News

Veteran surfer warns of the dangers of crowding

Good swell brought surfers out in droves at Lennox Head yesterday.
Good swell brought surfers out in droves at Lennox Head yesterday. Marc Stapelberg

SUMMER surfing crowds are so intense that a veteran local surfer has warned he is more worried about a death in the water from a surfboard collision than a shark attack.

Prime surf breaks from Lennox Head to Broken Head and The Pass at Byron Bay were packed yesterday, with the conditions bringing boardriders out in droves.

January is always crowded, but Byron Bay surf photographer and writer Ben Bennink said it was the "craziest summer" he had ever witnessed.

"It's very intense in the water at the moment," Mr Bennink said. "The crowds in the water have changed - there's an attitude there.

"I know a lot of people who have just gone to ground. They've said 'that's it, I'm just not surfing'.

"It's only a matter of time (before someone gets hurt)."

Mr Bennink admitted overcrowding at breaks across the North Coast had been an issue for several years, but it was getting worse.

"Surfing has become extremely popular and there's a lot more people in the water with less experience," he said.

"What I see now is a lot of people who just grab a board and think 'let's try surfing' and naturally they just see a crowd and say 'let's go there'."

The problem of learners not being aware or in control, and surfers "dropping in" on others also made frustration "spread like contagion" through the line up, Mr Bennink said.

"When it gets crowded, the nature of the crowd changes ... there's more aggression," he said. Asked for a solution, he struggled to suggest one, except for learners staying away from crowds, and experienced surfers waiting their turn.

Topics:  lennox head, surfer, surfing




Jodie inspires rugby team to wear pink at Charity Day

The Marist Brothers Rams wore pink to support Jodie McRae (centre) and her charity, Jodie's Inspiration, at the Rugby League Football Club Day on the weekend.

Marist Brothers help Jodie's Inspiration raise money for hospitals.

Kicking the TinCAN art show to help the elderly

CATCHING A TRAIN TO MOROCCO: This was one of the entries in the Tintenbar Art Show's photographic competition. Photo Contributed

The Tintenbar Art Show is on again over September

Fun time to run after the Olympics are over

FINISHED WELL: Runners in the Greater Casino Fun Run cross the line last year. Photo Samantha Elley / Express Examiner

Starlight Children's Foundation to benefit from fun run

Latest deals and offers

What's on the small screen this week

MasterChef Australia's final four contestants, from left, Harry Foster, Elena Duggan, Elise Franciskovic and Matt Sinclair.

MASTERCHEF makes way for The Bachelor on Ten's reality TV slate.

Splendour found The Cure

Robert Smith at the Splendour in the Grass Amphitheatre stage during The Cure's show.

Day two of Splendour in the Grass

Guy Sebastian a hit at Splendour in the Grass

Guy Sebastian performs at Splendour in the Grass with Paces.

REALITY TV judge a hit with festival crowd.

Splendour revellers cool down with giant poo emoji

The Mr Poopie sculpture at Splendour in the Grass.

Mr Poopie sculpture is inspired by the ice cream/poop emoticon.

Superheroes of the big screen enjoy sounds of Splendour

CHRIS Hemsworth and his Avengers mates drop by Byron festival.

Indigenous artist shows tourists secrets of Aboriginal painting

Ever thought "I could do that" about Aboriginal art?

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started