Shark surveillance to stay at Lennox Oz Grom comps
AERIAL shark surveillance is likely to become a regular fixture at the annual Lennox Head Skullcandy Oz Grom surfing competition, contest director Tony O'Brien said.
This year's junior surfing comp is the first time the event has employed aircraft for shark surveillance since it began in 2012.
The extra surveillance measures were brought in following a life-threatening attack on a bodyboarder in Ballina the day before the competition was due to start and another attack on a surfer at Lennox Point the morning of the first day of competition.
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A helicopter, fixed wing plane, three jet skis and an inflatable rescue boat have been patrolling the Lennox Head surf where 272 juniors have been competing.
Mr O'Brien said they would continue aerial and water surveillance today minus the fixed wing plane as the competition moves into the quarter finals.
"If there's any (shark) sightings around a certain area near the contest site we put it on hold until there's no further sightings or the animal has been moved out of the area," he said.
Mr O'Brien said there would be discussion post-event about plans for next year and how aerial surveillance would be maintained and who would pay for it.
"I think we can safely say that we'll have some form of aerial surveillance (and) we'll obviously maintain the water vessels that are in place at the moment," he said.
Despite initial uncertainties about whether or not the competition would go ahead, Mr O'Brien said it had turned out to be the biggest event so far, with 52 more competitors than last year.