Wave of violence at The Pass
The 60-year-old local businessman, who did not wish to be named, was surfing at The Pass when he was attacked and spat at.
The aggressor rammed his board at the man repeatedly, smashing three large holes in his board.
“This is a well respected, well-liked business man. It was totally unprovoked,” a spokesperson from the Byron Bay Boardriders said.
Tensions have been rising in recent weeks as locals and tourists compete for waves at popular surfing spots.
The Pass is world renowned and is one of the busiest breaks in Australia.
Crowding has intensified in recent weeks due to good swells.
Local surfer Sput Keevers said it was not unusual for up to 120 surfers to congregate at the one spot at The Pass.
The combination of conditions made it a recipe for surf rage.
“It is a holiday destination, it is in close proximity to the Gold Coast and conditions have been perfect,” Mr Keevers said.
Mr Keevers said he no longer surfed at The Pass due to the crowding.
Local surfer Adam Morelli, who was at The Pass yesterday, said problems were mainly caused by inexperienced surfers who were unaware of surfing etiquette and ‘dropped in’ on others.
Mr Morelli said holiday times like Christmas and Easter were the worst for surf rage.
Other surfers said drugs and alcohol also contributed to the problem during the holiday season.
Northern NSW Lifeguard co-ordinator Stephen Leahy said surf rage was not unusual at this time of year and he had seen several incidents in recent weeks.
Popular surfing spots often become patrolled beaches in summer, causing surfers much frustration.
“Unfortunately, most of the time the best places to surf are also the best places to swim,” Mr Leahy said.