Is it time to rethink the rules of surfing?

Lazlo
Surfpolitik

A month ago an article appeared on Swellnet written by blindboy lamenting the reality that many breaks are crowded to overcrowded and this is likely to get worse in the future. While the article ended in (another) dig at the commercialisation of surfing as being a root cause of the rising popularity of surfing, which I think is a fairly shallow cause and effect argument, the issues raised in the article are nevertheless important to a great many surfers and our enjoyment of waves.

Despite the age of the ‘hypercrowd’, the reality is that most Gold Coast surfers (where I have the most reliable survey data for) continue to surf because it is cathartic, fun, active and allows surfers to appreciate nature. Sport is important, competition less so. These are incredibly powerful and attractive forces that drive people to surfing, and I think it’s reasonable to argue that even if this thing that we call the surf industry fell over tomorrow, the overall number of surfers and the number of surfing sessions would continue to rise. This is certainly not an original idea.

But to drive to the heart of blindboy’s argument, I think Glenn Hening (co-founder of Surfrider Foundation) summed it up best when he wrote that "surfers get sick of each other more than they get sick from pollution". And Hening is right. My survey data suggests that isues such as aggression in the line-up, petty vandalism (e.g. car being broken into) and access are just about as likely to keep someone out of the water as the risk of contracting gastro, an ear infection or a skin rash. 

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The crowd at Snapper Rocks (photo Shayne Nienaber)

So, what are the strategies for managing the carrying capacity of popular surfbreaks? Well in simple terms you either increase supply or manage demand – or of course do nothing. From a supply and demand perspective, there are three main strategies available – regulation, education and modification of the resource. Let’s look at each of these in turn.

Regulation involves managing the demand for waves. A number of options exist, including but not limited to:

  • Restrict users through strategies such as payments, restricted access or parking, craft registration, restricted time in the water, zoning that requires surfers to give way to motorised craft.
  • Modify user behaviour using legislation such as requiring proficiency to surf particular areas or policing a surf break on jetskis.
  • Community title restricts unlimited access (e.g. Tavarua).
  • Declaration of reserves (while no ‘surfing reserves’ restrict access, the existence of council bathing reserves, gives municipalities the right to exclude some users – e.g. restricted access for recreational surfers during competitions).

Education and advocacy involves using informal management tools to change the behaviour of surfers and alter the demand for waves. Examples include:

  • Codes of ethics such as rules e.g. don’t drop in etc.
  • Education strategies run by surf schools to encourage surfers to choose waves equal to their ability.
  • Surf rage, aggression, intimidation.
  • Lore / local rules e.g. longstanding cultural norms about the type of craft ridden at certain breaks.
  • Changing gender balance at a number of breaks often leads to an easing of tensions in the water.

Modification of the resource base involves changing the form of the resource to improve (but let’s face it to also reduce) access, frequency and/or quality of waves. Examples include:

  • Construction of hard coastal protection infrastructure e.g. groynes, seawalls, artificial reefs.
  • Soft infrastructure measures such as sand bypass systems, beach and nearshore sandbar grooming, beach nourishment campaigns.
  • Changes to water quality (good or bad) may encourage more or less surfing at a location. This may be about the quality of the water itself or that we may not be comfortable sharing the water if the threat of shark presence is increased. 

codigo-surf-758x1024.jpgI want to dive into a discussion on Surfing Rules for a moment. They are for the most part informally sanctioned by the majority of surfers, even though there is no basis in legislation for them. But in particular, let’s look at one of the fundamental aspects of the ‘code’ – that of one surfer per wave. I guess it fortified around the time board technology made it possible and more enjoyable for only one surfer at a time (in most cases) to sit in the sweet spot of a wave. To get maximum enjoyment a shortboarder is limited to riding the pocket of the wave to maintain the speed and power they need. And so it became an unwritten rule. It also appears to make some sense from a safety perspective, given the potential of an out of control board/surfer to create havoc and injury.

But what if we were to question this rule and to suggest that it not stand in all places and at all times? Would the opening up of waves to more than one surfer at a time reduce hypercrowding crowding issues, and at the same time increase the enjoyment that many surfers have? Let me suggest a few pros and cons:

The enormous variety of boards surfed today has really broken down the longboard/shortboard rivalry in many places. Many surfers don’t need to sit in the pocket to ride and enjoy.
Surfing two or three to a wave can be technically challenging (assuming you are riding and sharing the face and not just angling to the shore). Personally, watching surfers share a wave, dancing across its lines, is one of the most pleasurable things I have ever seen in surfing. 

If every wave got turned into a party wave or every shorboarder was dropped in on by an ageing and unfit mal rider there would be blood in the water very quickly. But I’m not suggesting this happen nor that the core of modern surfing be ripped out and replaced with some doey-eyed version of reality. Surfers are too hedonistic and selfish for that anyway. But just what if, next time you lose count of the number of surfers in the water at your local break, the one surfer per wave rule gets replaced – and as you take off you call in another couple of surfers. Just a thought…..//NEIL LAZAROW

Comments

neville-beats-buddha's picture
neville-beats-buddha's picture
neville-beats-buddha commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 2:50pm

Why not make places like First Point Noosa permanently multi rider waves? Can think of a few places it could work - Bellambi, The Kick, Fishos.

Stok's picture
Stok's picture
Stok commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 2:54pm

Night surfing needs to become a thing

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 2:56pm

That photo saddens and sickens me.

Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
Hako o hakonde ... commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 3:17pm

I thought it was photoshopped, I hope it was.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 3:21pm

Has to be photoshopped .

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 3:23pm

Nup, no Photoshop.

islandman's picture
islandman's picture
islandman commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 3:09pm

heres an idea dont surf snapper or noosa and go searching its a big country

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 3:23pm

Here's a better idea.

Keep surfing Noosa and Snapper cause the sort of crew that make up the above photo don't deserve to surf amongst civilised people.

Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
Hako o hakonde ... commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 4:07pm

Like

Tarzan71's picture
Tarzan71's picture
Tarzan71 commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 3:54pm

bahaha, guess I am getting old but I have my best surfs with next to nobody about. Have never understood the mentality of wave sharing and surfing with 600 of your nearest and dearest.
I totally agree Blowin, keep the mobs in QLD at the points and leave the rest of us in peace.

garyg1412's picture
garyg1412's picture
garyg1412 commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 4:00pm

Here's a better better idea.

