Gold Coast Girls Paddle 10km to Support World Surfing Reserve
A 10 kilometre Paddling mission was taken on by 6 super groms on International Surf Day, Saturday 20th June, from Snapper Rocks to Laceys, Palm Beach in support of a Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve.
Competitive surfers Pacha Light 14, and Kiani Dobbyn 15, both attend the Palm Beach Currumbin High School sports excellence program and members of the Snapper Rocks Surfriders Club. The girls were both concerned about protecting their local breaks they encouraged other young groms to join them for a paddle from Snapper Rocks to Currumbin Alley with some re-energizer breaks and fun waves in between.
The group of super grom paddlers included Kiani Dobbyn 15, Pacha Light 14, Yani Light 11, Shayne Leeuwendal 13, Anteaga James 13, and Taj Warren 10.
Chairman of Gold Coast World Surfing Reserves Andrew McKinnon loaned out his quiver of various 8ft guns for the eager young surfers. It was not a race but a chance to familiarise themselves with the southern end of the Gold Coast and do something that had never been done before especially by this dedicated youthful group.
The frothing groms turned up on a beautiful Gold Coast morning ready to take on the challenge and were guided with jet ski and paddle assistance. They entered the water from Little Marli, Snapper Rocks just after 7am pointing north and hugging the superbank catching waves at Rainbow Bay while heading for their first stop at Kirra Point. It took only 30 minutes before they were surfing the inside bank at Kirra and it was the youngest of the pack.
At Kirra the made a quick stop on the beach the beach for water and energy food and then it was agreed to go to North Kirra for the next refuel. Mums, Dads and supporters followed their progress and everyone regrouped again infront of North Kirra Surf Club (where the WSR idea had been hatched in 2014 protest opposed to the Ocean Terminal) chewing frantically on energy bars and gulping down orange juice, they recommenced to continue the big stretch from North Kirra to Tugun.
Pacha and Yani’s Mum Anja Light, no stranger to environmental campaigns globally and a former Greens candidate for Gold Coast, opted for the beach walk taking timeframe photos while Pacha and Kiani had go pros to document this historic paddle.
By 9am, the grom paddlers were hitting the beach in front of Tugun Surf Club, having caught some great waves along the way on the secret banks that you never hear of almost a rarity on the Goldy these days and the gang were more pumped than ever for the final stretch. Greg Howell of Tweed/Gold Coast Surfrider Foundation who had organized an Eco International Surfing Day at Laceys the final destination was waving them on from Flat Rock Tugun.
By the time they got to Elephant Rock the new SE swell was on the increase and the SSW wind was strengthening all working in their favour and helping them to make steady progress. A decent 3ft swell was breaking nicely at Currumbin beachfront the tide was on the make to a high tide at 11am and the paddlers were well. Almost on cue a set arrived at the Alley and they caught it with the oldest Kiani hitting the beach at around 10am.
“We had roughly estimated that they would be at Laceys by 11am but ended up taking 3 hours to do 10ks as the seagull flys, wow you can’t beat the exuberance of youth as they stepped onto Laceys at least 1 hour earlier with beaming proud smiles on their faces. It was a job well done for a great cause on International Surfing Day.” Says Anja Light.
The next Big Paddle & Surf event for the Gold Coast World Surf Reserve will be on Sunday 12th of July and the group encourage anyone in the area to come along to participate, paddle, surf, walk whatever it takes to be called Rock to Rock i.e. Elephant Rock to Currumbin Alley Rock and hosted by Currumbin Alley boardriders and create more ocean and beach awareness.
Stay tuned to the progress at www.goldcoastworldsurfingreserve.com
Footnote. Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve Inc. are processing a proposal via City of Gold Coast’s Surf Management Plan Advisory Body (SMPAC) to declare from Burleigh to Snapper Rocks as a World Surfing Reserve as part of Councils Surf Management Plan. The proposal has the support of the Queensland State Government and many other organizations but needs the City of Gold Coast Mayor and Councillors to support.
At the last SMPAC two resolutions were passed unanimously. 1.To support a GCWSR. 2 For Council to write a letter of support by 31st of August. Both resolutions were passed unanimously. The next SMPAC meeting is in August. The deadline for WSR submissions is in September where only 1 Country is selected per year. With City of Gold Coast support, Gold Coast is confident of being dedicated in 2016 at Snapper Rocks the day prior to the commencement of the WSL World Tour opener in March 2016 at the Quiksilver & Roxy Pro.
In a further boost to the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve, the proposal has been given written support by Gold Coast Waterways Authority.