World Surfing Reserve protects beaches for future
YEARS of community activism have finally paid off with the official dedication of the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve.
The 16km strip of coastline, running from Burleigh Point to Snapper Rocks, officially became just the eighth surfing reserve in the world, during a rainy ceremony at Point Danger yesterday.
The declaration - made by the international Save the Waves Coalition - will effectively preserve the coastline and protect it from any unwanted development.
The Gold Coast beat bids from the Sunshine Coast and Brazil to take out the prized nomination, bringing Australia's count to two WSRs after Manly in Sydney.
A large stone plaque was unveiled by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszcuk and Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate, alongside surfing great Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew and a delegation from the WSR in Peru.
"It is hard to single out any part of Queensland's magnificent coastline but this is truly a special area that is revered right around the surfing world," Ms Palaszczuk said.
Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve Inc chairman Andrew McKinnon, also a Tweed Daily News columnist, said the reserve was the culmination of years of hard work by the community, sparked by widespread opposition to a cruise ship terminal at Kirra proposed by property developer Bob Ell.
"We had so many people supporting this, that in the end it was undeniable," Mr McKinnon said.
"This is the start of something really monumental. It is no longer ceremonial, we have a surf management plan that backs this up, we have a local stewardship committee that now has direct input to (Gold Coast) council on all beach and surf amenity issues.
"This is a huge result, from here we are looking so good."
Save the Waves Coalition executive director Nik Strong-Cvetich, who flew in from the US for the ceremony, said while the recognition was a "tremendous honour" it also came with "tremendous responsibility".
"This is for the long haul and it means protecting the surf for generations," Mr Strong-Cvetich said.
He said the Gold Coast was chosen for its quality and consistency of waves, environmental biodiversity, history and culture.
"Here on the Gold Coast, you have set the world standard for what a right point break is," he said.
"When we think of point breaks around the world we describe them as 'Kirra-esque'. We compare every single right hand point break around the world to what you have."
Gold Coast Tourism CEO Martin Winter said the dedication would not only elevate the global profile of the southern Gold Coast's breaks, but would provide the foundations to preserve the area by bringing its environmental, cultural, economic and community attributes to the forefront.
"I'd argue that nowhere is Australia's iconic surf culture celebrated like it is on the Gold Coast," Mr Winter said.
"Our beach lifestyle is an intrinsic part of our cultural identity and defines the way we connect with each other and our city."
A special souvenir booklet produced to commemorate the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve is available at newsagents in the area or at the Tweed Daily News office, 13-17 Rivendell Est, Tweed Heads South.