Waverley Council considers banning surfing at North Bondi

Ben Matson
Swellnet Dispatch

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
© Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 1:55pm

It's one thing to make the northern end 'safer' from fins, but it's another to force all of the beginners down the southern end.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 2:05pm

Bondi versus Manly.

Cage match to determine which locals will meet the surfers from Trigg beach in the final of the Worst Beach in Australia to be a Regular Surfer competition.

Winner of the final to represent Australia on the world stage against the existing Global champions Newquay, England to establish once and for all just who it is that possesses the broadest streak of masochism to truly claim the title of Worlds Keenest surfer. *

*Huntington Beach , USA - obvious favourites - are unable to compete this year as the team has once again found themselves bedridden due to exposure to the waterborne toxins their home beach is famous for.

Seriously though , can you imagine the sheer volume of beginners that must be ditching their soft tops through the line up at Bondi each day ?

Not to mention the craze for competent surfers to ride those manoeuvrable softies between the flags. Must be chock a block.

Best off just reintroducing that old law preventing ocean bathing during daylight hours in order to prevent idleness. All those productive hours wasted in the water could be used to ratchet up the Sydney house prices arms race another few percentage points.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 4:16pm

Trigg mid 2000s, 70 out, point takeoff is only shaped wave on the stretch, it broke closer to the island then, takeoff spot the size of a Landcruiser bonnet... banks are better now on that stretch than I remember

& Newquay - well, go around the corner and you have Fistral... was A framing and throwing barrels the time I went there. Swell also built to 6ft on dusk - I had no idea if this was a normal day or not.

I reckon some of the beaches around New York would be in for a shot on this too

edit: re Houses, "Men for the sake of a living forget to live"

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 2:07pm

Wonder what retired lifesaver Big H man Nightingale reckons......many expletives id say !

Squidy's picture
Squidy's picture
Squidy commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 4:24pm

Watch the amount of surfers/kids who remove the fins from their softboard's so they can play on the waves up the northern end- more out of control boards will be flying around!!

walter-r-white's picture
walter-r-white's picture
walter-r-white commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 4:59pm

Just ride a softop with no fins, easy loophole there.

Don't take me too seriously.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 5:00pm

Don't know if it's just me, but i cringe when i heard the word Bondi.

I just think of those TV shows centred around Bondi and the whole scene that goes with it.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 5:01pm

About a year ago I spoke to a lifeguard from Waverley Council and he said they were having troubles policing 'soft' boards, principally because the two major manufacturers were fitting them with FCS plugs. So while the boads were soft in name they were potentially as dangerous as normal fibreglass boards.

This could be a way for the lifeguards to circumvent that issue.

The other thing that comes to mind is how surfing is sliding on the cultural scale, becoming less relevant. Bondi has been crowded for fifty years yet it's hard to imagine surfers being marginalised this way in the 70s, 80s, or 90s.

thatguy's picture
thatguy's picture
thatguy commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 6:05pm

Just ban it everywhere, problem solved. Leave the waves to the boogz and bashers.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 8:40pm

1)Buffer Zones
(Boardriders have whole 1km of Bondi Beach - swimmers/free surfers have 20m)
Bondi Red/Yellow Flags have [< Boardriderz Prohibited >] signs mounted on them.
The Lifeguards are only asking for safety 20m zone that all SLSA clubs enforce.
eg: Those dinky Blue surfer signs with B&W chequered flags that sit outside main flags.
Just continue boardriding as before on holidays/weekends as SLSA has no Loud Hailers.

2a) Hard v Soft
Lifeguards mostly police standing or one leg up on soft boards be that softies/boogies.
They fear falling or dismount at speed from a higher elevation upon toddlers.
Gold Coast has long tried to ban Stand up Boogie in flags.
Perhaps argue why 120kg fibreglass Handplaner spearing at 20km/hr is a safer option.

2b) I'm long past dumping any more of my shit in the ocean...
I have noticed Nippers sanction larger slice of beach & [L] 2 Surf mobs secure their lot...
Add the Comps/Kite Surfers/SUPs/Jetskis/Drones all moving in on Boardriderz turf.
Recent times Cops/Ambos/Greencare/Council Bulldozers
Sorry guys I can only argue for zero shit in ocean it's our only hope. Savour every last drop!

3)Electric-4WD Skateboards-Bikes/ Fat Boy Scooters/Segways/Dogz poo the beachpath .
So Waverley council wants to ban retro push off skateboards... That's not the problem!

4) I'm guessing the plan might look like this.
*Surf wading spot for gran/kidz gets priority...safest part of beach on the day
* O/SeasTourist beach would side near tower also.
*Surfing waves for (disabled)...(Safest Entry provided) Ambo access.
*Rescue training boards...not the heaviest wave.(Possibly annexes learn 2 surf)

Now to argue that surfboard riders somehow enhance a day at the beach!
When your done, argue to preserve 20m cage of shop free Oz Surf...I so want in on that!

Mort's picture
Mort's picture
Mort commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 11:04pm

The concrete bunker would have to be removed.

It is an Aladdins cave of surfboards, fuck off you idiots
I rode a decent long board hired from said concrete bunker.

I saw this old guy, I thought it may Peter Bowes.

I would gladly go back there again.

He was not Peter Bowes, but he was old and crinkly and he gave to look at the surfboards.

This little fella, after I ridden several times, couldn't get the sweet spot, but did a couple of times.
I washed up, he said I knew how to ride.

brainiac's picture
brainiac's picture
brainiac commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 11:25pm

I am enjoying your posts in my own mixed up ways!

Mort's picture
Mort's picture
Mort commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 12:08am

Carry on.

Mort's picture
Mort's picture
Mort commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 12:11am

Happy to hear.

Mort's picture
Mort's picture
Mort commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 1:07am

This means I have to resubscribe, Bloody Hell.

groovie's picture
groovie's picture
groovie commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 12:15am

Bring back the surfoplane!

bigtreeman's picture
bigtreeman's picture
bigtreeman commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 7:32am

Maybe they could issue licenses for people to surf at their beaches in authorised areas, put stickers on boards, issue fines and impound infringing boards ;)

Go well,

redmondo's picture
redmondo's picture
redmondo commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 2:10pm

It is agonizing to see perfect waves not being utilized
segregate everyone into their rightful places


maka2000's picture
maka2000's picture
maka2000 commented Friday, 20 Jul 2018 at 8:04am

reducilous gay-hipster council board , completely wasting rate's payers money for such a stupid laws like this. shame on you motherfckrs!