Gold Coast unveils its Surf Management Plan

The Gold Coast Surf Management Plan has been released. The 56-page document aims to improve the quality of the surfing experience along the 52 kilometers of surf breaks. Every year, the Gold Coast attracts 11.5 million day-visitors. Surfing is a key outdoor activity in Australia’s sixth largest city. However, resources, i.e. waves, are not endless, and surf etiquette is not always taken into consideration. The Gold Coast Surf Management Plan has identified several issues, which include an increasing demand and diversity of beach and ocean uses, an increasing number of active surfers and other wave-riding participants, a dynamic and ever-changing ocean beach environment, and the need to protect the city’s image and reputation as a world-class surfing destination.

The region offers are multiple, popular breaks, from Snapper Rocks to South Stradbroke Island, and overcrowding has translated into conflicts between different user groups. Surfers, citizens, and local authorities have decided it was time for a change.

“Our Surf Management Plan represents the first time anywhere in the world that a local government has formally recognized the importance of surf breaks to the local community while reinforcing the critical nature of maintaining surf amenity with solid science, community input and effective management strategies,” underlines Tom Tate, mayor of the Gold Coast.

“The Surf Management Plan has been developed with significant input from all users of the surf breaks and beaches. Through the consultation process, we have developed a plan that balances the interests of all beach and ocean users in line with our Gold Coast 2020 vision that ‘everyone can enjoy a beach experience.’”

The Gold Coast Surf Management Plan seeks to achieve three primary objectives:

1) Resident and visiting surf users who share Gold Coast beaches clearly understand local surf etiquette and surf safety customs.
2) Management of surf amenity on Gold Coast beaches is recognized as best practice and is informed by data collection, design and innovation.
3) There is joint stewardship in the management of Gold Coast surf amenity.

There will be major reviews of the plan in 2020, 2025, 2030 and 2035.

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