Move where it's [email protected] cold (maybe south of 40 degrees) and you will be looking for people to surf with!!!

jasper99's picture
jasper99's picture
jasper99 commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 4:04pm

How about people just use some common sense?

tonybarber's picture
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tonybarber commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 4:50pm

Sounds good but that ain't so common.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 4:27pm

I agree that it is time for a rethink before someone decides to do it for us. None of the possibilities are particularly attractive but the wave sharing approach has some positives. Many years ago in Hawaii I fell into a wave sharing arrangement with one of the locals at Rocky lefts and, apart from the fact that it doubled our wave count it was a lot of fun. My main reservation is about competency. Where I surf there would be a good 50% plus of the crowd on the beach breaks that I wouldn't want to share a wave with.
I also stand by my original observation that "commercialisation" has had a huge impact on the quantity and quality of crowds but accept that it is only an opinion. It will be interesting when the promotional value of surfing imagery declines, as it surely will being simply a fashion, to see if the crowds decrease or increase more slowly. My bet it that at sometime in the next 20-30 years surfing images will disappear from mainstream advertising.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 10:35pm

To judge by your reaction to Shaun Thompson's drop in , I'd say the wave sharing " arrangement " between you and the local saw him dropping in on you and you surfing behind him....with a high five at the end.

Pulsatingpete's picture
Pulsatingpete's picture
Pulsatingpete commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 4:33pm

And the meek shall get a wave ,
If that's alright with the rest of you.

tonybarber's picture
tonybarber's picture
tonybarber commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 4:49pm

If demand has outstripped supply, as shown on certain days, at certain locations then build more supply. Can't see why Surfrider don't lobby governments, councils to build the reefs, breaks, sand bars, whatever for the increased demand. They build parks, ramps, courts, fields, tracks do for all other sports.
Forget about changing behaviour. If you think surfing will decrease, dye off, whatever then just say to yourself - 'I'm taking up knitting'.

Terminal's picture
Terminal's picture
Terminal commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 4:55pm

Don't sweat it hey, as soon as sea surface temperatures are sufficient for Irukandji to persist in SEQ waters the lineups will become a lot thinner (and the economy ;-) )

wellymon's picture
wellymon's picture
wellymon commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 5:00pm

Oh No !.. Not again Neil.

Crowds and drop in's, are pretty much here to stay on the North Goldie thru to Coolie area, without a doubt. As well with other famous, well populated breaks around the world?
There is absolutely no way in this world, all these laws/regulations could or will be enforced.

IMO deal with the crowd and put ya greedy ugly attitude head on! or go somewhere else.
I would prefer to go somewhere else, it's easy. it's more soulful and I think that is what surfing is about.

" To get maximum enjoyment a shortboarder is limited to riding the pocket of the wave to maintain the speed and power they need. And so it became an unwritten rule."

Can't us log riders, ride in the pocket as well?.... ;)

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

tonybarber's picture
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tonybarber commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 5:07pm

Yeah, the search is half the buzz.

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 5:11pm

Just enjoy the present when the crowds are not too bad, because there is no solution and things are going to only get worse...my solution is i will probably just do more fishing as i get older.

yehmateyeh's picture
yehmateyeh's picture
yehmateyeh commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 5:39pm

Just get out of the city (or whatever the hell the Gold Coast is). There's STACKS of good, unridden waves in this country. City slickers just want to have their cake and eat it too

Yehmateyeh

many-rivers's picture
many-rivers's picture
many-rivers commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 6:07pm

no no no , think of the carbon consumed, the pies regurgitated , the disappointment at driving 600 klms to watch the locals get the best set waves.........
better to stay home all the time, really .

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 6:07pm

Problem is , there isn't unlimited wave resources, esp. in QLD.
Sure you can spend 3hrs headbutting to surf close-outs on the Beachies when there's a swell running...but that wears thin pretty quick.
Fact is, there's a helluva lot of days when there are few surf spots to go around, especially when there's any sort of swell running.

Wave sharing raises the question of competency. It also raises the question of agency: wave sharing according to who? The bloke about to drop in?

Wave sharing is already the status quo at most QLD pointbreaks as the photo demonstrates.

I share waves with my best mate and brother at the Point but we've been doing it for years....a glance and an "it's on" and it's on. It is great.
But when some clueless Euro is madly paddling down the line into the wave you are streaking across, shutting down the barrel section or losing his board over your head, it isn't great.

Like most crowd dynamics in surfing it works great in a smallish , competent crowd and quickly turns to chaos when numbers get too great. Thats simple psychology ; Calhoun's Behavioural Sink. As seen in glorious slo-mo during the last great super-bank swells.

spidermonkey's picture
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spidermonkey commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 6:15pm

Sharing waves can be fun, But, critical sections demand a clear run, set line, focus, drive through.Jeez sometimes there's no choice, You've just got to hold You're line regardless. Opening a can of worms there imo. Maybe with prior mutual consent. or only if the inside surfer calls it......Was that go , or noooo...You said go.

Badgerindabay's picture
Badgerindabay's picture
Badgerindabay commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 6:59pm

Exactly! we surf with our mates, crowds, or as less sometimes alone! your wave is just that, YOURS! our own expression of whats in front of you! not knts dropping in!

Badgerindabay's picture
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Badgerindabay commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 6:29pm

Hi all on the "search" places like Snapper will have to end up with, ballots, designated wave time. crowds will only increase [as I've found out in my last 12 yrs of my piece of paradise]. There needs to be major communication between, board-rider clubs, surf-lifesaving, and water police regarding use of jet skis in the surf zone! and the crowd problem! I've grown up old school, respect locals and the next person wherever you go. There seems to be a whole lot of latter generations that have no respect for themselves or anybody else! The horse has already bolted! good luck to bring it back!

Badgerindabay's picture
Badgerindabay's picture
Badgerindabay commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 6:41pm

...And as for the closing beach's. that's what we wait for, a FN good swell. FU to gold coast mayor for bagging surfers for going out when they close the beach's! people spend money and fly in when it's pumping! yes adds to the crowds, but there must, and has to be away to be sustainable and enjoyable!

muffsic's picture
muffsic's picture
muffsic commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 6:49pm

The days of uncrowded waves in any area close to a metropolis in Australia are gone for good - unless there is any substantial size which sorts the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Still plenty of uncrowded places a couple of hours drive away, but little solace for the majority who have work/family commitments.

