The sign was posted on a walkway to one of Ballina's iconic surf breaks. Picture: Rebecca Fist
The sign was posted on a walkway to one of Ballina's iconic surf breaks. Picture: Rebecca Fist

‘You shouldn’t be here’: Surfers fed up with non-locals

AT THE end of a sandy track overlooking one of Ballina’s finest surf breaks, a foreboding sign was hammered to the post.

The sign warned Byron Bay surfers they were not welcome to surf in Ballina.

Even if they had managed to dodge the police on their drive south, the laws of the surf had been laid down in plain sight.

The next day, the sign had vanished.

But it was there, and it begs the question, have COVID-19 laws been flaring up existing tensions between surfers?

Long-time Lennox Head surfer Max Perrot helped to shed some light on local surf culture.

“Most of the surfers most of the time are really good around here, people here are pretty friendly,” Mr Perrot said.

“Go to Snapper Rocks or The Pass and you won’t get the same attitude.

“The thing is, people here don’t really take shit from some people, they’ll tell you if you’re doing the wrong thing.

“The days of any real aggression are long, long gone.”

Mr Perrot said many Ballina surfers were fed up with Byron Bay surfers who were not abiding by the laws.

“We know some of the surfers, we know they’re from Byron Bay, and when we tell them, ‘you shouldn’t be here,’ instead of apologising and leaving they get aggressive and turn up the next day doing the same thing,” he said.

“That’s where the sign has probably come from.

“We’re all just trying to obey the rules.”

He said surfers were more tense than usual due to the pandemic.

“Everyone’s getting a bit paranoid about COVID-19, that’s adding another level to things,” Mr Perrot said.

“It’s a public health issue, all the people here have grandparents, last thing people want to do is catch it from someone out of area.”

Mr Perrot said that surfers who were respectful and courteous have always been welcome in local waters.



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