Article

1,500 Surfers Paddle Out In Protest Of Sand Pumping

| posted on July 22, 2010

Yesterday, 1,500 paddlers took to the water at Kirra to create history on Australia Day by joining hands in the outline of the map of Australia. The focus of the rally was to raise awareness of the loss of Kirra Point—and to gain attention at the highest levels of Australian State Government, namely the NSW and Queensland State Governments, who jointly manage the Tweed Sand By-Pass operation together with the Gold Coast City Council and the Tweed Shire Council.

The community at large would like to see action on the restoration of Kirra Point, considered to be one of the greatest sand-bottom pointbreaks in the world. After eight years of pumping, and 10 million cubic meters of sand distributed on Gold Coast beaches, only one-eighth of the total sand has moved north. The rest has lodged at Coolangatta and at Kirra Beach. The sand by-pass operation began in 2001, and while it created the Super Bank at Snapper Rocks, it wiped out Kirra, which hasn’t performed since the massive supply of sand was distributed to the southern end of the Gold Coast. The last year that Kirra Point was able to host a pro-surf event was in 2002.

Some of the biggest names in surfing turned out for the biggest rally Kirra has seen since the days when it used to pump perfect waves. The 2007 World Champion, Mick Fanning, a life member of the Kirra Surfriders Club, spoke about his years competing and freesurfing at Kirra Point with his Coolangatta mates, Dean Morrison and Joel Parkinson. Legendary surfing great Michael Peterson, better known as MP, is still considered the King of Kirra, and reflected on his tube-riding sessions there during the ’70s. MP came down to the water’s edge to cheer on the paddlers. Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew, who carved out his surfing career at Kirra in the early ’70s with MP and PT (Peter Townend), was awarded the Order of Australia for surfing, administration, and environmental and fundraising events. Rabbit is only the second surfer to be awarded the Order of Australia, the first being Mark Richards of Newcastle. Rabbit spoke passionately about his love of Kirra and how we can all work together to get Kirra Point back.

Yesterday’s Australia Day rally was organized by the Kirra Surfriders Club in conjunction with the Kirra Surf Club and with the backing by the Surfrider Foundation.