Thailand may rank 24th on the Human Poverty Index, but it does not lack for surf or surf talent, as wahine, Annissa Tita Flynn of Phuket, proved during "Quiksilver's Thailand Surf Series-Monsoon Riders" on July1.
Flynn placed in both the ladies division and the kids division at Kalim Beach, walking away with a sponsorship from Roxy and an official invitation from Quiksilver's Jake Patterson, to compete in the "Quiksilver King of the Groms" in Bali, from July 8 to the 13.
Flynn met with Phuket Governor Khun Wichai Phraisa-ngop regarding her upcoming surf trip to Bali and sponsorship. Her involvement with Roxy will provide her with clothes, international attention and experience and an opportunity to represent Thailand on the global stage.
Thailand has a consistent flow of men, women and children from surrounding poor countries that are trafficked in for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor, according to the Trafficking in Persons Report 2008. Combined with the country's impoverished conditions, the streets of Phuket offer limited sources of edifying recreation.
Flynn's example provides an alternative vision for other Thai children who are challenged by the oppression often present in poverty stricken countries.
Quiksilver desires to "motivate the Thai youth to participate at the beach- keeping them off the streets."
The surf series is the first of its kind to be held in South East Asia, as well as the first major surfing event in Thailand to be presented by a large international surfing brand and Quiksilver SE Asia CEO Paul Hutson has gladly committed to a three-year deal as the presenting sponsor.
"From our point of view there is great potential here, so we'd like to assist in both the development of surfing in Thailand and to promote issues that are important to us as a company, namely keeping the beaches and water in pristine condition so we as surfers can enjoy them for years to come," said Hutson.
"I wish people wouldn't use so many plastic bags so we don't find them in the surf," said Flynn in agreement.