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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Boy with surfboard cross: David Rastovich, 1999 (printed 2005)

Scott Redford

offset lithograph on paper (sheet: 92 cm x 70 cm, image: 70 cm x 51 cm)
Image not available (NC)

David ‘Rasta’ Rastovich (b. 1979), former professional surfer and conservation activist, was born in rural New Zealand. At the age of five he moved with his parents to the Gold Coast, where in time he began to compete in junior surf lifesaving and surfing events. He won numerous titles in iron man, paddling and surfing events, including a world junior surfing title, before walking away from competition at the age of twenty. Rastovich developed a sense of environmental awareness as a young man. In 2004, outside the International Whaling Commission meeting in Italy, he established the conservation group Surfers for Sanctuaries with marine conservationist Howie Cooke. Later, this group evolved into Surfers for Cetaceans, focusing on the protection of whales, dolphins and porpoises; he appeared in a powerful documentary on this topic, The Cove, in 2009. More recently he has supported the activities of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The documentary Minds in the water, released in 2012, followed the surfer’s conservation activism over five years; the same year he was a central figure in the ward-winning documentary El Mar, Mi Alma. More recently he has free-surfed Sri Lanka in The Church of the Open Sky (2018) and narrated Never Town (2018) alongside Wayne Lynch. A resident of the Byron Bay area, Rastovich lives an exemplary holistic life, growing his own food, keeping bees, surfing and engaging intensely with the wonders of the planet.

OLD CAPTION

David 'Rasta' Rastovich (b. 1979), professional surfer and conservation activist, was born in rural New Zealand. At the age of five he moved with his parents to the Gold Coast, where in time he began to compete in junior surf lifesaving and surfing events. He has won numerous titles in iron man, paddling and surfing events, including a world junior surfing title. Rastovich developed a sense of environmental awareness as a young man. In 2004, outside the International Whaling Commission meeting in Italy, he established the conservation group Surfers for Sanctuaries with marine conservationist Howie Cooke. Later, this group evolved into Surfers for Cetaceans, focusing on the protection of whales, dolphins and porpoises. More recently he has supported the activities of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. In a 2008 interview Rastovich summed up his holistic approach to life : 'My only goal is really to just share the joy of balance and the joy of learning to balance, of going up and down, just the joy of being on that adventure, of finding out what it is that makes me continually helpful, happy, peaceful. A clear person and a clear mind.'

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Scott Redford 2009
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program

Accession number: 2009.14

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Scott Redford (age 37 in 1999)

David Rastovich (age 20 in 1999)

Subject professions

Sports and recreation

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.