Marc Stapelberg

Pool or beach? It's a tough decision this long weekend

WHILE the warmer weather usually means a flocking to the coast for a swim in the ocean, the ongoing shark sightings have some questioning whether or not to go with a safer inland option.

However, fear of sharks didn't seem to deter the tourists, with many visitors from Brisbane and the Gold Coast at Flat Rock on Friday, enjoying the surf and watching the Ballina Seabird Rescue turtle release.

Ballina Pool senior lifeguard Paul Russo said he expected the pool to be busy this year, but no more than usual.

He said the thing more likely to make it a busy year would be the El Nino weather cycle which brings with it hotter and drier conditions.

"It's been busy this week and quiet the first week because we had all of that terrible weather," he said.

Brisbane father Greg Choma, who has been holidaying in Ballina for four years, said the recent shark attacks and sightings have made him more cautious.

"We've been pretty cautious, certainly this year, but it hasn't kept us completely out of the water," he said.

"Certainly we've found some protected areas in amongst the rocks, and closer in."

Brisbane teenager Tom Adamson, 16, said the shark issue had made him hesitant to swim out as far in the surf as he used to.

"We've been to the beaches, but we haven't been swimming as much and we've been swimming in amongst the rocks."

Gold Coast father Justin Young, who regularly visits Ballina, said he hadn't changed his beach swimming habits, but was more cautious.

"Not so much for myself, but I'm worried when the kids go in," he said.

"There's nothing you can do about it except look."

Melinda Little from the Gold Coast said it hadn't changed her ocean swimming habits at all.

"It's their ocean. I think the media's just making a bit of a gimmick about it."

While water holes and quarries may seem like a great alternative, many have also seen their fair share of tragedy.

Since 2011, At least one person has died and four people seriously injured at The Island Quarry in Byron Bay. There have also been three deaths at Hanging Rocks Falls, near Nimbin, over the past decade - the most at the start of the year.

A man also died jumping from Dalwood Falls in January last year,

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