THONG CHAL­LENGE PULLS PLUG

Western Suburbs Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - By ROSANNA CAN­DLER

HAVA­IANAS Aus­tralia has said ‘never say never’ when it comes to re­viv­ing its pop­u­lar Aus­tralia Day Thong Chal­lenge at Cottes­loe Beach.

Last Wed­nes­day, the Western Sub­urbs Weekly broke the news that the na­tion­wide Jan­uary 26 event had been can­celled.

In 2015, Cottes­loe set the world record for the fourth year run­ning with 2210 peo­ple tak­ing to the wa­ter on gi­ant in­flat­able flip-flops.

Cottes­loe Surf Life Sav­ing Club (SLSC) pres­i­dent Ben Stephens said Hava­ianas Aus­tralia no­ti­fied the club in Septem­ber that the event’s 10th an­niver­sary in 2015 was its last.

“They told us that they were re­fo­cus­ing their mar­ket­ing and end­ing the thong chal­lenge. f it does get re­vis­ited in some form in the fu­ture, we have the tro­phy here and we are will­ing to rise to the chal­lenge again,” Mr Stephens said.

“This year we are look­ing at hav­ing a fundraiser bar­be­cue on the beach. In due course we are hop­ing to build up an­other fam­ily-friendly event that fo­cuses on wa­ter safety.”

One-third of the thong chal­lenge reg­is­tra­tion fee was do­nated to lo­cal surf life­sav­ing clubs at the five par­tic­i­pat­ing beaches – North Bondi, Torquay, Glenelg, Mooloolaba and Cottes­loe.

A Hava­ianas Aus­tralia spokes­woman said they would not rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of re­launch­ing the event in fu­ture years.

“We wanted to reach the im­pres­sive 10-year mile­stone be­fore shak­ing things up and try­ing other new and ex­cit­ing ways to col­lab­o­rate with our fans,” she said.

“New ac­tiv­ity is still be­ing dis­cussed in­ter­nally, and Hava­ianas plan to con­tinue sup­port­ing lo­cal surf life sav­ing clubs in 2016 and be­yond.”

Go­ing for a thong: Crowds throng Hava­ianas Aus­tralia’s pop­u­lar thong chal­lenge at Cottes­loe Beach.

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