Parko, Mick, and Dingo caught by the Water Police at Snapper Rocks
Last Thursday, as the finalists of the Quiksilver Pro were negotiating below sea level drainers at Kirra, Joel Parkinson, Mick Fanning, and Dean Morrison were revelling in what Parko called “the best Snapper in a long time.” In fact, Parko nabbed a barrel that many were calling the best Snapper barrel ever.
However, unlike his comrades down the point who were clearly catching waves under their own steam, Parko may have taken the easy route of a step off. Many people suspect that’s the case, among them is Acting Senior Sergeant of Queensland Water Police, Mitch Gray.
The matter came up during a half-hour conversation Swellnet had with Snr Sgt Gray. Ostensibly the talk was about what the collective authorities - that being Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ), Water Police, and Police - are doing to control unlawful PWC use on the Gold Coast. Snr Sgt Gray is at the top of the pyramid here, each office reports to him.
Before we get into the details of the recent events he wants to set straight the rumours that his officers are indifferent to illegal behaviour; that the Water Police know illegal tow surfing is happening but won’t do anything.
“We do the rosters a month in advance,” explains Snr Sgt Gray. “However, big swells are unpredictable and we don’t always have the flexibility to change rosters and allocate extra resources to the southern points.”
They are, however, getting better at anticipating problem times and preparing for them. “We don’t have our head in the sand. Half of the office here surfs, so we know when big waves are coming. We just have to get more proactive.”
They’re being helped along by a public that’s increasingly outraged by illegal PWC use, even if their frustrations are sometimes misdirected. During the Cyclone Gita swell Snr Sgt Gray said his office received just two formal complaints of illegal PWC use (though the lifeguards and MSQ received many more). By comparison, I received ten times that number to my personal phone and Swellnet had hundreds of comments on the issue.
Despite the lack of reporting the authorities were acutely aware of the problem and got on the front foot for the following swell. This was the swell from Tropical Cyclone Linda which hit the Gold Coast last Thursday - finals day for the Quiksilver Pro.
“We got down to Currumbin at 8am, the MSQ were already doing covert patrols, but we went out and within half an hour we’d cleared nine skis from the water,” says Sgt Grey. “A lot of them received infringement notices. Some of them weren’t committing offences at the time so they were given a talk, all their details were recorded in our system so if they do it again they can’t plead ignorance.”
Two skis were down at Laceys Lane but they “were comfortably beyond the legal distance” and were allowed to carry on. By 9am the paddle surfers at the Alley were untroubled by any skis.
There are two ways the authorities can choose to tackle the PWC problem: covertly or overtly. To date, the MSQ have operated more covertly, they’ll sit back and watch the events, then mail out infringement notices the next day. The problem with this approach is that no-one bar the offender is aware of the penalty so the general public think nothing is happening.
Increasingly, covert action, or public policing, is being viewed as a more effective deterrent. “We want the paddle surfers to know that they’re being heard,” says Snr Sgt Gray, “and we want jet ski riders to know that if they break the law they’ll be caught.”
After clearing the lineup at Currumbin, Snr Sgt Gray headed down towards Kirra where he “nabbed another three vessels there” and dealt with them accordingly. He then noticed two skis out at Snapper Rocks that he suspected were doing step offs among the crowd.
By midday the surf at Snapper Rocks was six foot plus. “When there’s that much surf it’s hard to see what’s happening from a distance, so we had to motor out around the shark nets and come in but the skis saw us and stopped,” recounted Snr Sgt Gray.
Joel Parkinson and Dean Morrison were on one ski, Mick Fanning on the other.
Celebrating the perfect crime...almost.
“We said to them, ‘You guys cant be here, you’re within 200 metres of the surfers’. So we explained the laws and they just packed up and left straight away. They were really good about it in that regard.”
And what about the other surfers in the water?
“All the paddle surfers in the water appreciated it. No doubt about it,” says Snr Sgt Gray.
Though they got away without a fine, the three pros received a marine caution which still counts as an infringement. “A marine caution is a way of us recording that you’ve been given a warning. You’ve been given all the info you need to operate that vessel lawfully and there’s no second chances.”