No doubt commercialisation of the sport has been a substantial factor in the increased crowds as we become homogonised and acceptable (and even desirable!) to the masses.

Waves are a limited resource, which brings out the darker side of the human psyche - no diffferant to the inside trader or corrupt official prepared to do what it takes to get ahead. The only solution will be either some form of regulation, as surfers will be unable to regulate themselves properly or greater commercialistaion through wave pools (like Slaters) or enforced areas (Tavarua) on a pay per wave basis.

For the vast majority of surfers neither option is going to offer any great hope.

Enjoy what you have now, because in 20 years you will look back with fondness on 2016 and the (relative) lack of crowds. Apologies to all for putting a dampener on their weekend.

Badgerindabay's picture
Badgerindabay's picture
Badgerindabay commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 7:10pm

MP said when the thruster was invented, that now anyone can surf!, Iv'e been thru the early surf-ski revolution, now the stand-up paddle boards have more than taken over! sure they have a right to be there, but it sure has changed my serenity!

Badgerindabay's picture
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Badgerindabay commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 7:45pm

So true, in the major inferno's, there will have to be some sort of regulation, unfortunately! but the population will just keep moving!

wally's picture
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wally commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 7:08pm

I think what Neil proposes already happens. At Snapper, the one surfer one wave rule has been replaced. You see all those drop-ins, it's generally because, begrudgingly, it is accepted. You hope to be allowed to complete a section, then it's kind of accepted it might be someone else's turn.

Just don't drop in on my head. Give me a few metres room and we'll see how we go.

When Rainbow Bay is in its mellow mal phase, you often see 2 or 3 surfers cruising along on the same wave. With the recent long swell and the great banks, drop-ins just don't work on long, single section, shallow, hollow drainers.

theween's picture
theween's picture
theween commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 7:34pm

Time to issue surf passes at places like Snapper? Have been there recently and the same blokes take wave after wave - no concept of sharing. Don't agree with sharing the same wave tho' - too tricky for the average punter to negotiate!

The Ween

Badgerindabay's picture
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Badgerindabay commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 8:00pm

Been lucky to surf a place regularly, 2 hr drive. could be 10 out, 4, or none! the weird thing is none . throwing yourself in the ocean with nobody around, priceless! but still a bit weird! maybe the sharks!

mibs-oner's picture
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mibs-oner commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 8:04pm

Groundhog Day

Badgerindabay's picture
Badgerindabay's picture
Badgerindabay commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 8:23pm

we are at ninja stage, get in get out before the crew turns up!

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 10:26pm

Two surfers per wave??? Maybe small Mal waves but if that is where it heads I would not bother surfing.

I would be interested to hear from Sydney surfers on crowd levels now compared to 10 years ago. Is it much worse? I sense a bit of a plateau in surfing at the younger ages - it is not so much fun in the crowds and there are so many more distractions these days than say 30 years ago.

Overall crowds stay high due to the wider demographic surfing from 6 to 70+ than in the 1970s for example.

Where I surf mainly the really good obvious days get packed but day to day there were more surfers hitting the local beaches every weekend 30 years ago than now. They had nothing else to do unless they played footy. By bus, car or mum they would arrive and spend the day at the beach with little packs on the sand every 50 metres or so making the most of what was happening. The bodyboard boom was bad too.

Now many of these would be at the gym, on their i-phone at home, playing computer games watching endless TV box sets etc.

Population growth at places like Byron have obvious had an impact but what is Manly like day to day these days where the catchment population is more stable in size??

How many kiddies are now playing some other sport after all those shark attacks??

By the way a mate surfer Greenmount shortly after the Quickie pro and got heaps of waves - so the AA+ days get crazy but maybe not everyday as some photos suggest.

Frogg

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Saturday, 9 Apr 2016 at 7:59am

I'd be interested too.

Last few times I've been to Sydney it's kind of shocking how kooky the crowd is.
Seems like mostly adult beginners.

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 10:37pm

Working remote in southern Australia I'm still surprised at the sheer enormity of beaches and breaks with not a soul out that I saw. By plane, by land.

adam12's picture
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adam12 commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 10:50pm

Regulation......Education......Modification...... the surfers code.....load of bullshit. Only one rule in dysfunctional line ups: Dog eat dog. Always was, always will be.

johpg's picture
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johpg commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 11:17pm

Wavepools can increase supply.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Friday, 8 Apr 2016 at 11:35pm

Yeah and Krispy Kreme outlets Provide so much supply that fat people never eat elsewhere.

blindboy's picture
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blindboy commented Saturday, 9 Apr 2016 at 12:16am

I had my best wave ever at the Krispy Creme Surf Centre!

southey's picture
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southey commented Saturday, 9 Apr 2016 at 12:34am

" SA's Reserve Capacity "

southey's picture
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southey commented Saturday, 9 Apr 2016 at 12:37am

Not sure why anyone would want to live on the gold coast , if that image at the top of this page is the pinnacle .
The above image is what the supabank reminds me of .

" SA's Reserve Capacity "

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Saturday, 9 Apr 2016 at 12:57am

Ha ha ha ha ! Classic, I'm on the phone to Kelly to set up the Sydney logistics at this very moment. I've picked out a beaut spot downwind of the runway. Off shore every take off. That's the Premium Package of course.

penmister's picture
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penmister commented Saturday, 9 Apr 2016 at 9:03am

Not a grom in sight

dandandan's picture
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dandandan commented Saturday, 9 Apr 2016 at 5:12pm

I agree with the author that the number of people surfing is likely to go up regardless of the commercialisation of surfing, but I absolutely agree with BB that the commercialisation of surfing as exacerbated the appeal of surfing. With, I should add, the creation of enormous amounts of once-fashionable trash. The fashion industry, which all the big name surf brands essentially are, is a horrid beast - be gone with it!

