A small meeting at Torquay Surf Club in 1994 was the beginning of the Surf Coast Branch, which officially formed in 1996. We became known for our public rallies over ocean outfalls (sewage) at Black Rock (13th Beach) and Lorne on the Great Ocean Road that sometimes saw over 100 people and generated national media attention. Major revegetation projects at Voss’s Carpark (Torquay) and Point Impossible (Torquay) plus regular beach clean ups along the Surf Coast also made up our early branch activities.
We are all about protecting and preserving the ocean and natural environment for future generations to enjoy. We respect the beach and have been active to protect, preserve and care for our coastal and marine areas along the Surf Coast since 1996 from over-visitation, disrespect, over-development and any other unethical treatment.
We have been a part of the Bells Beach Advisory Committee since 1999 advising the Surf Coast Shire on better ways to manage the reserve. Bells holds much cultural, environmental and surfing value, and has been under threat from high visitation numbers, a push for a third car-park and more infrastructure, which would ultimately max out the reserve. More recently we have been very active in protecting the iconic Bells Beach from development, as part of the nationwide Endangered Waves campaign.
In 2012 we launched the petition: “Love Bells Beach” and designed, printed and distributed postcards and the Bells Beach Times newsletter with SANE, BBPS and members of Torquay Boardriders Club. We collected over 2,600 signatures (including some big names in surfing), which resulted in a major turning point in Council decisions. We also continue to collaborate and campaign with local community groups on our shared vision for the “Bells Beach Surfing Sanctuary”.
Alongside the national Rise Above Plastics campaign we have partnered with Plastic Bag Free Torquay 3228 (PBFT) led by Stacie Bobele and Tim Silverwood‘s Take 3 initiative.
Over the past year we have hosted numerous beach clean ups including the 2012 Clean Up Australia Day event where we were lucky to have Chairman of the Board Dr Rex Campbell join us and some 52 volunteers at Bells Beach.
We held an informative stall at this year’s Falls Music & Art Festival in Lorne where we spoke to festival-goers, conducted interactive visioning process and collected hundreds of signatures on our Bells and Fisho’s petitions by prospective new supporters.
We joined community environmental groups to share an environmental stall at the NightJar Markets in Torquay over the peak summer period to spread awareness of local issues and campaigns, and also collected many more signatures for our petitions.
Surfrider Foundation Surf Coast Branch continues to educate and inform the public about important coastal issues through our Facebook page, Twitter account and regular talks to school groups on the Surf Coast.
We meet on the second Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm at the Torquay Pub. Contact us on 0408 386 812 for more info, email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our Facebook page.