Waverley Council considers banning surfing at North Bondi
Surfers at Bondi Beach have reacted furiously to suggestions they could be banned from using its northern end, with one surfer dismissing it as "overkill".
The council in charge of the beachfront is reviewing whether it should restrict all boards with fins to the southern end of the beach, including soft boards popular with children and other beginners.
According to Waverley Council's current regulations, soft boards are allowed anywhere apart from between the red-and-white flags, while hard boards made of fibreglass are confined to the southern breaks.
In a survey of beach users as part of its annual risk review, the council noted the 900-metre-long beach was used by an "incredible amount of competing user groups".
It said that 84 per cent of people used the water outside the flags.
The proposal drew an angry response from surfers at the beach this morning, with Bondi local Shane Hartwig describing it as "overkill".
"The beach is for everybody," he said. "There's enough regulation in Australia without having to stop things because of perceived danger."
Fellow surfer Don Atkinson dismissed it as "craziness".
"It would be really dangerous to push every single surfboard on the whole beach down into that south corner, I think it's really nuts," he said.
Bondi Board Riders president Ian Wallace said the ban would be wide-reaching.
"Paddle boards, surf skis, nippers boards … essentially they all have fins," he said.
"The southern end of the beach is the most dangerous end, it has the biggest waves and it has more rips.
"You're going to put everyone down in that one end and then you're going to throw your learners in there, your kids in there … it just can't work."
A spokeswoman for the council said the survey would be open for 28 days. She said no decision would be made until after the results were analysed.
A Waverly Council spokesperson said beach operations were reviewed every year.
"This year, Council is also consulting on a number of specific items, following feedback Councillors received from residents," they said.
"We are seeking input from the wider community, including stakeholders from key beach user groups.
"The Waverley Council Lifeguard Service Risk Review survey is part of this wider risk review."
//Jade MacMillan and Michelle Brown
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