Bondi Considers Banning Surfers, The Only People Actually Using The Beach In Winter
Local surfers unhappy with "short-sighted" proposal.
A new proposal from Sydney's Waverley Council would see all surfers banned from part of Bondi beach -- and the locals aren't happy.
The north end of Sydney's iconic 900m beach is typically used by children or beginner on foam boards, but under the new proposals, these surfers would be turfed to the southern end of the beach to compete for space with advanced waveriders.
The aim is to decrease the risk of injury to swimmers by establishing a 20m "no go" zone around the flags, but there have been no reports of collisions between swimmers and foam boards that require First Aid treatment, according to council statistics.
Waverley Council also admitted it would increase the risk of injury to the 84 percent of people outside the flags due to congestion.
Under the new proposal, the definition of "surfboard" would expand to include any board with a fin, which includes foam boards.
Local surfers have dismissed the proposal as short-sighted, which will either result in more dangerous conditions for beginner surfers or kick them off the beach entirely.
"With north Bondi being the most sheltered space, it offers the safest space for children and beginners to surf," Bondi resident Sannen Braun told ten daily.
"I've seen some incredibly dangerous surf on the south end of the beach at the same time as mild surf on the north.
"Additionally, swimming is near zero during the colder months and this ban would see the entire north end mostly unused for the duration."
On average, the number of surfers far outweighs the number of swimmers in between the flags.
An average of 84 surfers are using the beach on any given day, with as many as 300 people riding the waves on particularly good weekends, according to council figures.
On the other hand, on average there are just 21 swimmers in the water -- and sometimes there are none at all.
The council is currently seeking input from the wider community, with a survey sent out to key stakeholders including surf clubs, board-riders groups, surf training schools and local precincts last Friday.
It will be open for 28 days, with no decisions being made until the council reviews the results.
The council sought to squash concerns on Wednesday afternoon, telling media that it is only seeking feedback from the community at this stage.
"There are no plans to ban surfing on Bondi Beach," said mayor John Wakefield.
All beach users are encouraged to complete the survey, which can be found here.