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



Surfer escapes life-threatening injury

Wategos Beach, Byron Bay.

Rescue chopper called off after surfing accident

Unions take to streets as Sunday penalty rates cut

Retail workers will be among those hit by the changes.

Thousands of lowest paid workers to be hit by changes to pay rates

Plan to rescue Richmond River from decades of decline

Aerial of the Richmond River, Ballina Bar Emigrant Creek Pacific High way Teven Interchange. Photo Jay Cronan / The Northern Star

"We can't let it keep going the way it's going.”

Local Partners

Buderim dad rejects gay son's emotional plea for second time

Bride and Prejudice: Son’s emotional plea rejected again by unmoved father

What's on the big screen this week

Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

This week's new releases offer plenty of variety for movie buffs.

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Hodges proud to be part of first channel dedicated to NRL

Justin Hodges is gearing up for his new gig on Fox League.

Footy star hopes to provide a voice for players on new NRL channel

Selling Houses renovate for Salvos in 100th episode

Charlie Albone, Andrew Winter and Shaynna Blaze return for season 10 of Selling Houses Australia. Supplied by Foxtel.

Selling Houses launch 10th season in volatile property market

NORPA founder brings us Opera Australia

FOR KIDS: James Payne as Troll and Ruth Strutt as Ferdinand in El Kid, Opera Australia's production for primary schools.

El Kid comes to Albert Park Public School

Furious Price wants to quit I'm a Celeb after clash with Keira

Steve Price has threatened to quit the jungle.

Will camp ration clash with Keira cause Steve to call it quits?

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!