Surf champs move is best
FAR North Coast Surf Life Saving branch president Wilson Cregan says the psychological benefit of moving the Australian championships away from Kurrawa Beach next year was too hard to ignore.
A new venue will be announced in coming months after consultation with Events Queensland and Gold Coast City Council.
The notorious stretch of beach claimed a third victim when 14-year-old Sunshine Coast competitor Matthew Barclay drowned at the Australian championships last month.
His death came two years after 19-year-old Saxon Bird drowned after getting hit by a surf ski, while 15-year-old Robert Gatenby drowned at the championships in 1996.
"The problem with the beach is that there are multiple breaks and the surf comes at you from a few different directions," Cregan said.
"We support the decision to move it for a few reasons but mainly for the psychological benefit of the competitors and family involved this year."
Cregan also hopes getting the event away from the stigma surrounding Kurrawa Beach will lead to an impartial review of Australian Surf Life Saving safety procedures, venues and supervision.
The event's size, duration, types of competition, age divisions and welfare issues are under review.
Cregan says the surf is impossible to control and accidents can occur at any beach at any time.
"There were two drownings at Byron Bay recently but the conditions were small and benign," he said.
"Any beach on any given day can be dangerous because there is always an unknown quantity.
"We will never be fully in control of our events because the conditions are changing constantly.
"Moving it (the Australian championships) doesn't mean it won't happen again either."
Byron Bay club secretary Max Tutt says moving it to Byron Bay isn't an option.
"Its one of those hard ones but we couldn't handle it because of the number of people who attend," he said.
"Some days it (Kurrawa) can be as safe as any other beach."
Cudgen competitor and coach Scott McCartney said the clubs weren't saying much about the issue but did support the move.
He didn't offer any suitable alternative venues for it to be moved to.