The first Noosa Melanoma March

As thalassophiles – that is, ocean lovers – we are all too familiar with the power of the sun.

Whether it’s simply that satisfying salty-crispy feeling on our skin or the aggravating sting on the back of legs and neck, the sun has touched us all at some point. 

Fortunately, we have learned of its dangers and been educated since youth to slip-slop-slap. The danger hasn’t gone away, but thankfully we can now better protect against it.

Melanoma March, now in its eleventh year, is a family-friendly national event that brings attention to this ever-present issue, not only for we surfers but for all Australians, young and old. Each year, volunteers and participants gather to walk for the cause, raising awareness and sponsorship dollars for treatment, prevention and research of melanoma – the most dangerous form of skin cancer. 

In 2008, Manly local, James Economides, lost his son Michael to melanoma. Michael was just 20 years old. Launching Melanoma March in 2012, James wanted to help prevent the loss that he had suffered, helping to increase awareness, but most importantly to raise funds for Melanoma Institute Australia to help preventative research. The Institute doesn’t simply aim to treat melanomas, it wishes to eradicate them.

With such a tangible connection to this cause, many of our competitors having had, or knowing others who have had, melanoma scares, the Noosa Festival of Surfing is only too eager to support this worthy event.

Sunshine Coast local and Melanoma March volunteer organiser, Raphael McGowan of Bakslap, has been orchestrating the coast’s annual Melanoma March for the last several years, this year bringing it to Noosa’s stunning shores for the first time.

“We always have a good turn-out of participants, but this year we hope to expand that,” says McGowan. “Surfers are some of the most at-risk individuals to melanoma, so the connection between this year’s Melanoma March and the Noosa Festival of Surfing is both powerful and vital.”

Taking place on the first Sunday of the festival, the 6th of March, the walk will trace the boardwalk and coastline from First Point to National Park before returning. It is an opportunity to connect with others who have directly and indirectly suffered from the impact of melanoma, to raise awareness and, of course, bring some much needed financial support to melanoma research.

“Despite the seriousness of the issue, Melanoma March is about positivity,” says McGowan. “We need to support and uplift each other, to not make the event about the tragic loss that melanoma causes, but about the positivity of support for recovery, both physically and emotionally.

“Melanoma Institute Australia is doing fantastic work as the world’s leading melanoma research and treatment centre. We hope that at our event, it will allow people to feel more encouraged by the advancement of treatment and research, as well as increasing awareness of its prevention and support for those dealing with the impact of melanoma.”

Melanoma March 2022 begins at 3:30pm at Noosa’s First Point, with local radio station SeaFM presenting the event. Local stallholders and live music will enliven the atmosphere and give participants a chance to connect, share their stories and find a local network of individuals in similar circumstances to their own. Once gathered, participants will unite in a leisurely walk to National Park and back again, completing their sponsored march back on the sands of Main Beach.

The following weekend, Saturday 12th March, Raphael and the Melanoma March team will return to First Point to bring the crowd back together for a more informal occasion. Finding connection, support and understanding can be incredibly healing, and Raphael aims to inspire this in an afternoon of kinship and conversation.

The 2022 Melanoma March takes place 3:30 – 5:30pm on Sunday 6th March at First Point, Noosa Heads. The event is organised and presented by Bakslap, and proudly supported by the Noosa Festival of Surfing.

Enquiries: Raphael McGowan 0432 356 521 [email protected]

The 31st Noosa Festival of Surfing presented by GemLife takes place 5-13 March, 2022. Discover more and keep up to date with further announcements at

By registering, participants are raising funds for research and awareness into Melanoma > REGISTER NOW <

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