Endangered Waves - Blog Update - December, 2018

Endangered Waves - Campaign Update, December 2018

From heading to King Island in Tasmania opposing a proposed Salmon Farm just around from Martha Lavinia, to picking up tonnes of left over waste in the national park surrounding Double Island Point as a result of overuse, to standing on the beach in South Newcastle where a skate bowl is proposed to be built...on the beach!

The Endangered Waves program aims to highlight the many threats endangering a number of Australia’s most unique and fragile surfing and coastal environments. There is currently some significant issues and proposals that threaten Australia’s wave quality, amenity and the general health of the ocean ecology, which we all share as surfers. The following is a brief update on some of the  waves that need our help around Australia. 


The ENTIRE Southern Australian coastline!

Surfrider Foundation is enlisting the entire southern Australian coastline as Endangered Waves from Equinor’s proposal to drill in The Great Australian Bight. Should an oil spill occur, the environmental and economic consequences would be dire, widespread and catastrophic!  We stand with the Save the Bight Alliance, Patagonia, and the now 14 councils in southern Australia who formalised opposition to drilling in the Great Australian Bight. Surfrider Foundation calls upon Federal LABOUR, LIBERAL and GREENS to announce their stance on oil drilling in the bight.


Blacksmiths Beach - NSW

The beach and surfing amenity are disappearing at Blacksmiths beach. Newcastle learn to surf and Surfrider Hunter crews are currently lobbying Council and State Government to look at options to restore the surf break. They are leading the awareness campaign in a fight to save the beach from turning into the ‘new Stockton’.  On 1st December 2018 at the Bring Blacksmiths Back community Rally, it was announced that Blacksmiths would join the Endangered Waves list.  This campaign has only just begun…. In recent years as the surf consistency and quality has deteriorated.  With human engineering of sand dunes and the breakwater extension and upgrade, the sand banks in the surf zone have disappeared. With the loss of the surf zone sandbanks there are no waves for body surfing or surfboard riding at Blacksmiths Beach from the Breakwater to Awabakal Avenue, basically no waves along the entire beach.  Blacksmiths Beach is now devoid of waves, with only a dangerous shore dump, that gets even more dangerous as the swell gets bigger. Surfers young and old, local and from afar are rallying together to ask the question, what has happened to  Blacksmiths Beach?


Martha Lavinia - TAS

The Tasmanian government earmarked potential grow zones for the Salmon Farming industry. The waters off King Island was one of those areas. Just around the corner from the world renowned Martha Lavinia surfbreak and adjacent to a State Reserve and international Ramsar site. Tassal continues to monitor the conditions near Martha’s.

The King Island local petition is over 65%...against the proposal! That’s not to suggest that 35% are for it, some may have not signed or even of an opinion.

Surfrider Foundation’s online petition is over 23,000 signatures and counting...

We have videos and statements from the likes of Barton Lynch, Tom Carroll, Jamie O’Brien, Ross Clarke-Jones, Brendan Margieson, Derek Hynd, Sunny Garcia, Andrew Kidman, Pancho Sullivan, Toby Martin, Mikey Brennan, Stuart Gibson, Sean Davey and Nick Carroll.

Check out Surfrider’s Martha video with Surfrider Ambassador Barton Lynch and the King Island locals here:   https://vimeo.com/267774795.

It's clear there is enough opposition locally and internationally to say that Tassal or any fish farms are "NOT WELCOME" on King Island!

You Can Take Action By Doing The Following:

  • Join us in the fight, become a Surfrider member
  • Write to the Tasmanian Government telling them you don’t want this to proceed.
  • Sign our petition: www.change.org/p/tasmanian-house-of-assembly-save-martha-lavinia-beach


South Newcastle - NSW

Newcastle Council proposes to build a skate park on the beach. The Surfrider Foundation, and (from what we understand) the majority of the local constituents, oppose building on South Newcastle beach. 

Reports to us from the recent community drop in sessions, are that council representatives were unable to respond to basic and intelligent questions about the skate bowl to be built on the beach. 

Surfrider Foundation met with the mayor and council on 24 October 2018, and followed up with a fairly serious email, requesting information and answers. To this date, Surfrider have had NO RESPONSE from the City Of Newcastle (C.O.N.).

We now have statements from Australia’s leading Geomorphologist, Professor Andrew Short; and retired Office of Environment and Heritage (O.E.H.) Coastal Engineer Peter Evans, which are being published. 

