The competition runs from through to Tuesday, November 13 and features pros from across Australia attempting to qualify for the 2019 Championship Tour.
White Ribbon is partnering with Surfing NSW and the NSW Pro to raise awareness across the community for the prevention of men's violence against women.
The pro marks the beginning of a whole month of White Ribbon events across the country.