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Mates don helmets for Pascal

An experienced Byron Bay surfer weaves through the holiday crowds at The Pass in Byron Bay.
An experienced Byron Bay surfer weaves through the holiday crowds at The Pass in Byron Bay. Jay Cronan

BYRON Bay surfer Pascal Dattler, 10, who sustained an horrific head injury from a stray surfboard at The Pass last week, will not be alone when he returns to the water wearing a surf helmet.

Pascal’s father, Thomas Dattler, said his son’s mates, all keen surfers, had collectively challenged the ‘uncool’ notion of surf helmets by deciding to wear the safety devices themselves in support of their friend, and to protect themselves from a repeat occurrence at the crowded pointbreak.

“The doctors have said Pascal will have to wear one when he returns to the water so his mates, who all surf out there together, have gone out and ordered 10 funky helmets from Western Australia,” Mr Dattler said.

“They have also put rubber tips on the noses on their boards. I can’t understand why we don’t have them on all boards, there would be no impediment to performance, especially for beginners.”

Pascal, who will be out of the water for another four to six weeks, was recovering well at home and his doctors were amazed at the boy’s progress.

“We took him to the GP today who said just another centimetre and he would have been blinded or killed,” Mr Dattler said.

Meanwhile, the community of Byron Bay is rallying to address problems at The Pass.

Byron Bay’s Chamber Of Commerce is planning a forum in the near future to look at ways to improve surf safety.

“We want to get the whole surfing community together to figure out the best options,” Byron United president Ed Ahern said. “We need to be proactive in this.”

Debate in the community, the media and internet surfing forums has been intense during the past few days as community members, interest groups and onlookers argue about the best way to manage one of Australia’s most famous surfbreaks.

Local surfer and businessman Andy Gordon, who joined with surfers on Monday calling for better surf education and a self-regulated designation of surfing zones like the ski fields, called for calm.

“This issue shouldn’t be sidetracked by interested parties. It is really simple, this is a safety issue,” he said.

“I’m just a parent with kids that surf and we just want to keep them having an awesome time in the safest way possible,” he said.

Read more...

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