I fully accept that surfing will continue to grow, but I bang my head against the wall with all the money and fame hungry attention seekers who continue to do their best to capitalise on the joys of surfing. Every year once uncrowded surf spots are gifted with another surf resort, followed by another and another, making once slightly uncomfortable spots appealing to even the most closed-minded. MOre and more brands, inside and outside the realm of surfing, use the lifestyle to sell more and more rubbish products that go into the sea. And even down south in cold Tasmania people are seemingly desperate to publicise the empty breaks on Instagram or FB or any other way they can draw attention to themselves. It's relentless.

I'm with Indo Dreaming (as usualy) and will be doing a bit more fishing than surfing when the crowds get out of control in the future haha.

penmister's picture
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penmister commented Saturday, 9 Apr 2016 at 5:44pm

Cry me a river

chook's picture
chook's picture
chook commented Saturday, 9 Apr 2016 at 6:39pm

same as it ever was...
i haven't seen any change in my lifetime....in 1975 you couldn't just rock up at north narrabeen, snapper or even shitty bronte reef and expect to get a set wave.
and now, just like in 1975, you can always find yourself a wave if you can travel a little bit, read a tide chart and work out which direction the wind is from.

Coaster's picture
Coaster's picture
Coaster commented Saturday, 9 Apr 2016 at 7:56pm

chook wrote: same as it ever was...
i haven't seen any change in my lifetime....in 1975 you couldn't just rock up ....

Yes, you're right. The thing about Snapper that makes it the favoured example for photos of overcrowding is that it can support a larger number of surfers than most other places. The rides are long and the waves have a good long wall, providing multiple take off spots and more opportunities for dropping in at a distance from the inside rider who still has a chance of making the section. Photographers can get a shot of 10 or more waves flowing through with several riders on each one and a mass of paddlers as an obstacle course.
It's a magnet for surfers for all sorts of reasons and it will remain crowded as long as it's free to surf there.
Who is responsible for the increasing number of surfers? An ever increasing population, growing population densities around desirable places to live along the coast and a sport that has no cost other than the equipment.
Who made it popular? I suggest it was the beach movies and pop music from the Beach Boys and co. that gave it a huge boost in the sixties. The large surf companies, photographers, journalists, competition organisers have all helped to publicise it and kick it along. And now social media provides everyone with a chance to join in. Nothing wrong with any of that; it's just progress. Some of it good and some of it bad.
Management strategies?
Regulation: the only one that will reduce numbers is to put a cost on it. Difficult to do. They did try registration of fibreglass surfboards back in the sixties for a short while. I think it was just a revenue raising venture from the local council, but I was only a Coolite-riding kid back then. I can remember my older cousin with a registration sticker on his board. I think the cost was about $2, which equates to about $50 in today's terms. The scheme only lasted about 2 years before they canned it.
Education: how many surfers in the line-up at Snapper wouldn't have been aware of surfing etiquette? The rules generally go out the window when others aren't abiding by them. Consider road rules. How often do drivers break the rules? Quite often. What stops it from breaking down into anarchy? Policing the rules. Unless you have surf cops, the rules will go out the window whenever surfers aren't getting enough waves. Education won't do it.
Increase Supply: how much would it cost to build just two artificial reefs near Snapper that deliver waves attractive enough to draw surfers away from Snapper? And when those reefs are built and the number of suffers at Snapper reduces by two thirds, the remaining third will still make Snapper a crowded spot. Just less crowded.
One of the attractive things about surfing is that it isn't managed. I dread the prospect of a managed surf environment much more than the problem of dealing with crowds at some well known surfing spots.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Saturday, 9 Apr 2016 at 9:30pm

They say that if you can remember the seventies.....you weren't there. Sorry chook but having surfed the NB for 50 years there is simply no comparison in crowd levels between 1975 and 2016. I would estimate X10 at any given moment.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Sunday, 10 Apr 2016 at 11:35am

For sure BB.

Consider crowds at Uluwatu 1975 to now.

chook's picture
chook's picture
chook commented Sunday, 10 Apr 2016 at 1:05pm

blindboy wrote: They say that if you can remember the seventies.....you weren't there. Sorry chook but having surfed the NB for 50 years there is simply no comparison in crowd levels between 1975 and 2016. I would estimate X10 at any given moment.

oh yeah, crowds have defintely increased. but the crowds in 1975 were already at a level that meant I wasn't getting a wave at NN then, just as I'm sure i wouldn't be getting a wave out there now on a good day. so there's been no change for me.

and i resent your suggestiion i wasn't there...i spent last night playing the bay city rollers on my pioneer hi-fi system and smoking dacca. i'm still there.

bigtreeman's picture
bigtreeman's picture
bigtreeman commented Monday, 11 Apr 2016 at 12:11pm

Couldn't get a wave at NN in '75, just go to LN, still good for a wave. I was listening to Hawkwind last night.
Remember what Sargent Stadanko said "Only dopes use dope", or FZ "You are what you use"

Go well,
Colin

offshoreozzie's picture
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offshoreozzie commented Tuesday, 12 Apr 2016 at 1:50pm

that sounds like alot of hard work tho ;)

Dave Drinkwater's picture
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Dave Drinkwater commented Sunday, 10 Apr 2016 at 9:21am

;

Snapper is one of the best barrels in the world, it will always be crowded and sharing in top to bottom waves is dangerous and shouldn't be encouraged. There will always be a level of localism and alpha activity at any decent break, just be aware of your ability and slot in accordingly.

If you can't buy a wave just have a moment and think about all the waves that are breaking right now with nobody out. Find them, enjoy, froth but don't share them on your social sites.

Encourage your local council to install a wave pool or sand replacement for your local.

Think out of the square when planning a trip abroad, the Ments are perfect and predictable but crowded. Take a punt next time and go to an island that has never had publicity, you will pay more to get there but the rewards will far outweigh cost.

Erect a wall between Queensland and Northern NSW, keep all crowd dwellers in the one location.

tonybarber's picture
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tonybarber commented Monday, 11 Apr 2016 at 10:26am

I reckon your right. Think out side the square. Blaming commericialisation is just plain naive.

atticus's picture
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atticus commented Monday, 11 Apr 2016 at 10:12am

Good work Neil. Action follows thought, and as a thought exercise it highlights what may just be possible at select waves. If it was deemed that some longboard friendly waves were multi-rider waves then it would release the pressure valve (at least for a while) and there may be unforeseen results in social dynamics. Maybe it's time to challenge surfing's social contract.

Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
Hako o hakonde ... commented Monday, 11 Apr 2016 at 10:17am

So who's going to draw up these new rules, Quicksilver or Ripcurl?

atticus's picture
atticus's picture
atticus commented Monday, 11 Apr 2016 at 10:24am

The same people who drew up the 'person inside' rule and the 'don't drop in' rule.

Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
Hako o hakonde ... commented Monday, 11 Apr 2016 at 11:44am

Well those people would be far better off to just sell the rights to rules of surfing and take up snowboarding.

bigtreeman's picture
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bigtreeman commented Monday, 11 Apr 2016 at 11:57am

Way we used to do it, the one who could yell "Hey Fuck Off" the loudest, got the wave.

Go well,
Colin

KillJoy's picture
KillJoy's picture
KillJoy commented Monday, 11 Apr 2016 at 12:09pm

I do feel for those of you up North who must be turned off the sport because of crowds, I am from down South and I am turned off it sometimes. Not sure who posted above, can't be bothered searching again, but that dog eat dog, thing, I have tried to drop in on people when its crowded, just doesn't feel right, yet these arse*#les do it to me. I guess it takes work to be an arsehole. I think they are brought up with different values, have no class and short on connections in the Cerebral Cortex Region, but big on Amygdala use, that is problems in impulse control,( don't correct me, you get the drift).
I still think you must be joking Blindboy , do you write these articles when you are thinking or smoking weed , this article is so ridiculous. Ridiculous, for its bias toward the status quo: I mean sharing waves and recreations reserves! Anyone with half a brain knows this would only serve the elite in the sport and hang-er-ons. So this article doesn't pose any solutions at all for the average local or non-local for that matter. Sharing a wave, why do you keep peddling such a ridiculous solution. Its like what Real Estate Agents do, they show you 2-3 other alternatives that are so outlandish, it makes the one they are trying to sell you .... plausible!

What to do? Why don't you get an expert, like a Sociologist to comment on the problem, rather than some joker, who well, I won't make any more comments on the article's quality, its veracity, validity and reliability speak for its self and anyone who supports it probably needs to!
Personally, I will not hold out for a solution. I am happy searching for waves (well I am not happy about it) but I am happy to surf isolated spots by myself and quite happy not to share a wave if I have not dropped in to get it. Happy to share it with men in grey suits, as long as they don't bit or eat me. And happy not to see you blokes in the line up!! (nothing personal).

PooStix

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Monday, 11 Apr 2016 at 12:48pm

Erm, blindboy didn't write the article, Neil Lazarow did, and maybe you should look up who he is before calling him a joker.

islandman's picture
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islandman commented Monday, 11 Apr 2016 at 5:12pm

!

pricey007's picture
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pricey007 commented Monday, 11 Apr 2016 at 12:25pm

I remember years ago when i learn the art of surfing, surfers who dropped in on each other would get bashed on the beach.

Why do we give so much respect to surfers who drop in and have no regard for surfing etiquette?

Maybe i could start a surf army up that instills some order back into the lineup (i might call it the 'scar boys').

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

wally's picture
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wally commented Monday, 11 Apr 2016 at 12:49pm

But, the 'scar boys' are the ones dropping in.

freddieffer's picture
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freddieffer commented Monday, 11 Apr 2016 at 2:54pm

Home just isn't home anymore.....

http://i.imgur.com/uRsZpTx.jpg

Yes, it was very, very good that swell, but surfing to me was never about being in the lineup whilst having a 'sitting on the ants-nest' experience.

My answer - move on....

KillJoy's picture
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KillJoy commented Monday, 11 Apr 2016 at 5:02pm

Stu, you are right, I should have qualified that, the article style and content were so alike I thought they were the same author, it would not change my opinion, I would merely regard them both as 'jokers' so thankyou for highlighting that. If it offends I will change my style and suggest that both articles were a joke. But if you people are so thin skinned you should not put yourself in the spotlight.

PooStix

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Monday, 11 Apr 2016 at 5:22pm

No-one is thin-skinned, you just came across as a bit of a dill.

batfink's picture
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batfink commented Monday, 11 Apr 2016 at 5:24pm

Freeride, re the crowds at a Sydney local, there as bad as they ever were, but not really worse than it's been for a long while, but;

- yeah, the quality of surfer has dropped dramatically. I can look like a good surfer on some days, but that is a very relative term

- and yeah, heaps of learners, including some surf schools doing a roaring trade, mostly with consideration for the other surfers and taking them where you don't want to be, so don't have a problem with them,

- and yeah, don't think the younger crew are getting into surfing as much. Age range must be higher than it was back in the day. Plenty more grizzled old buggers (who, me?) and when it gets good there's a competent crew that can be found, but it hasn't been that good for a while (bank-wise etc, been plenty of surf)

- but there are good surfers around, they just don't bother as much when it's crowded and not much worth fighting for.

I think a lot of older guys, yes, me, try to get away on a regular basis for weekend trips to deal with/get away from the crowds.

KillJoy's picture
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KillJoy commented Monday, 11 Apr 2016 at 9:27pm

hey Stunet, your no literary authority mate, not by a long shot, so I wouldn't go round throwing stones in glass houses. Thin skinned, thick skinned, who gives a shit, your spending too much time blogging mate, you should get out more. Maybe go share your ride with your closet nerd buddies. Both articles were shit, face it, nothing of substance, swellnet should stick to what it does best: selling pizzas and holidays and whatever else the man wants swellnet to prostitute.

PooStix

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owgoodaquads commented Tuesday, 12 Apr 2016 at 8:23am

If YOU'RE going to denigrate someone's literary standing, at least spell correctly and get YOUR proverbs right. It's 'at' glasshouses. Who would throw stones in a glass house? And speaking of substance, I had a mate who lacked it, he was very shallow and just hung around off to the side of everyone. We called him 'Lettuce'. I thought the article was quite substantial and contained plenty of food for thought, as evidenced by the comments. Like all good writing it opened up lots of areas for discussion and disagreement. Off to deal with the southerly now.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Monday, 11 Apr 2016 at 9:58pm

So why is it they call you Killjoy ?