Over the course of the day Snr Sgt Gray says he had “about 20 interactions” with PWCs that resulted in 8 drivers getting infringement notices because the Water Police or MSQ witnessed the breach. Each of those drivers will receive a $372 fine while the rest received marine cautions and had the interaction recorded.
A PWC license isn’t like a car license where demerit points accumulate till you hit zero and your license gets suspended. There are no demerit points on the water, but a newly implemented system allows the Water Police to suspend the license of anyone caught four times within a two year stretch.
It’s a tool that’s rarely been used, not because the police are unwilling but because, as Snr Sgt Gray says, “Adult repeat offenders are rare. Believe it or not, but they tend to pull their head in after they get caught.”
The Gold Coast Water Police and MSQ put a lot of boots on the ground during Cyclone Linda, but it won’t always be the case that so many resources are available. The resolve is there to end the cowboy behaviour so I ask Snr Sgt Grey what the public can do to assist.
“The simplest thing is to call the Police Assistance Line - 131 444 - if an offence is being committed.”
Anyone who calls the Police Assistance Line - which is set up to report real time criminal events - connects to an operator who will divert their call to the relevant department. In this case they’ll be put onto the Gold Coast Water Police.
“I encourage all surfers to call that number when they see the law being broken. I can check it on the surf cams. I can zoom in and look at it, then allocate resources to take care of it ASAP. I can even ring the Palm Beach coppers and get them to drive down there and check it out.”
“I’ve got the capacity to do this stuff but I can only do it if people call me up and tell me. If people don’t call then I’ll send the resources elsewhere.”
And so the onus is upon paddle surfers. No-one else is going to bring order to the Gold Coast lineups. Aside from Wayne Deane, all the local elders have lost their tongues, Surfing Australia - who have a constitution that supposedly upholds the rights of recreational surfers - continue to ignore it, and despite recreational surfers being their market the World Surf League seems to find these incidents nothing more than a source of amusement and web traffic.
In Swellnet’s last article we said there are just two bits of information Gold Coast paddle surfers need to know:
- PWCs cannot exceed 6 knots while within 60 metres of a surfer or swimmer. And,
- When a surfer paddles out at Currumbin all towing must stop.
You can add the following phone number to that list:
- When you see a PWC break the law call 131 444.
I’ll leave the last word to Acting Senior Sergeant Mitch Gray.
“If someone’s got the guts to paddle out at six-to-eight foot Alley or Kirra, where it’s high risk and they need to call on all their fitness and experience, then give them the respect they deserve.”
Sheesh after all the shit that went on after Gita and these guys were dumb enough to go straight back out and do the same thing???
this is what some people call 'the nanny state'. those people can suck it. there's a difference between being forced to wear a helmet or a seat belt while you engage in dangerous behaviour and being stopped from doing things which are dangerous to OTHERS... or being annoying as all get out to others.
now how do we get rid of clubbies on jet skis and irb's 'patrolling' the water? stay on the beach clubby, we'll wave when we need you.
Dear nickg. I am a clubbie, IRB driver and RWC operator and I surf. Last weekend while I was doing patrols as a Patrol Captain I heard radio reports of 5 people being rescued by the pesky and inconvenient waverunner patrols and 2 by those annoying IRBs. On my last waverunner patrol I performed 8 rescues. The one before that a mass rescue of 6 kids. These were all done through active patrolling outside the flagged areas. An annoyance to one is a life saved to others.
nice work. but not at my beaches (rescues) while i was in the water. it's just numpties racing around in circles burning fuel, usually on a crowded summer's day with a pumping 1-2ft wind swell that even a butter fingered clubby could navigate a paddle board through without letting it slip from their grasp.
yes, as even the pro surfers find they are likely the easiest and most effective option. unfortunately they ruin the 'serenity' for the entire beach. fix the noise, fumes and creation of danger (if you surf then i bet you've had one of your clubby brethren see you a lot later than is comfortable for either of you as they race to nowhere.. i have, more times than i've seen a rescue by a powered craft).
how about moor the things out the back and crank it up as required?
do Tesla make a jet ski yet?
there's a better way for sure.
