Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Reasons to Love Australia!

I wish governments in the States would recognize the importance of protecting our beaches from development not just for surfing, but as important ecosystems necessary to protecting our coastlines.


Surfers have always worshiped the world's best waves, but who knew the Australian government honored historic surf spots? On June 6, Killalea was officially recognized as a national surfing reserve, making it the fifth of its kind in New South Wales and the seventh in Australia. The purpose of identifying these sites is to both legally protect them and to spread awareness about the necessity of preserving the area. Not only that, but the reserves honor the relationship between the sport and the local culture.

Killalea’s popular breaks, The Farm and Mystics, are part of the 3.5km stretch of coast that will be protected. The area, which already belongs to a State Park, was recognized not only for the quality of surf but also for its natural beauty. During the ceremony to dedicate the national reserve, a booklet describing the history of surfing in the region was presented along with a plaque to commemorate the newly protected spot. More than 150 people attended the event, including 70 members of the Killalea family that historically farmed the area.

However, not everybody celebrated the site’s new recognition. The dedication was disputed by some who claim the measure was merely a distraction from the development of an eco-resort at Killalea that may be detrimental to the surf spots.

The first surfing reserve in New South Wales was Angourie, a point break that was dedicated in January of 2007 for its legendary waves. Since the 1970’s surfers have flocked to the destination that was originally a meeting place for local Aborigines.

Other surfing reserves in the state include south Sydney’s Cronulla Beach; Crescent Head, which became a popular spot after World War II and has been dominated by long boarders ever since; and Lennox, which was chosen because of its prominent role in the Australian surf history.

Cultural, historical, and environmental factors contribute to the selection of new surfing reserves, which are preserved for public use under the Crown Lands Act of 1989. Right now, there are 24 sites in New South Wales that have been suggested for dedication.

For information about an organization that creates similar reserves around the world click here.

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