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SimoSurf70 commented Tuesday, 12 Apr 2016 at 12:51am

Hmmm!! Lived and surfed Goldy since 1984. Many great surfs for years on all hot spots D.I.P to Angas with plenty of waves for the mellow crew. Bang comes the 90's surfer explosion plus every new easy riding hybrid surfboards making our beloved lifestyle into the biggest recreational past time in OZ. Crazy. The Superbank from Snapper to Greeny , plus the Pro tour, all the ripper's there make every fu$#n man & his dog's want to get their wave of their life ! Too many kooks and disrespectful selfish surfers. Also too many surfers in line up. I reckon somehow , it's gotta be capped at 100 max, since it usually is the best spot in a decent swell. Gov needs Reefs and other breaks . Surf levels restrictrd to breaks but how to enforce and regulate this joke of a crowd situation. Hence why we SEARCH

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regano commented Tuesday, 12 Apr 2016 at 8:48am

I think if we are all going to have to share crowded waves then 'priority' is going to have to be considered when it comes to who gets the next wave. The current situation whereby the surfer who takes of first gets the wave means only the strongest and fittest (and sneakiest) get the majority of the waves. Law of the jungle. Which leaves a lot of people sitting on the outer waiting for the crumbs. I've tried it my home break and it works and makes for a much friendlier environment in the water. Admittedly my home break does not get super crowded and I'm unsure if you could ever get a priority system to work on breaks like Snapper, probably never will, but give it a try next time you're out at your local.

regano

batfink's picture
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batfink commented Tuesday, 12 Apr 2016 at 5:31pm

Just on the idea of introducing any rules to surfing, let alone new rules.......

The road rules are heavily codified, explicit, have police to enforce them and social pressure, testing and licencing.

but do you think you could get a bugger to use their blinkers before making a turn, or at all!

No hope for new rules, nobody seems to give a shit anymore.

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suckin-sand commented Tuesday, 12 Apr 2016 at 9:51pm

Sure surfing is more popular than ever but I reckon one of the major reasons for the crowds these days is all the old pricks like me still surfing. In the 70's and 80's only a handful of guys in the lineup were over 25, let alone over 40. If you took everyone over 30 out of the average break, what have you got? 1970s crowd numbers! It cracks me up how the old guys are the first to whine about the crowds too when they are the problem. If you don't like it , drive a little further... or play golf.

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benski commented Tuesday, 12 Apr 2016 at 10:28pm

There's no need to change the rules of surfing.

Surfing is the ultimate meritocracy. If you're good, you'll get waves. If you're not, you won't. How do you get good if you're not getting waves? Go surf closeouts until you can paddle strongly and put yourself in position to get the wave you want. That's the core of the bloody activity, before you even think about riding the wave.

As for drop ins and crowds and that media beat up, surf rage...I actually think surfers do pretty well. Look at Snapper, you've got 100+ people from behind the rock to little marleys, probably what, 90 of them blokes and all of them want the same thing, the next wave. Imagine another situation where you had that many people in such a small area effectively competing for something that comes past every few minutes. Add to that that you have to work hard to get this magical thing, and the release when you get one is worth building your life around.

I can't actually imagine a decent analogy (limited number of beers at a pub maybe?) but when you think about the jostling and what have you, it's amazing it's so peaceful in the water. I think that actually shows surfers to pretty bloody well self-regulating and taking care of issues on the fly.

I'm definitely not someone who gets waves in crowds, so I'd benefit from some change of rules but I really don't think it's necessary.

As for commercialisation of surfing, of course it has increased crowds. How could it not!?!? It sure hasn't been the commitment to keep the scene underground and secret from the masses in an effort to retain the integrity and purity of riding a pulse of energy in isolation on a vast sea.

Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
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Hako o hakonde ... commented Wednesday, 13 Apr 2016 at 4:43am

Hit the nail on the head Benski, good surfers get waves and hardly notice the lesser surfers in more crowded conditions(in less crowded conditions their true character shows by how greedy they can be) as they get older they need to stay fit and surf smarter or just feed around the fringe and eventually starve, bluff only works for so long and only really at your local.
New rules? Really? I wonder if the old rules would even stand up in a court of law, have they ever been put to the test?
Who's going to make up these new rules and then enforce them?
Will it be inside has right of way in Australia, but in Europe outside has right of way?

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saurusv1 commented Thursday, 14 Apr 2016 at 5:24pm

How's this, 3 clowns in Newcastle have developed a "Wave Alarm" app that only wakes you up when the surf is good. They were sick of getting up early and finding the surf was shit so they developed the app, you can set it for any of your local beaches (and in simple terms) the app draws on massive amounts of data streams to create a weather aggregator. They said that if the app told them the surf was crap they went and played golf!!
These are the sort of kooks that are causing massive crowds, they have no regular knowledge of swell, wind, tides etc etc so they get their nerdy mates to come up with an app to suit their purposes.
I lived on the Gold Coast in the 70's and 20-25 out was a big crowd, no leg ropes ensured that everyone would have a couple of swims, this served to alleviate too many in the lineup - those were the days!

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benski commented Thursday, 14 Apr 2016 at 8:57pm

Has that happened eh? Damn. I wrote some code to make that happen on my computer in 2009. Had it half working and thought it might make a good app but couldn't be bothered. Thought it was a useful idea though, why wake up unless it's offshore?

course I used it twice and then worked out that I can just look outside and go back to bed if it's howling easterly.

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dastasha commented Friday, 15 Apr 2016 at 8:15am

saurusv1 wrote: How's this, 3 clowns in Newcastle have developed a "Wave Alarm" app that only wakes you up when the surf is good.

Thanks mate now I've got it too...

When I was a kid I paddled out a well known spot and told guys in the line up where I got pitted earlier that morning, talking myself up... found some of the older guys glaring at me.
I figured it out. There aren't many rules to surfing. Its mainly paddling and commitment.

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tonybarber commented Friday, 15 Apr 2016 at 8:33am

Yeah, we developed our app way before iPhones. We called him 'Spot'. He is a mate that just loves waking up early, checks the local and knocks on our door if it's on. Been going since the 80s.
Bloody great. And only costs a beer on Friday night !

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Albertinelli commented Thursday, 14 Apr 2016 at 8:25pm

I solved the crowded situation many years ago. I don't surf in major areas. I surf the remote south coast of NSW during the week. the places I surf can have a max of 10 guys in the water and at some time only you and your mate. the waves can be epic reef and sandbanks. If you live on the gold coast the northern beaches the eastern suburbs YOU REAP WHAT YOU SEW. these areas there is no solution. so forget it. Bad Luck.

