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Byron Shire
February 8, 2023

Surf-reserve protection given a voice

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Launching Gold Coast City Council's Surf Management Plan and the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve at the Currumbin Surf Museum were: GCWSR chairman Andrew Mc Kinnon with Qld minister for the environment , Stephen Miles and two traditional Hula performers Ecco and Kaco. Photo Jeff Dawson
Launching Gold Coast City Council’s Surf Management Plan and the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve at the Currumbin Surf Museum were: GCWSR chairman Andrew Mc Kinnon with Qld minister for the environment , Stephen Miles and two traditional Hula performers Ecco and Kaco. Photo Jeff Dawson

By Andrew McKinnon

A  surf management plan to underpin the recently announced World Surfing Reserve (WSR) for iconic surf breaks from Snapper Rocks on the Tweed-Gold Coast border to Burleigh Point was launched this week.

Hailed as a world-first, the much-anticipated 70-page Gold Coast Surf Management Plan, by Gold Coast City Council, looks into the wide range of surfing issues affecting the area as well as council’s ‘Ocean Beaches Strategy’.

The celebratory launch for the council’s official endorsement of the surfing reserve and its release of the plan was held at SurfWorld (surf museum) at Currumbin last Friday with federal MP for McPherson, Karen Andrews, state environment minister, Dr Stephen Miles (who presented the study) and several Gold Coast councillors in attendance.

The launch was followed by a brief documentary detailing how the Gold Coast was voted in as the 8th World Surfing Reserve: which will now be backed up by council’s surf management plan and managed by a local stewardship committee that will have direct input to council over surfing issues.

It’s a voice for the surfing community that was thought impossible in the day.

Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate has stated that the WSR is no longer ceremonial as with a SMP, it now means something especially with a LSC that can advise council.

It’s a huge shift in thinking but not a Jesus moment as both the WSR and SMP have worked alongside each other over the last 12 months and now they are a marriage in Heaven.

A couple of great reasons to celebrate at the Surfworld function where 70 invited guests dressed in Hawaiian shirts feeling the aloha spirit were entertained by the Happy Ohana Band playing songs like Blue Hawaii with hula dancing.

The 70-page SMP document is a meticulous study of the breaks from Snapper Rocks to South Straddie detailing the sand flow in historical diagrams with excellent photos depicting the wave quality from Point breaks to beach breaks.

The plan lays out how to deal with overcrowding issues without enforcing hard and fast regulation using education and etiquette while exploring building artificial reefs, artificial breaks and wave pools to create more surfing amenity.

Councillor Greg Betts from Burleigh and a member of the Burleigh Boardriders will be the chairman of the newly formed Local Stewardship Committee.

Thirty representatives from surfing stakeholders WSL, Surfing Qld, Surfrider Foundation, GCSurf Council, TRESP, Griffith Uni, Waterways and State and local government reps will form an advisory committee that barrister Gary Radcliff the legal advocate for Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve will be secretary.

Greg Betts told media that ‘Now we can address conflict-of-use issues that affect surfers’.

Former ASP Boss and now number one patron for Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve, Rabbit Bartholomew, was totally supportive adding that ‘we have to be responsible with balancing the needs of all groups that use the water, now our biggest asset, the beach, is fully recognised and we will be able to manage it properly’.

Dr Miles said he was proud of the work that had been done by council and that his government under Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had supported a WSR when the campaign first began in 2014. To view the surf management plan go online toqld.gov.au/documents/bf/surf-management-plan.pdf

The first LSC meeting was held on Tuesday, appropriately up on top of Kirra Hill in former Coolangatta school building now a Council community hall.

The next step for the WSR is a dedication ceremony on Tuesday, 8 March, at 8.30am Qld time at Point Danger overlooking Snapper Rocks attended by the Qld Premier and GC mayo,r with Rabbit Bartholomew appointed as MC.

World Champions like Joel Parkinson is expected to attend. The ceremony is open to the public and is free. A Welcome to Country ceremony and national anthem will be performed with the unveiling of the plaque which will be later erected at Big Groyne Kirra opposite the monument to the great ‘MP’ Michael Peterson.

Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve will undertake an ambitious road trip from Bondi to Noosa in Feb/March to expand on the WSR message with a Peruvian delegation headed by Peru’s first World Champion Felipe Pomar who still charges 30ft plus waves at 72.

The Australian Peruvian WSR Surfing Tour will kick off at Bondi Beach on 24 March with a demonstration of the Caballito de Totora reed board used for fishing and surfing in the last 5,000 years.

Huevito from Huanchaco, Peru the 5th WSR will demonstrate the art of riding the Sea Horse in the Bondi surf. The Caballito has never been seen surfing outside of Peru. Rabbit Bartholomew and Cheyne Horan will join the Peruvian delegation for this historical occasion at Bondi.

A special Peruvian night has been organised at Surf World on Friday 11 March with the screening of Angie Davis movie ‘Double Barrell’ on endangered point break Lobitos. 2004 World Womens Champion Sofia Mulanovich will join the Peruvian line-up as will Save the Waves Executive Director Nik Strong Cvetnich as part of Bleach Festival.

Well known photographer Simon ‘Swilly’ Williams has produced 10 poster surfing prints of Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Steph Gilmore, Bede Durbidge etc that have been signed by the pros and that will go under the auctioneers hammer at Rainbow Bay Surf Club on Thursday night 17 March.

Billed as the Surf Party of the Year during the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro, surf stars like Steph Gilmore, Rasta and Neal Purchase Jnr will join a special surprise International artist on stage to play live music in between the auction, lucky door prizes and heaps of raffles to raise money for charity. Open to the public but limited to 350 from 6.30pm. First in best dressed. Keep watching Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve FB page and GWSR Instagram.

Check out the mini clip produced by Save the Wave coalition, World Authority on WSR’s, at http://www.savethewaves.org/support-us/donate/.



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