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Threat to one of the world's best beach breaks lifted, for now

Kelly Slater © Kirstin Scholtz/WSL



Environment Updates

South Straddie to be included in Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 17 February, 2015 - Currumbin, Gold Coast - The iconic beach break known as South Straddie or TOS (The Other Side) will now be included in the nomination for the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve proposal. South Straddie on the Northern End of the Gold Coast was in danger of being threatened by a Cruise Ship Terminal development to be based at Wave Break Island on the inside of the Southport Seaway.

“There was no quarantee that abnormal dredging of the Southport Seaway to allow for Cruise Ships would not adversely impact on the surf breaks TOS on the Northside and the Southport Spit on the Southside of the Seaway outlet,” said Chairman of Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve Andrew McKinnon.

McKinnon explained how South Straddie was always within the sites of a Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve but it wouldn’t have passed approval by the World Governing Authority on World Surfing Reserves because of the imposing threat.

“That threat to one of the World’s best beach breaks has now been lifted by the new Premier of Qld State Government Annastacia Palaszczuk who campaigned heavily on supporting the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve and opposing the Wave Break Island development,” said Chairman of Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve Andrew McKinnon.

This time last year at the Quiksilver Pro, Annastacia Palaszczuk the then Leader of the Qld State Opposition boldly offered unequivocal support for the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve. And now 12 months later the GCWSR plan for Burleigh Heads to Snapper Rocks including South Straddie has gained momentum and is on track.

The CEO of Gold Coast City Council Dale Dickson has offered a pathway for Council to consider the GCWSR application. Dickson who is Chairman of the newly formed Surf Management Plan Advisory Committee has recommended that the committee look at the possibility of such a World Reserve pending a number of questions re Council’s responsibility, liability, management, costs etc.

The SMPAC is an eclectic bunch including surfing reps, WSL (World Surf League), Surfing Qld, Surfrider, GCSurf Council, NSR, SLSQ, and various Engineering, Academic and Council advisers who are well served to make recommendations of the Gold Coasts beach and surf amenity program. And now the GCWSR nomination has been given the opportunity to be part of GCCC Ocean Beaches strategy.

This process will conclude by 30th June and then be sent to Council for approval and with State Governments already stated approval, the nomination will be sent to the World Authority in time for their October deadline cut-off. To be approved by the World governing body, the GCWSR nomination must have support from State Gov and Council and the WSR area be not threatened.  

Only one nomination per year is endorsed and already Bali’s Uluwatu, and Chile are in the running while Punta de Lobos looks to be next WSR. Obviously the change of Government in Qld has given the GCWSR a big leg up and with approval to be sought from Gold Coast City Council, Gold Coast is definitely in the running.

It’s not a matter of if but when for a dedication ceremony to be held for such a historic occasion. In a way this movement for preserving and protection Gold Coast iconic breaks was motivated by the Bring Back Kirra Campaign and the Australia Day Paddle out in 2009 which witnessed both sides of State Gov supporting Kirra.

GC Mayor Tom Tate agreed to extend Big Groyne but then Kirra was threatened by an Ocean Terminal at North Kirra/Bilinga.  In January 2014, 4000 people rallied at North Kirra standing in the sand in the shape WSR - World Surfing Reserve forcing former Premier Campbell Newman to scuttle the development.

As 2012 World Champ Joel Parkinson said at the North Kirra Rally last year in support of a World Surfing Reserve, “We don’t want to be protesting every 10 to 15 years!”

World Surfing Reserves was founded in 2009 by an international group of surfers, scientists and environmentalists, to create and manage an ongoing, global network of Surfing Reserves that are recognized by the international surfing and environmental communities, and the general public. The network seeks to add an additional layer of protection for the areas, build local stewardship capacity, and educate the public about the value of these special places. To qualify as a World Surfing Reserve, sites normally possess the following as minimum criteria:

A globally-significant surf spot or outstanding series of surf breaks; Unique environmental characteristics along with a strong passion to protect them; a rich surf culture and history, and strong community support. Sites are evaluated on a combination of the above criteria, so in certain instances areas that score very high in one category and lower in another might still qualify and be accepted. Conversely, sites that score extremely low on one of the criteria might not be accepted despite ranking high on others. For more info

The GCWSR Inc. committee is : World Patron Wayne Rabbit Bartholomew, Chairman Andrew McKinnon, Secretary Nicole Glennon, Treasurer Megan McKinnon, NSR & WSR co-ordinator Chris Butler, Academic advocate Dan Ware (Griffith Uni),Academic Advocate Tor Hundloe (Bond Uni), Engineering  John Standing, Surfrider Tweed /Gold Coast Greg Howell, Surfing Qld President John Charlton, SLSQ Gold Coast co-ordinator Nathan Fife, Save Our Spit & North End Club  Darren Crawford, Graphic design and artistic director Madeline Rawlings and Barrister Gary Radcliff. 

There are 22 Gold Coast based World Champions or who have won World Titles while connected to the Gold Coast including 11 times WC Kelly Slater a resident ratepayer of the Gold Coast.


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