Lennox dedicates national surfing reserve

By RACHEL AFFLICK rachel.afflick@northernstar.com.au WHEN Ballina man Barry Regan became one of the first people to surf the breaks of Lennox Point, he never imagined 50 years on he would see the area declared a national icon.

On his way home from the 1958 national surf lifesaving championships at Mooloolaba Mr Regan decided to stop at Lennox, but the road was ‘terrible’. When the bitumen gave way to an old mining track, he wondered if he’d ‘done the right thing’.

“But when I arrived it was a beautiful sunny day, there was a nice beach break and a full tide and I paddled out to the point for a few waves,” he said.

On Saturday Mr Regan, now a Ballina local, was thrilled to witness the declaration of Lennox as a National Suring Reserve – an iconic site of environmental, cultural and historical significance to the Australian surfing culture.

New South Wales Minister for Lands Tony Kelly attended the ceremony at the Pat Morton Lookout to announce the formation of the Reserve, which stretches from the south side of Flat Rock through to Lennox Main Beach.

While the move is largely symbolic in nature and does not contain any new laws protecting the area, local board-shaper Phil Myers said it would help the community fight overdevelopment by recognising Lennox as an iconic place in Australian surfing.

“It is the equivalent to the MCG in surfing terms,” he said.

“It reminds people this is a special place and that when they’re surfing here they should pay it respect.”

The Lennox National Surfing Reserve will become only Australia’s fourth, behind Bells Beach, Maroubra and Angourie.

National Surfing Reserves chairman Brad Farmer said the declaration of reserve status had been a long time coming.

“For the last 40 years surfing as a culture in Australia has been sidelined by mainstream society. Surfing has come of age,” he said.

Director of the ASP World Tour and former world champion Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew described the decision as a ‘wonderful’ development in Australian surfing.

“I have very fond memories of surfing here, from way back in the early 70s,” he said.

“My first introduction was a magical day in 1971. There was about an eight-foot surf and some of my absolute lifetime heroes were out there.”

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