So a day after footage of Mick giving his board away to a lucky grom went viral he illegally used a PWC in full view of cameras and gallery on a paddle day with no sweep.
Where's the brains?
Its no about brains but the sheer arrogance.
So Parko and Fanning the WSL Pro surfers got let off they stopped doing it....
Flouting the Ski laws for how long now...5-10 yrs ?
Swellnet Snapper cam rewind
Book em Danno.
I agree 100%. Book em. Now. The law needs examples and here are two perfect examples. I would add a well known shaper and board empire owner to the list.
Indeed the law needs examples.
It also needs to show that none of its subject are beyond its reach.
Making an example of a Pro would really show the citizens that this is the case.
Unfortunately what seams to have occurred on this day was: all other offenders were caught unawares of the polices presence except for the elite professionals, guess they were just lucky.
I dont think the $400 would bother them too much. Public shaming/trouble with sponsors might. It'll be interesting to see what happens next swell. What if 1 kook has a go at paddling out but doesn't do very well? glad its not my problem! All that aside, well done Swellnet, I get the feeling without your assistance it would have taken even longer for anything at all to happen.
So if this law is true "PWCs cannot exceed 6 knots while within 60 metres of a surfer or swimmer" why then were they told to move on, and not just abide by the above law?
because cops... "we could book you.. but we won't.. now get outta here before i change my mind.." also, would probably be tough to move around a heaving line up at 6 knots. dunno. star surfers.. star treatment?
And as for the Whining pussies that didnt back Wayne Deane ...PFFFT !
Deaney used to use watercraft to go surfing......Motor out the Tweed river in a Runabout
to 'Paddle In" the Tweed bar at 15ft !
They explained the law to Mick, Dingo and Parko LOL as if they didn’t already know it. They should have fined them straight up. They should look at the videos on line and also fine other from the cyclone. What a joke.
We can only hope this is the end of it , no mention of Burleigh where heaps of that has been going on too .
The Pop stars can go back to reality !
Everybody breaks the law. Have you texted while driving, answered your phone while driving, parked illegally, 80 in a 60 zone perhaps. Maybe you have thrown rubbish out the window, sunk piss underage. Paid for and used drugs, received cash money for work and not declared it.
Haven't been caught yet.....lucky you. You'll do it again though even if you get caught.
These clowns will.
Using skis though at 6 ft snapper......makes me think of the big cloud break swell a few years ago. Not many skis there. Gudauskis paddle in free fall drop to the bottom comes to mind
Who would've suspected?
"Sgt Gray in the Green Room with the Sharknet." (In too deep undercover work!)
Hells Bells White Lightning!
Comm' Games Ambassador goes surfabout...went off the rails now a wanted WSR fugitive.
I'm glad you identified Wayne Deane. He deserves to be credited for taking a countervailing (but correct) stance against his peers. Jimi too.
I missed his input. Do you have a link please as Id like to read what he said albeit I can guess... thanks
Paddled both swells and it was easy doable but with more wash in's in the most recent swell as a lot more waves in the sets. If it's a swell with no sweep everyone should be paddling, if its a southerly swell and the sweep is flying can understand then as nobody can get behind the rock at Snapper and Kirra is nearly impossible to paddle.
Their boards simply are too small to paddle,
but aren't willing to sacrifice less performance,
by using better paddling equipment
Yes have to agree Clam, with a longer board those guys should be able to paddle with no sweep. Can't believe there wasn't a sweep. Not that familiar with the area however was the swell out of the east/north east and more front on? Surely the water has to go somewhere (giant rips?).
Agree, what are those things, 25L? And what would have MP & Rabbit had back in the day - 10L more and half a foot longer? Human body hasn't changed too much in the intervening years.
Haha. Hundred bucks each. Change the driver each time so can keep getting warnings. Police don't have there head in the sand. All very comical.
Wow this is a great step forward and Swellnet has to be congratulated for these articles on this issue.
Ironically also Thank you Darren hanley for showing everyone how dangerous a ski can be in a lineup with surfers I'm sure this has encouraged authority's to police this before someone gets seriously hurt or killed.
Good work Stu, good article and follow up.