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batfink commented Thursday, 21 Apr 2016 at 7:28pm

AlbertinelliYOU REAP WHAT YOU SEW. [/quote wrote:

SOW, Albertinelli, SOW.

It's about crops, not knitting. ;-)

Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
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Hako o hakonde ... commented Friday, 15 Apr 2016 at 5:33am

Thanks for the tip Albert , I wont tell anyone else.

slashbash's picture
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slashbash commented Friday, 15 Apr 2016 at 10:39am

Bla bla bla , this will never go away and we all whinge about it. Get what comes your way and be thankful. Dog eat dog, yeah. Just throw some meat out there, every now again. There are so many paddling / position games you can play naïve / ignorant newbies and of course the macho local ones. Testosterone is a powerful thing !

Dellboy

anothersurfer's picture
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anothersurfer commented Friday, 15 Apr 2016 at 11:52am

Perhaps websites such as swellnet are contributing to the problem of crowds? You make it so easy for people! In the forecaster notes you pretty much tell people the time and place...you're spelling it out for everyone!

islandman's picture
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islandman commented Friday, 15 Apr 2016 at 2:07pm

I have to totally agree with that ! Add in constant social media photos and videos of epic waves it just does not stop. When i was a grom and beyond the only report was the trigger brothers 0055 hotline it cost about 3 bucks! It took commitment and a bit of know how to find the waves and there was actually more of an element of suprise and adventure! I really think the reports and detailed reports should be user pays only ! maybe it would weed out some of the spastics! I dont mind sharing waves with good surfers and waiting patiently bit it is the absolute kooks that are the problem the guys who stuff up every wave and then paddle out the back again and again

the_varsity's picture
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the_varsity commented Friday, 15 Apr 2016 at 2:31pm

Build a Volcom house at Snapper (and other like breaks). There. Sorted.

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andrew-pitt commented Friday, 15 Apr 2016 at 9:37pm

No, I don't think it is time to rethink the rules of surfing. I don't want to share a wave with 6 of my best mates.

However, I think precedents have already taken place on the east coast of Australia that will dramatically alter the rules of supply and demand.

Parking Meters. Hate/Love 'em. Park your car at Bondi and go for a surf and the cost is $4 per hour (or is it more?). In the last decade there has been a slow roll out of parking meters across every other high population beach. Most Sydney beaches have carpark meters. Will this trend continue? Yes.

Does this reduce demand on waves? Maybe, maybe not. Ask an expert.
What it does provide is....

Cash. Serious bucket loads of coin. Australia being the fair and reasonable democratic country that it is - that coin should, will and actually does go back into the coast, to maintain it, clean it, spruce it and protect it - and in due course - that coin will be there to fund enhancements to coastal bathymetry. You want an artificial surfing reef? You want a beach groyne poking out at 45degree to make some banks and choke some sand supply? You want an offshore bommie for beach protection and peak enhancements? To fund it - parking meters.

But careful. At Bondi - that coin will fund an even bigger multi-level underground carpark. Is that what we want? I don't want that. The surfers I know at Bondi don't want that.

Neil thank you the article.

You got us all thinking.

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tonybarber commented Saturday, 16 Apr 2016 at 5:29pm

Fair point - use parking meters to fund artificial reefs, banks. But do we do that now for footy fields, skate ramps for everyday use ?
Bondi is an exception, it's not just the surf but the beach use that the council wants to cash in on.
Yeah, we were quite happy to pay two bob to the farmer at the Farm, in the past. Now it's free.

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philosurphizing... commented Wednesday, 20 Apr 2016 at 2:47pm

A man made surfing reef can be designed to be either a one surfer wave or a multiple surfer wave and also both.
If you want more room out on the face of a peeling right hander increase the peel angle from 40 degrees to 55 - 65 degrees and lessen the rate of gradient, in effect slowing the peel speed and allowing for more cutbacks, the ideal wave type for 2 competent surfers to do crossovers.
Another way to fit even more surfers on a wave is to create spilling waves where the top third of the wave face is white water and the bottom two thirds green face.
About ten years ago this type of wave existed at Wategos.
There was this flat sand bank way out wide and on low tide if you had a mal you could catch the waves easily and get long rides and because of that green wave face there was up to 6 surfers on a wave some angling left some right, but all giving each other room because there was room.
While it was not a high performance short board wave it definitely accommodated the crowd well and all the surfers appreciated the wave for what it was.

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southey commented Monday, 2 May 2016 at 6:30pm

philosurphizingkerching wrote: A man made surfing reef can be designed to be either a one surfer wave or a multiple surfer wave and also both.
If you want more room out on the face of a peeling right hander increase the peel angle from 40 degrees to 55 - 65 degrees and lessen the rate of gradient, in effect slowing the peel speed and allowing for more cutbacks, the ideal wave type for 2 competent surfers to do crossovers.
Another way to fit even more surfers on a wave is to create spilling waves where the top third of the wave face is white water and the bottom two thirds green face.
About ten years ago this type of wave existed at Wategos.
There was this flat sand bank way out wide and on low tide if you had a mal you could catch the waves easily and get long rides and because of that green wave face there was up to 6 surfers on a wave some angling left some right, but all giving each other room because there was room.
While it was not a high performance short board wave it definitely accommodated the crowd well and all the surfers appreciated the wave for what it was.

Maybe they could tax the Wicked vans , surely that would fund your gaol .... oops i mean goal .

" SA's Reserve Capacity "

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philosurphizing... commented Sunday, 24 Apr 2016 at 3:18pm

The wide bank at Wategos where the sand comes and goes is one of the better locations on Australias east coast to build a surfing reef.

It would be possible to design a surf break with a carrying capacity of ten surfers per wave.
Here is a photo and explanation of the design.

Line a to b represents the peel line for a one surfer wave, peel angle 40 degrees.
Line c to d represents the peel line for a 3 surfer wave, peel angle 65 degrees, plenty of room on the face for two surfers to do crossovers plus room further out on the wall for a mal rider to trim and nose ride.
Note the gap between take off spot a and take off spot c, this gap would be between 50 and 100 metres wide and allows swell into area e where the bathymetry is designed to create spilling waves which can accommodate 6 mal riders per wave.
Take off area between a and c for the spilling waves.