Our next step is to engage Environmental Planning lawyers, our international network of coastal engineers and contact the Awabakal people. You can take action now by sending a letter or email to council and sign the petition here:  https://www.change.org/p/bernie-wilson-save-our-southie-no-concrete-on-south-newcastle-beach


Stockton Beach - NSW

Stockton Beach is the result of decades of sand NOT hitting the beach due to human engineering for the Port of Newcastle. There was once consistent surfable waves at Stockton, but over time the loss of sand and beach profile have resulted in shore dump in most situations.

Stockton Beach loses up to 50,000 cubic meters of sand and 1metre of beach per year! This is a historical average, however. A report detailing sand loss from 1988-2000 states the recession accelerated 5-6 times that amount. In the last 6 months the land at the northern end of the Mitchell St seawall has receded by up to 5m. This erosion has begun cutting into a heritage council dump, put the Childcare Centre at immediate risk, taken away all of the beach in front of the Mitchell St Seawall, uncovered World War 2 tank traps, exposed a long since forgotten mine shaft, washed away the Surf Club carpark, about 2km of beach essentially inaccessible to the public, a long lost ship from the 1800’s has been exposed, and unfortunately a junior lifesaver was badly injured, opening up his knee on a temporary armour wall (boulder).  

Studies suggest that if nothing is done to put a stop to the erosion, the recession will continue until it reaches the river, rendering Stockton an island.  Why hasn’t a long term solution been put in place yet?


Yaroomba  QLD

Sekisui House Australia has been approved by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council to build a hotel and beachfront residential development at Yaroomba beach.  Despite 9288 local written submissions against the proposal (an Australian record) compared to 2998 in support, despite breaching the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme (currently 8.5M height limit for the area, the proposal is 24.5M), despite a declared perceived conflict of interest from the Mayor in the deciding council vote, there was a 6 to 5 vote in favour of the development from the councillors, despite population density concerns and ecosystem concerns amongst others. 

Councils approval of the development has seen the community rise up, and there is currently a David Vs Goliath battle happening in the Planning & Environment Court. Appeal documents lodged lists 9 conflicts with the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme. 

Surfrider Foundation is organising a fundraiser event for the Save Yaroomba court appeal to help fight this inappropriate development. A Surfing Teams challenge followed by live music (licensed & all ages) is being planned for late Feb/early March 2019. A great community event with prizes, presentations, raffles, auctions, and BBQ. Join us in the fight to Save Yaroomba.


Double Island Point - QLD

Double island is famous for its surf, 4x4ing, camping, fishing and great times, but it’s unfortunately infamous for the mess left around after peak period, big crowds and disrespectful minority. Surfrider’s Sunshine Coast branch hold bi annual beach clean up / educational events. Since 2010, volunteers have lifted more than 15 tonnes of marine debris and left over campers rubbish off the beaches and dunes. 

Highlighting some of the well known issues that the beach is facing: overcrowding; human waste in the dunes affecting water quality and health; driving over dunes; unacceptable leftover waste on a beach...in a national park! We added “D.I.” to the endangered waves list in 2017 from consistent results at the cleanups and consistent evidence of a blatant and naive disrespect for the beach.

QPWS, and a whole range of stakeholders are discussing improvements to the management of the area. The Great Sandy Management Plan is set for release in 2019, with the specific issues for the Cooloola Recreation Area to be addressed also. But, alas, we’ve been told this since 2015…if you go to D.I. frequently, sometimes or even if you’ve only been there once, you’ll know why we have to look after this place. 

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service are conducting surveys to collect information on visitor activities, travel patterns, toileting, waste disposal and visitor satisfaction and experience whilst visiting the park. The results of the survey will be used to improve management of the area and infrastructure planning for this area.

Please take the time to fill out the survey and have your say. Contact us for a copy and join us on the beach in 2019.


Our current Endangered Waves are:

QLD - Double Island Point, Yaroomba, T.O.S. (The Other Side), Kirra,  

NSW - Stockton Beach, South Newcastle Beach, North Narrabeen,  

VIC - Bells Beach, Westernport Bay, 

TAS - Martha Lavinia (King Island),

Announcing our New Endangered Waves:

NSW - Blacksmiths Beach; &

The ENTIRE Southern Coastline of Australia

Currently Vulnerable Waves  (under review)

QLD - Philip Park (The Spit, Gold Coast); Burleigh Heads; The GREAT BARRIER REEF

NSW - Point Plomer

WA - Cottlesloe

Extinct Waves

VIC - Bastion Pt Mallacoota

Saved Waves (for now)

QLD – Capricorn Coast, Alex Heads

NSW – Sandon Point, The Farm - Shellharbour

VIC - Corsair

TAS - Tam O’Shanter Bay

Norfolk Island - Ball Bay


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