Its reassuring that the police are on to it. From experience here in Vicco its police on the water and at the boat ramps that works best, and it seems the Qld police are now doing that. As I mentioned in an earlier article PWCs being used illegally has also led to an outright ban of their use in large areas inside port phillip bay. Still think that 60 metres from a swimmer is too small, here in Vicco its 200 metres.
Next big swell that police phone number needs to be in everybody's phone.
Well done Swellnet, thanks for the article!
I agree indo-dreaming, thanks Darren hanley for fucking up! There were a lot of views and shares on IG and other media so I'm sure it helped with spreading the word about the issue.
My opinion of MF & JP have degraded in the last year or so because of the jetski abuse and drop ins I've seen online. It's dangerous and obnoxious!
Pro surfers don't have right to more waves than others and jetski's are like stinking blowflies out in what is meant to be a peaceful, natural environment that we should all be able to enjoy.
As you say GuySmiley, everyone who lives in places where this is a problem, put the number in your phone!
“The simplest thing is to call the Police Assistance Line - 131 444 - if an offence is being committed.”
Surf in peace!
Great work Stu. The arrogance and ignorance of some of some of these pros continues to surprise me. In case any of these pros are reading this, here's something to think about: you've been given a lot over the past two decades from the surfing industry and the broader public (recognition, adulation etc, especially Fanning and Parkinson), but do you ACTUALLY contribute anything of REAL (as opposed to superficial) substance in return to society? Perhaps it's time you did.
See the pros have a social licence or contract with us punter surfers .......
They get hold their contests and lock up the best breaks at the best times for a couple of weeks at the exclusion of all others. We get to look at them surfing these waves ........... plus after and between events they get to fly off and surf the best breaks all around the world at the largesse of the sponsors who can afford it coz us punters buy the sponsors goods. Meanwhile us punters work all year to do a trip to Indo or the Maldives for 7-10 days ... maybe.
So, you pros don't shit in our faces by using PWCs when us punters paddle it.
Meanwhile, the pros all get to converge on Bells in a couple of weeks ........ fuck off to that
There was a letter written to DH in one of the original threads on this topic after Gita.
Still no response?
Nope, still no reply.
(200m rule is OZ standard for "SkiTowing" ) read under ...Metro trio photo.
[We said to them...'You can't be here, you're 'within 200m of the Surfers'.]
Gearing down & pick up slows to 50- 60m/4- 5knots standard thru OZ waters.(Tassie 120m)
'Inshore' lineups may also be off limits for jetskis/drones due to measured civil constraints.
Loss of a passengers eg: Towing/Jump offs should be reported under International Sea Law.
( Photo) Pro Surfers are seen celebrating, least bothered about obvious man overboard?
Cops know charging globetrotter pros may cost divas their Visas...' be a law against that.
Before they dust off the wigs. WSL lawyers wave a Mistrial due to this here Swellnet jury.
Gary would expect a few of the aforementioned Pros to be buzzing around a rippy Victorian wave today and tomorrow - I wonder if they'll be keeping their distance from paddlers and whether the local constabulary will be keeping a watchful eye ...?
wouldn't expect they would get away with that shit around here, both with the punters and the boys in blue
Punters won't do anything in Vicco either.
Rip curl crew went out on a charter boat apparently.
Yep........Corsentines gunna be a fucken crowded nightmare the next cupla days...........
Wonder if there will be another wave of the day from there like that shed9 bloke.
that shed9 bloke is a joke
surfed with him the other year and her bailed his board several times into a crowded lineup as he failed to make the drop on set waves
Oh and what about hippo wheres he in the mix?
Gary would prefer if you referred to it by it's real name: Gary's.
Although I understand it has a few names and you may also wish to refer to it as Gary's.
"What the actual fuck?
What are the rules in Australia?”
Asked our Saffa correspondent Craig Jarvis. “If a ski were to go thru the lineup at Supers, Bruce's or Seal Point on any day whatsoever the guy would either be put in jail, or fucked up so properly on the beach afterwards that he would never ever venture out there again.”
