How we did it

The Proposal

"The Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve proposal is a positive initiative for the Gold Coast from Burleigh Headland to Snapper Rocks to recognise and celebrate our famous surfing culture, history, champions and iconic point breaks and preserve a lasting legacy for our future generations.

A GCWSR will not hinder, obstruct or restrict any activities, pre-existing events and it can be endorsed as part of City of Gold Coast’s Surf Management Plan and Council's Ocean Beaches Strategy and beach and surf amenity for all the public to share and be proud of. The world authority of World Surfing Reserves, Save the Waves made up of a highly qualified panel of international academics, marine, environmental and social scientist, leading international surfing administrators and well respected surfers with professional qualifications, has acknowledged in a letter that City of Gold Coast Surf Management Plan is the overriding authority and has highly commended City of Gold Coast's management of it beaches as world class.

The Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve proposal is largely ceremonial, with plaques to commemorate, has no State legislation to protect, does not create another layer of bureaucracy, or more red tape but that being part of Council's Surf Management plan gives it authenticity, something to hang its hat on and allows City of Gold Coast to show the way with its natural assets.

A GCWSR can also be part of City of Gold Coast’s Destination Tourism Management Plan, that mentions iconic experiences like surfing as a major drawcard for the local economy that attracts international, national, state and local visitors, who whether they surf or not, marvel at our golden white beaches, our pristine clear water and world class point breaks. A World Surfing Reserve is a natural fit in Gold Coast’s Destination Tourism Management Plan and so it should be as with Gold Coast’s Surf Management Plan. This is a tremendous opportunity to endorse a World Surfing Reserve under two planning banners that complement each other without causing hindrance or obstruction. It’s what we have as our greatest natural assets, why wouldn’t we like to brag about that and enhance the reputation by putting us up in lights as a World Surfing Reserve with world stage status. Our beach and surf successful achievements warrant a world branding that a WSR has to offer. Events like Cooly Rocks On, Bleach Festival, Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Quicksilver Pro and the Commonwealth Games, to name just a few, can embrace this World Surfing Reserve attraction as a major plus for our diverse coastal city.

We acknowledge Gold Coast Waterways and their authority over Tallebudgera and Currumbin estuary and do not seek to interfere or conflict with their authority over the waterways. We have made numerous approaches to satisfy their concerns.

And the SLSQ from the outset have supported the nomination, as we are all on the same page with agreeing that a World Surfing Reserve should be part of the Surf Management Plan and that we abide by all of Surf Lifesaving's activities on the beach and surf. The way forward is for Council to support the nomination so that we can be in the running for the 2016 Dedication. Already World Surf League, the World Tour Professional Body of surfing have offered to support a dedication ceremony at Snapper Rocks prior to the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro. That such a dedication ceremony attended by the Premier, Mayor and other dignitaries and stakeholders would be filmed and recorded for the WSL live webcast showing to worldwide audience in the millions throughout the Snapper Rocks World Tour opening event. This is publicity that you can’t buy supported by our super successful World Champions Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Stephanie Gilmore and Josh Kerr to mention just few. In fact there are 21 World Surfing Champions from the Gold Coast!

We have written support from the Premier of Qld and her State Ministers of Environment, Tourism and Ports and many other organizations. We overwhelming meet the criteria of what constitutes a WSR. A preliminary submission was sent in last year however it was without State or local Government support.

Our local stewardship committee which was selected from a general meeting in March 2014 to pursue the nomination would agree to be part of a Council LSC to adopt a Local Stewardship Plan based on the Surf Management Plan. Representatives would also be from the Surf Management Plan Advisory Committee, State Government, Gold Coast City Council and Gold Coast Waterways. The world governing body Save the Waves, once endorsing a designated WSR, hand over the management of the WSR to the Local Stewardship Committee (LSC) which is governed by Councils Surf Management Plan.

There is no licensing agreement from Save the Waves for a World Surfing Reserve. Once endorsed by the world governing body, the appointed LSC under the Surf Management Plan is responsible for the management and future running of the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve. But firstly we need to be in the running and have our submission totally supported and upon being endorsed can sit down with Council to create the WSR committee. As I have mentioned we need to have the nomination in by September 2015 for the vote in October 2015. There are many other organizations who have written letters of support including Mayor of Manly Jean Hay who is Chair of WSR Manly Freshwater and that dedication was attended by Prime Minister Tony Abbot and NSW Premier Mike Baird. What we need now is a letter of support from Council to be in the running for 2016.

It has now been confirmed that Noosa, which was endorsed as a NSR National Surfing Reserve in March this year, have now written a submission to apply for a WSR. We now have a serious competitor apart from Spain's Mundaka and Uluwatu in Bali, Noosa which has the local government support from the Noosa Mayor, had their NSR attended by Federal, State and local Government, would be a shoe in if Gold Coast stalls at the crease and drops a golden opportunity to become a WSR that Noosa would pick up in a heartbeat.

It is now time to act and move forward on this proposal, we are not changing the world or overthrowing authority, usurping power structures in State and Local Government authorities, no jobs for the boys, or controlling the beaches for one specific group, this is a genuine community proposal about respect, recognition and celebration of our world class assets that can make all Gold Coasters proud as a World Surfing Reserve destination. What could be wrong about that? This proposal can only be a positive acknowledgment of all that we have to offer from our unique iconic world famous beach and surfing environment."

Andrew McKinnon

Letters of Support

Nik Strong-Cvetich
Executive Director
Save the Waves Coalition 
Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk MP
Premier of Queensland, Minister for the Arts
Hon Dr Steven Miles MP
Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
Hon Kate Jones MP
Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism,
Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games
Hon Mark Bailey MP
Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports
Minister for Energy and Water Supply
Hon Karen Andrews MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry & Science
Federal Member for McPherson
Geoff Provest MP
State Member for Tweed
Jean Hay AM
Mayor of Manly Council
Mr Hal Morris
Chief Executive Officer
Gold Coast Waterways Authority
Mr George Hill
Chief Operating Officer
Surf Life Saving Queensland
Members of the Board
National Surfing Reserves
Mr John Charlton
President and Chairman of the Board
Surfing Queensland
Mr Greg Howell
President and Sustainable Event Manager
Surfrider Foundation
Gold Coast Tweed
Mr Jye Brazenas
Burleigh Heads Boardriders Club Inc.
Mr Shane Holborn
Burleigh Heads Longboard Club Inc.
Mr Brett McDougall
Palm Beach Boardriders Club
Mr Kalan Halford
The Alley Boardriders Committee
Mr Sean Bicknell
Currumbin SUP Club Inc.
Mr Ben Clark
Kirra Surfriders Club
Mr Peter Bryant (Secretary)
Mr Jay Phillips (President)

Snapper Rocks Surfriders Club Inc. 
Mr Mike Porter
Gold Coast Malibu Club Inc. 
Leanne Gordon
Currumbin RSL Fishing Club 
Ian Banks
Diving the Gold Coast 
Brad Smith
Surfer & Professional Fisherman
Gold Coast 
Mark & Bianca Richardson
Surfing Services Australia 
Natasha Edwards
Swell Sculpture Festival 
Lois Levy
Gloria Baker
Friends of Currumbin