Surf's Up, Dude!

article by Cheryl Bullow , photos by Alamy

Learning intention:
I am learning to identify the way audio and visual elements affect the audience’s experience and perception of a presentation so that I can consider these aspects when creating my own presentations.


Success criteria:

  • I can compare and contrast audio and visual elements used in different presentations on the same topic
  • I can create a presentation on a topic of my choice, using my own knowledge and research
  • I can make purposeful choices when adding audio and visual elements to my presentation to match my chosen topic.


After reading the article, reiterate the importance of Duke Kahanamoku’s role in bringing surfing to Australia and the world. Watch the History Channel’s documentary segment Duke Kahanamoku’s Australian Surfboard, followed by the trailer for the Duke Kahanamoku documentary, Waterman.

Discuss the style of each video, using the English Textual Concept of ‘Style’ for Stage 2 to centre the discussion around the way words and images are used to convey information on a topic with a particular purposes, audiences and effects.

Ask students which video they think is more recent (Waterman) and to give reasons for their opinion. These may include:

  • The images and videos are less blurry in the Waterman trailer.
  • The colours are duller in the History Channel documentary
  • The effects of the History Channel are more basic – zooming out on photos and speeding up some scenes, however the Waterman trailer uses more modern techniques such as drone footage and underwater filming.
  • The music sounds like it is from an older era in the History Channel documentary
  • The Waterman trailer uses a combination of original footage of Duke Kahanamoku as well as modern dramatisation using actors recreating historical scenes.

Have students discuss whether they felt these aspects suited the format and contents of each video and give their reasons.

Students should then think about a topic they are knowledgeable about. This may be a sport, activity, game or special interest. Inform them that they are to create a brainstorm about what points they would include in a documentary about their chosen topic. For example, they may choose a particular game that they like and include points such as:

  • Where and when this game was first invented
  • What the rules to the game are
  • What equipment is used for the game
  • What makes the game enjoyable?
  • Any significant events that are held (e.g., tournaments, world championships)

Once students have decided on their topic and points, they should use a software program to create a presentation on it, such as iMovie, Google Slides or Canva. They may wish to work in pairs or small groups for this activity, depending on the availability of devices. Alternatively, this activity can be incorporated into literacy rotations to allow individual students to develop their own presentation.

Students should choose a template or slide background that they feel best matches their topic, then add relevant graphics and images. They may add audio such as voiceover and music that they feel best represents the feeling of their chosen topic. If time allows, students may wish to share their presentations with the class.