"Of course this legislation doesn’t cover the more vague and unwritten surfers code of conduct, known as subclause 8a section (5b) and titled Eddie Wouldn’t Tow, which generally says that if there are people paddling then tow surfing isn’t allowed. However moral and legal issues aside, the problem isn’t going anywhere and will no doubt arise every time a cyclone spins in the Coral Sea. There have already been PWC exclusion zones enforced at Currumbin bar and Tallebudgera Creek, it’s not a stretch to think one could be enforced at the Superbank."
I think Craig Jarvis may have his head up his arse as it has been known for the more elite(cunt) locals in the J/bay area to do donuts around paddle in surfers between sets to force them to go in. I've seen them out at big Boneyard towing, but it was okay as there weren't any locals out paddling.
Re: Top Bloke Mick Fanning, He most probably gave his board to the grommet because he was told to by a media advisory from Rip Curl, $600 worth of board for 10's of thousands in advertising. He's got the good guy brand, but just quietly out in the water away from mainstream media he appears to act like a prick.
I think there has been plenty of examples in the media of him acting like a douche. People just seem to forget about them because they're fairly minor indiscretions compared against his achievements and hardships. But there's definitely a pattern there.
Well said Crustt, but I doubt it’s an act.
Swellnet should be commended on their article on this the other week showing how many people are pissed off with this and it leading to the police having a presence in the water during the recent cyclone. Much appreciated!
Don’t forget Burleigh.
I'm still spewing about the step-off drop-in I received from a cupla famous glory-boys no more than 5m away from me paddling in to a bomb a couple of years ago. Hovering.. waiting.. lurking... while I sat right on the spot knowing it was coming, they spun in at the last few seconds. Coulda been one of the waves of my life, yeah you have your big wave stories boys but this average joe saw the fin scars in your ass as you dropped in and then pissed off after down to Kirra. I trust that Huey will sort that one out. It definitely wasn't big enough for that behaviour.
I was out there at the time, I saw nothing, sir!!! But love to know where the supposed footage can be seen as it was amazing. Including those not getting step offs, not that anyone did sir.
On planet Spuddups these jet-skiing miscreants would be put in stocks in the town square and pummelled with rotten tomatoes by passers by.
Great news Stu. Nice to know we can enjoy the solid Goldy swells again without the circus. Used to love travelling there for those days. I'd like to travel there again soon and buy two things..1) a new Gun and ..2) Sgt Mitch Gray a beer or two.
Good deeds done swellnet...........
Stu, Sgt. Gray. Thank you - both deserve respect and blessings from the surfing community.
Next 6ft plus swell, I need someone else to paddle - bigger board required - Currumbin with and we will get shacked off our nutz with no one else out. FREEDOM AGAIN!!??
See ya out there mate
Perhaps now Swellnet will stop running pictures of these fellas over inflating their egos...
I would much prefer to see the average Jo Blow not making a wave but having a red hot crack than these greedy bastards towing/stepping in the lineup burning others...
Such wank associated with these stories and each time "the best ever" swells hit ( called by youngsters that are still wet behind their ears ) I dont see pictures any better than a good day at North Point, The NW, South Oz, NSW etc etc where daily blokes are filling their boots in heavy slabs. Its the blokes that are out there with no cameras that i take my hat off to not these tossers...
So Swellnet will you continue to run the pics of illegal surfing, you know their sponsors want you too....
Maybe...but we'd prefer to run shots of "best ever" days at North Point, secret spots up north and even secreter spots in South Oz.
You got any for us?
I could send a few*
*those beaches are closeouts. They are secret for a reason.
I wouldn't have thought there would be too many "secret" places you haven't run shots of Stu, I'll leave it to the fellas that want to earn some pocket money by sending in pics and vids rather than get involved in that myself....
My point about the best "ever days" is that each and every swell it seems to be "the best ever"...
If that gives blokes a warm fuzzy feeling then pats on the back to em.
So you will keep running pics of Illegal surfing Stu?
Surely you want to maintain some integrity here and promote respect and enjoyment, try and keep a bit of that in surfing somewhere.....
I'll continue doing what I'm doing, you press on with the pithy comments and we'll all be sweet
Good work, Boon.
