ASB MAGAZINE: Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew is on the ride of his life. Better known as Bugs, the 1978 World Champion has taken some steep drops at Pipe and deep tube rides at Burleigh and Kirra in his day. However, Bugs  latest foray into the life of politics as a Burleigh candidate for the upcoming Qld State elections on Saturday 31st of October, is a whole new game.

Rabbit has never run for politics and had considered the possibility of running as Mayor for the Gold Coast. As a Family man of three sons, Jaggar, Keo, and Cruize, he has kept his focus on their development while continuing to serve the community and indulge in his passion of surfing.

Granted an AM in 2009 for his services to the sport, environment, and social cause,  Bugs has worn a lot of hats in his illustrious career. Former head of World Surfing (ASP Association of Surfing Professionals) from 1999 to 2009, was Surfing Australia’s National Coach throughout the 90’s, and currently Patron of Gold Coast World Surfing Reserves and Ambassador of Wipeout Dementia. Bartholomew is more than just a world surfing legend/celebrity sportsman. He is a champion of the people and his community.

There are many vexatious issues such as the fierce local opposition to the proposed light rail from Burleigh to Coolangatta. However, it was Rabbit that fought hard for community consultation and to allow people to have their say post-election. He has always been a community orientated person, an articulate spokesman and a personable accessible person. Rabbit is a good listener and great negotiator.

As ASP President he waged over boardroom battles to negotiate with the surfing corporations by gaining their support to engineer the Dream Tour (best surfers in best waves of the world) from which best two waves and Live webcast followed to streamline surfing as a modern-day sport.

Fellow World Champion & World Tour competitor, close friend and sparring rival, Shaun Tomson has written an impressive testimonial for his fellow pioneering professional.

“Rabbit is a unique individual, a natural born leader and who has been a major influence and inspired others to achieve their collective goals.

“He was one of the original architects of pro surfing. For me, my life was changed by Rabbit, while the two of us stood together on the beach at the Banzai Pipeline at the end of the year in ‘1975, watching massive 6-meter surf explode on the reef. I was planning to go back to University, and I asked Rabbit what he planned to do, and he said,” I’m going to be a pro surfer, mate.”

“His dream became my dream too, and today, through Rabbit’s vision and inspiration, professional surfing has touched every shore across the world and made a profound impact on youth culture, business, and sport.

“Every leader must have the energy and determination to realize his vision and Rabbit showed that by winning the World Surfing Championships in 1978 and becoming a surfing super star across the world.

“After a stellar pro career Rabbit started teaching and mentoring young surfers about competition and life and influenced and inspired an entire generation to become the best surfers in the world.

“Rabbit showed his management abilities when he took on the leadership of the Association of Surfing Professionals, a floundering organization which he re-energized with a clear new mission and purpose: the best surfers in the best waves.

“Three of the most underappreciated leadership skills are empathy, respect and storytelling and Rabbit is a ninja master in all these areas.

“Over the course of his life, Rabbit has had some knocks, literally and figuratively, but like the quintessential Aussie battler, built from grit, resilience, and a positive attitude, he has never lain down and never will.

Rabbit is a fighter in the best sense of the word, and he will fight for the people of Burleigh,” concluded Shaun Tomson.

This Saturday 10th October, Bartholomew will deliver his maiden campaign launch at Mos Desert Clubhouse at Burleigh. Former Deputy PM & Treasurer Wayne Swan, a onetime surfer will introduce. Rabbits second son Keo Bartholomew who loves surfing and playing drums, will perform with his Band “Scrappz.” There will be a screening of the 1976 Bill Delaney cult surf movie, “Free Ride” that features Rabbit at Pipeline and Burleigh Point.

An auction of collector’s item will go under the hammer, plus a brand new Nev/Rabbit surfboard raffle will be drawn on the night and a limited range of Bugs4Burleigh t-shirts will be for sale.

Wayne Bartholomew Official Campaign Launch this Saturday 10th October 6pm – 11pm at Mos Desert Clubhouse 6/36 Central Drive, Burleigh Heads. Tickets online or at the door. Tickets are $20.00. You can book tickets online via the link.

Online ticket line can be accessed on link below



Written by Andrew McKinnon.