Scotch can­celling surf lessons

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By MONTANA ARDON

SCOTCH Col­lege is among sev­eral Perth high schools to can­cel surf lessons at Trigg beach.

Scotch joins St Mark’s Angli­can Com­mu­nity School in Hil­larys and two gov­ern­ment high schools that have stopped lessons re­cently, with more than 500 stu­dents pulling out of pro­grams in the past 12 months.

Surf­ing WA chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Lane said num­bers were down this year from pre­vi­ous years.

“It is fair to say there is a de­cline across learn-to-surf pro­grams in Perth,” he said. “Other surf schools are also ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the same issue as Surf­ing WA.”

Scotch Col­lege Head of Sport Richard Foster said that the choice to with­draw was to cut un­nec­es­sary costs.

“Surf­ing was of­fered as sport choice on a trial ba­sis for two years,” he said.

“The cost of run­ning the pro­gram is very ex­pen­sive com­pared to all other sports of­fered, given the ra­tio of qual­i­fied staff to stu­dents.

“Our mid­dle school still of­fers surf­ing as part of the Out­door Ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram and the Col­lege will still sub­mit a team to com­pete for the PSA Surf­ing com­pe­ti­tion and is likely to sub­mit a team into the Surf­ing WA School Zone Ti­tles.

“The de­ci­sion to cease one of our pro­grams has noth­ing to do with sharks and safety”.

The can­cel­la­tions come af­ter Surf­ing WA had to call off its State School Surf­ing Ti­tles last Septem­ber be­cause of an un­prece­dented num­ber of shark sight­ings be­tween Trigg and North Beach.

It’s un­der­stood the Fish­eries De­part­ment dropped a baited drum line in the wa­ter near Trigg the night be­fore stu­dents from all over the State were due to com­pete in the State School surf­ing ti­tles at Trigg beach.

Stu­dents in buses from as far as Esper­ance had to turn around and go home again. The can­cel­la­tion was the first in 27 years.

Surf­ing WA chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Lane wants to meet with the new WA Gov­ern­ment to help with its ap­proach to pro­tect­ing beach users along our coast.

“We’re look­ing for so­lu­tions and we’d like to ex­plore what op­tions are out there,” he said.

The new La­bor Gov­ern­ment is cur­rently fin­ish­ing its shark mit­i­ga­tion strat­egy and new Fish­eries Min­is­ter Dave Kelly said the Gov­ern­ment was com­mit­ted to us­ing “a va­ri­ety of new and ex­ist­ing mea­sures”.

The Gov­ern­ment and Surf­ing WA have been lob­by­ing to keep the Mar­garet River Pro on the World Surf­ing League cir­cuit af­ter doubts about its fu­ture in WA were raised at the event last month.

The event is worth mil­lions of dol­lars to WA tourism.

Its fu­ture in WA should be known by Septem­ber.

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