Gary admires your tireless campaign of haranging all the major surf content websites, instead of just posting throwaway comments on the only one whose proprietors give a fuck enough to meaningfully engage with those that interact with their site.
Gary processes a lot of fan mail, but he can only imagine all the engagement you’ve had with those other websites. It must be immense, how do you keep up with all the ripostes ?
Boonies hit the seam, when your riding high on that sponsored flagship lookn for the tippitoe spot ,don't forget your roots Garry G, someone will be deep inside you, too.
These three clowns are a major reason why I refuse to buy rip curl or billabong . Same with those mad hughie fuckwits
Or buy from their shapers.
Watch the red bull edit called No contest with Mick and DH...care factor for others is loud n clear...
All the Idiots who buy a pissweak dhd or js board are supporting this terrorism.....
cgr ... how's the way that in that No Contest" vid, MF told everyone as he was getting in the keyhole that he was the biggest snake. I think he was joking about it ..... but turns out it's true. You can't be a king snake and a role model at the same time - you can't have it both ways. DH and JS are off the board menu for me and the the kids
Heres an idea. Why don't a heap of free surfers invade the next comps at Bells and Margies with jetskis and show the pros the respect they show the people who are paying their wages
8 ski's in the water among the paddle in surfers in WA yesterday. Surely not Taj and friends?!
Towing in to shories now with other paddlers? Can't even use the sweep as the logic behind that.
Ban the Jet Skis near point breaks. As for the massive Egos of so called Cooly Kids, wake up, you are not doing your reps any good. Once again people, just dont buy their sponsors products.
Been away for a while so haven't really kept up with the current dramas. but...
I've done my time on the Qld pointbreaks. and most of the time these guys aren't an issue. They are quite often out there on big ugly , windy ,rainy days with heaps of sweep and few paddle surfers to be seen. Theres been many occasions where the boys will see someone is having a go in the bigger stuff , and give them a free tow . Been lucky enough to be one of them.
However, it seems lately that tow in crew seem to think they are somehow part of an elite group that can do whatever they want. Ive only just viewed the footage at Snapper, and the few guys most capable of surfing that place without a ski seem to be rubbing the average punters nose in it. It's only a matter of time until a fatality occurs and only then will we see the laws actually enforced.
As for the water police and maritime authorities doing anything real about it in the interem,, good luck with that.
Once again....Be careful what you wish for in regards to having a law enforcement presence in the surf. Once you request the authorities to police surf breaks you are opening a whole new bunch of worms.
Who wants more regulations from those on top.
Remember that you need a licence to go fishing in NSW.
ahh but,, they don't actually need to be in the water to police it. The relevant authorities have the appropriate technology to police it without getting wet. They do it to boats travelling thru bars without passengers wearing life jackets etc already . The fine is issued much like a speed camera fine . Either that or track you back to the boat ramp to do it personally. It's not about imposing more regulations , but policing the ones that are actually in place. As a commercial skipper I can tell you they can come down hard on a lot less.
And , most of the qualified water cops and maritime guys aren't comfortable or competent in larger waves closer to the breaking zone anyway.
In the end , neither the water police or maritime guys have enough resources to chase down every ski doing the wrong thing.
Its also standard practice for water police to breath test people they pull up , and especially those they caution, jet ski , boat , doesn't matter. Not assuming the guys were intoxicated ,, but then again, depends on the time of morning,, red bull and vodka can linger. If the same guys pulled me up in a boat towing a lure off Point Reef at the time , I assure you I would've been given a full going over,, licences , rego , breath test , the full rubber glove treatment.
Sgt Mitch "half the office here surfs" Gray is just doing some PR work.
Pommie Jetski fugitive smugglin' Drugz out of OZ (Hey! Yer going the Wrong Way!)
Dutto's Top End backtrackerz didn't care which way the Pommie bastard was going.
Scomo reckons the Pommie jumped from Jetski shouting 'Britannia Rules the Waves'
Salute Mick/Bede/Micky/Parko's Flood rescues with Jet Ski as looter robs Parko & his Wheels.
Left Click on Twitter Article to link to Courier Mail News story...should work!