Gold Coast New Surf Etiquette Sign Program

Gold Coast, Gold Coast New Surf Etiquette Sign Program, Good Surfer, Surfing

Surfing, often dubbed Australia’s unofficial national sport, continues to capture the hearts of millions, with the sun-soaked shores of the Gold Coast standing as one of its most cherished playgrounds. However, the surge in popularity of this iconic pastime has brought with it challenges, primarily overcrowding at renowned surf breaks. To address these concerns and prioritize surf etiquette and safety, the City of Gold Coast, in collaboration with the World Surfing Reserve (WSR) Local Stewardship Committee, has initiated the “Good Surfer” program.

Surfing’s Soaring Popularity

Surfing’s appeal Down Under has witnessed unprecedented growth, with an estimated 1.7 million surfers in the country, as reported by Surfing Australia, the sport’s governing body in the nation. This surge in participants mirrors the sport’s inherent connection to Australia’s healthy lifestyle and coastal culture.

Yet, success comes with its own set of challenges, and overcrowding has become increasingly prevalent at some of the Gold Coast’s most iconic surf breaks. For surfers and beachgoers alike, this has led to concerns about safety and surf etiquette, sparking action from local authorities.

“Good Surfer” Program: Promoting Surf Etiquette and Safety

The “Good Surfer” program, a joint effort by the City of Gold Coast and the World Surfing Reserve (WSR) Local Stewardship Committee, aims to address these concerns head-on. Its primary objectives include raising awareness of surf etiquette rules and enhancing safety measures in local surf lineups.

Credit by (surfertoday)

To achieve these goals, the initiative has introduced a series of informative surf safety signs at strategic locations. These signs are currently in place at Burleigh Point, Currumbin Alley, and Snapper Rocks, with plans to erect another at Kirra Point (Big Groyne) next to the WSR monument. These signs feature essential surf safety tips and guidelines to alleviate congestion in the surf and mitigate the risk of surf-related conflicts and incidents.

The informal “golden rules” of surfing, as depicted on these signs, include:

  1. Don’t drop in: Respect the surfer already riding a wave; wait your turn.
  2. Don’t paddle in front of an incoming surfer taking off: Avoid cutting off another surfer’s path.
  3. Don’t snake another surfer who has been waiting patiently: Show consideration and respect in the lineup.
  4. Don’t abandon your board: Prevent loose boards from becoming hazards.
  5. Wear a leg rope: Ensure your board is securely attached to you to prevent it from drifting.
  6. Be aware of other craft, such as boat traffic: Exercise vigilance to avoid potential accidents.

Importantly, the “Good Surfer” program is focused on educating surfers and beachgoers about these principles rather than seeking enforcement or fines. The goal is to foster a community that embraces surf safety and adheres to the acknowledged best practices of surf etiquette.

A Crucial Component of the Surf Management Plan

The “Good Surfer” program is an integral part of the City of Gold Coast’s Surf Management Plan (SMP). Notably, this plan is the only one of its kind worldwide to be adopted by the World Surfing Reserves, underlining the Gold Coast’s commitment to safeguarding and enhancing its surf amenity.

The SMP is designed to protect the world-renowned surf spots along the 16-kilometer stretch of coastline from Burleigh Beach to Snapper Rocks. Whether one is riding a shortboard, a Malibu, or a stand-up paddleboard, adhering to surf etiquette and safety guidelines is pivotal in contributing to the responsible management of these iconic surf spots.

In March 2023, the City of Gold Coast renewed the Surf Management Plan for another five years, demonstrating a continued dedication to the preservation and sustainable enjoyment of these valuable coastal resources.

Gold Coast: A Surfing Paradise

The Gold Coast’s transformation over the past century has been nothing short of remarkable. What was once a collection of coastal hamlets has evolved into one of the world’s premier vacation destinations, thanks in no small part to its status as a top surfing location.

By the late 1910s, the southern coast of Queensland had earned a reputation as a “surfer’s paradise.” This led to the renaming of the town of Elston to the now-famous Surfers Paradise in 1933.

The 1950s and 1960s witnessed a surge in surfing’s popularity, perfectly aligning with the Gold Coast’s growth. Accommodations sprang up along the coastline, from Southport to Coolangatta, to cater to the increasing number of visitors drawn to the area’s beautiful beaches.

The 1970s marked the emergence of a robust surfing culture on the Gold Coast, culminating in the inaugural Stubbies Surf Classic at Burleigh Heads in 1977. This event marked the beginning of the contemporary global surfing circuit and was won by local surfing legend Michael Peterson, who is now honored with a statue at Kirra Beach.

Today, it’s not uncommon to share the waves with world-class surfing champions, as the Gold Coast serves as a frequent venue for major domestic and international surf competitions.

In conclusion, as surfing’s popularity continues to soar on the Gold Coast, the “Good Surfer” program stands as a testament to the community’s commitment to responsible surf practices. By promoting surf etiquette and safety, the program ensures that both seasoned surfers and newcomers can enjoy the waves while preserving the region’s unique surf culture and stunning natural beauty.


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