Coaster's picture
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Coaster commented Friday, 22 Apr 2016 at 9:03pm

Here is an idea that satisfies the objectives of:
- wave sharing
- being able to perform manoeuvres without having to synchronise with other surfers
- allowing managers to change the current chaotic nature of surfing in Snapper

Get a barge and dredge 20-metre wide channels every 100 metres through the lineup. Each wave then allows surfers to ride 100 metres before they're forced to end their ride and allow the next surfer on the other side of the channel to sequentially share the same wave.
Use the dredged sand to groom other sections of the bank to ensure wave quality and extend the range of the wave through to Greenmount and Kirra. The barge will have to be used regularly like any other equipment that is used to maintain other sporting surfaces like golf courses, bowling greens, ice skating rinks and football fields. And the users will have to pay, but that seems to be generally accepted for managed sporting facilities. I just don't think it would go down well with the locals.

philosurphizingkerching's picture
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philosurphizing... commented Saturday, 23 Apr 2016 at 10:29am

Coaster wrote: Here is an idea that satisfies the objectives of:
- wave sharing
- being able to perform manoeuvres without having to synchronise with other surfers
- allowing managers to change the current chaotic nature of surfing in Snapper

Get a barge and dredge 20-metre wide channels every 100 metres through the lineup. Each wave then allows surfers to ride 100 metres before they're forced to end their ride and allow the next surfer on the other side of the channel to sequentially share the same wave.
Use the dredged sand to groom other sections of the bank to ensure wave quality and extend the range of the wave through to Greenmount and Kirra. The barge will have to be used regularly like any other equipment that is used to maintain other sporting surfaces like golf courses, bowling greens, ice skating rinks and football fields. And the users will have to pay, but that seems to be generally accepted for managed sporting facilities. I just don't think it would go down well with the locals.

Destroying the superbank because of the spiritually bankrupt behaviour of surfers isn't addressing the real issue.

Better to apply your idea to the close out beach breaks to the north of Kirra.
Using a barge to dredge gutters in sand banks is a good idea but once a good sand bank is created it needs to be stabilized by covering it with something solid, then it doesn't need maintenance.
I think tetrapods are the answer, they can be made any size and can be layed out over a shaped sand bank in a pattern or just randomly dropped , once put in place more sand is pumped over the structure to fill in the gaps.
Here are 2 photos showing the variety in size.

Next pic shows tetrapods dropped randomly to form a shape that could be done under water.

Next pic shows tetrapods layed in a pattern, small tetrapods and sand could be filled in around the leg of the tetrapod that sticks up.

Tetrapods are used alot in Japan.
Check out the images.
https://www.google.com.au/search?q=concrete+tetrapod&biw=1600&bih=775&tb...

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tonybarber commented Saturday, 23 Apr 2016 at 11:12am

You sure these are used to make or stabilise sand banks. Seems only used for break walls. Walls for runways, harbours etc.

philosurphizingkerching's picture
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philosurphizing... commented Saturday, 23 Apr 2016 at 12:33pm

Here is the Wikipedia info on Tetrapods.
In coastal engineering, a tetrapod is a tetrahedral concrete structure used as armour unit on breakwaters. A tetrapod's shape is designed to dissipate the force of incoming waves by allowing water to flow around rather than against it, and to reduce displacement by allowing a random distribution of tetrapods to mutually interlock.

Earlier barrier material used in breakwaters, such as boulders and conventional concrete blocks, tended to become dislodged over time by the force of the ocean constantly crashing against them. Tetrapods and similar structures are often numbered so any displacement that occurs can be monitored from photographs.

The unit was originally developed in 1950 by Laboratoire Dauphinois d'Hydraulique (now Sogreah) in Grenoble, France. They are no longer protected by a patent, and are widely used all over the world, produced by many contractors.

The tetrapod inspired many similar concrete structures for use in breakwaters, including the Modified Cube (U.S., 1959), the Stabit (U.K., 1961), the Akmon (Netherlands, 1962), the Dolos (South Africa, 1963), the Stabilopod (Romania, 1969),[1] the Seabee (Australia, 1978), the Accropode (France, 1981), the Hollow Cube (Germany, 1991), the A-jack (U.S., 1998), and the Xbloc (Netherlands, 2001), among others. In Japan, the word tetrapod is often used as a generic name for wave-dissipating blocks including other types and shapes.

Tetrapods and concrete have become a Japanese institution in modern times. Their manufacture and dispersal create jobs for Japanese citizens and contracts for construction companies. It is estimated that nearly 50 percent of Japan's 35,000 kilometer coastline has been covered or somehow altered by Tetrapods and other forms of concrete. Because of the proliferation of Tetrapods, tourists to the Hawaii-like island of Okinawa often find it difficult to find pristine beaches and unaltered shoreline, especially in the southern half of the island.

Coaster's picture
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Coaster commented Saturday, 23 Apr 2016 at 4:57pm

If tetrapods were used to build a reef, they might work as a base layer with the upper layers comprising gravel, scree and sand. However, I don't think their use would be feasible for stabilising existing sand reefs unless the approach is to excavate and bury them or use them as barriers to maintain channels and prevent erosion on the edge of a sandbank. If they were used on the reef itself, they would have to be completely covered by sand in order to prevent boils and other irregularities on the wave face at various tide levels as well as not be a hazard to surfers.

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philosurphizing... commented Saturday, 23 Apr 2016 at 5:30pm

Coaster wrote: If tetrapods were used to build a reef, they might work as a base layer with the upper layers comprising gravel, scree and sand. However, I don't think their use would be feasible for stabilising existing sand reefs unless the approach is to excavate and bury them or use them as barriers to maintain channels and prevent erosion on the edge of a sandbank. If they were used on the reef itself, they would have to be completely covered by sand in order to prevent boils and other irregularities on the wave face at various tide levels as well as not be a hazard to surfers.

Totally agree, make the base layer out of the big ones and each layer use progressively smaller sizes.
For the final shaping use the really small ones to fill in the gaps, then pump sand over the structure allowing the sand to flow into all the smaller gaps.

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penmister commented Friday, 22 Apr 2016 at 9:06pm

Just learn to whistle