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Byron Shire
April 1, 2023

Here & Now 33

Latest News

Tweed residents outraged at destruction of koala habitat on Cobaki Creek

A 'legacy' floodplain development on the tidal estuary of Cobaki Creek, known to have recent koala sightings, was approved in 1996 and is now being cleared.

Other News

And Still I Sing

Ballina Region for Refugees is holding a fundraising screening at Byron Theatre next Wednesday to raise urgently needed funds for their community resettlement program. The film is And Still I Sing, an extraordinary documentary by Afghan filmmaker, Fazila Amiri. 

Ballina council contractor debt waived after company goes bust

The Ballina Shire Council has voted to write off debt owed by a failed private company initially hired to develop six industrial lots six years ago.

Helping our elders on April Falls Day

April Falls Month is an annual campaign to raise awareness about the impact of falls and to promote the latest best practice fall prevention strategies. The overall campaign goal is to get active and improve balance for fall prevention.

Women of song at The Con

The Northern Rivers Conservatorium (The Con), in association with Musica Viva Australia, is pleased to present a special event in its Concert Room on Friday 28 April – Women of Song.  This innovative new show developed by the acclaimed Jessie Lloyd of Mission Songs Project includes themes of intergenerational practices, singing on, and from, Country, commitment to community, and preserving knowledge in song. It’s an intimate celebration of the ‘here and now’ of Indigenous culture, a rare mix of spontaneous conversation and songs exploring the modern-day practice and living heart of the world’s oldest living culture.

Vale Nina Milenko Marzi

One of Byron’s most colourful characters has spread her wings and taken flight for her next adventure – Nina Milenko Marzi died on Thursday March 23, in Byron Bay.

Do you still need help to get two rooms fixed after the 2022 flood?

More than 80 Lismore residents have had help getting a few rooms in their flood-impacted homes re-sheeted and habitable...

Image S Sorrensen
Image S Sorrensen

S Sorrensen

Byron. Friday, 11am

The Japanese girl jumps to her feet, exactly the way she was shown on the beach, and stands up on the surfboard.

With a slight wobble as she balances, she sets herself with knees bent and arms spread low. She rides the white water into the shallows.

Jumping from her board, she turns to her surfing instructor who stands in the chest-high water where he’d launched her onto the wave.

He whoops at her and punches his fist into the air. A smile, whiter than the surf, brighter than the sun, flashes from the girl like a daytime lighthouse giving hope to the forlorn.

She returns the triumphant salute by also punching the air. The smile lingers while she pushes hair from her face and catches her breath.

It’s her first surf and she’s chuffed.

Playing in the waves here at The Pass is a simple pleasure. Families, courting couples, schoolie friends and a weatherbeaten old man play here, dipping toes, holding hands, pushing each other and remembering other beach days.

The beach is a playground.

The girl manoeuvres the board back against the waves. It’s not easy. There’s a growing wind from a storm building in the south and the board is made from a light, soft material, safe for the beginner surfer, but awkward in the wind.

He’s a Byron pin-up boy, the instructor. His long curls, brown at birth, are now bleached at the tips by days like these.

Not far from here, where business meets the sea, people are paying a lot of money for hair like that. His body is surfer slim and yoga supple.

His laugh, bouncing across the waves like a rubber duckie, can save lives drowning in a mad world for most of the year.

Sensibly, he wears wetsuit, hat and sunnies.

Next to the rocks and protected from the wind, a not-so-sensible woman lies in the sun. She invites melanoma into her by removing her bikini top and exposing sensitive bits to the ravaging sun.

Beside her a man, in Speedos and sunglasses, toasts his tattoos as he reads the Herald and smokes a cigarette. Overhead a seagull hovers, checking for chips.

In a land where spirituality is a weekend workshop, religion is morning coffee and money is god, it’s good to discover that sun worship still exists, complete with cancerous ritual sacrifice.

The beach is a place of meditation. At the beach you need no great purpose, no goal to achieve, no point to make, no thing to prove.

It’s like life, no, it is life. You just be: chuck a footy around, play with the kids, throw a line into the sea, stare at the horizon, watch your lover’s skin cook.

Despite the clutter of expensive holiday distractions that have attached themselves to the beach like barnacles to driftwood, Byron’s magic lives free on its beaches. They have been here for a long time.

Bundjalung people played here. Australia’s beaches are a watery gift to us, a memento of where we came from, loosely tied with a white ribbon of sand. Genes that were spawned in the ancient oceans sing here.

When the ocean acidifies due to governmental impotence, when radiation from a bad idea gone critical poisons the sea, when the northern reefs bleach and southern ice shelves melt due to wilful neglect, we will understand what we had.

A jubilant hoot rings out above the rising wind. The Japanese girl surfs another wave into shore. The wind whips her from her board.

Storm clouds are gathering, a darkness is falling over the sea.

The instructor, sensing change, signals the group to shore.

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