Prevelly break off Pro agenda
Surfing WA has withdrawn its application to use Prevelly’s Boat Ramps surf break this year and in 2019 for the Margaret River Pro in the World Surf League competition.
After an emotion-fuelled community meeting at Margaret River Recreation Centre last Thursday night, SWA acting chief executive Tim Thirsk backed down on the appeal.
The proposal would have allowed the WSL to use Boat Ramps and Gracetown’s Northpoint for a maximum of two days during the competition, in addition to the already approved surf breaks Mainbreak and The Box.
Before withdrawing the claim, Mr Thirsk said SWA was committed to the environment, and any damage to the coastline or dunes during the erection of infrastructure at either location would be repaired at the organisation’s cost.
“We are motivated to work with the community and we won’t back down from our responsibilities,” he said.
“Any damage done, and we will pay for that with no objection.”
Surfrider Foundation’s Tracey Muir said SWA previously ignored the volunteer organisation’s plea for help.
“We were in contact with (SWA) in the past, and you simply dismissed us,” she said. “You had no interest in hearing what we had to say. We won’t be held to ransom by you, and let you do what you want.” The comments follow a fiery tone at the meeting, with many conservationists and recreational surfers against use of the two extra breaks.
Prevelly resident and environmental volunteer Genny Broadhurst questioned SWA’s management plans and said damage to dunes during the event would take six years to repair.
“How does a couple of bouncers and a strip of bunting stop people accessing the dunes?” she said.
“If someone runs up the dunes to get a better look, and a bouncer runs up after them, that’s damage done then and there. Regardless of your offer to assist with rehabilitation, we don’t want the damage caused in the first place.”
Gracetown residents were also concerned the use of North Point at last year’s competition led to environmental degradation.
Jen Stevens said photographers and event staff had caused erosion by accessing the coast through scrub, and the community was left to repair the damage. Other residents were concerned the publicity of North Point caused an influx of surfers to the region, but this was dismissed by Mr Thirsk, who said “evolution of the sport and population growth” meant increased popularity was inevitable.
The use of North Point has been confirmed for the 2018 and 2019 Drug Aware Pro but Mr Thirsk told the meeting: “we will definitely withdraw our application for Boat Ramps.”