Mr Allan Carpenter
Parliament House, Perth WA
Re: Proposed Rip Curl ASP Surfing Event, Gnaraloo Reef, Ningaloo Marine Park August 2008.
We, the undersigned, humbly petition you and your colleagues in government to offer the following information and consider the consequence of this major international surfing event proposed for August 2008 at Gnaraloo Reef in the Ningaloo Marine Park, 150 km north from Carnarvon along a rough dirt track.
We petitioners are representative of the majority opinion of the more than 5000 recreational surfers who use the surf breaks at Gnaraloo and Quobba stations annually. We include residents and ratepayers of Carnarvon, surfers drawn from all over the State, national and international visitors. Recreational surfers travel long distances at considerable personal expense to holiday at Red Bluff and Gnaraloo camping grounds and enjoy the unique character of the sea and landscapes. The number of surfers coming has steadily increased since the breaks were discovered in the 1970s to the benefit of the state and the local economy.
It has come to our attention that the Rip Curl Search is proposing to hold an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) rated surfing competition for the top 44 competitors at the 3 Mile surf break at Gnaraloo Station in early August, 2008. We understand this will entail over 150 surfers and support staff, an unpredictable number of spectators, requisite vehicles, equipment and temporary facilities and intense media hype. Gnaraloo management are already refusing bookings and the surf break will be closed to non competitors for the two week period the proposed event takes place. In usual locations and circumstances, recreational surfers are tolerant of inconvenience and pleased to view world class performances of their chosen sport.
There are, however, a unique set of characteristics and circumstances that makes this venue unsuitable for an event of such magnitude. Therefore, we beg the responsible authorities to withhold permission for this ill considered proposal.
This request is not lightly made, but must be considered on the following grounds and is supported by the detailed information attached:
Publicity generated by ASP events exponentially increases the number of surfers that come to surf the featured break. What will surfing tourists find when they come here over the next few years? Surf breaks that have already reached their carrying capacity. Tombstones already has 40-50 surfers vying for a spot in the 30mtr takeoff position on a powerful wave breaking on a shallow reef. Red Bluff is a similarly dangerous and crowded. Hospital admissions have noticeably increased as the crowds have built over the years. The experience will be significantly diminished for all and compramise the overall tourism product.
We therefore humbly petition the government to prevent the imposition this event represents to your government, its responsibilities and the recreational surfers of this State and beyond by refusing permission for the Rip Curl Search ASP surfing event to proceed.
See supporting documents attached.
cc. The Hon Shelia McHale - Minister of Tourism
The Hon David Templeman- Minister for Environment and Conservation
The Hon Allanah McTiernan - Minister for Planning and Infrastructure
Mr Dudley Maslen - President, Shire of Carnarvon.