New plan to strengthen our surfing future

11 December 2015

A plan to better manage the increasing demands on the city’s surfing resources was approved by Full Council today.

Mayor Tom Tate today released the inaugural Surf Management Plan (SMP), which aims to provide world’s best practice coastal management strategies to preserve and where possible, enhance the city’s surfing amenity*.  

“The SMP has three key objectives: education, science and stewardship,” he said.

“Education is about helping resident and visiting surf users who share Gold Coast beaches, clearly understand local surf etiquette and surf safety customs.

“Science is about the ensuring the management of surf amenity on Gold Coast beaches is recognised as best practice, and is informed by data collection, design and innovation.

“Stewardship is about the joint management and protection of Gold Coast surf amenity.

“Our city is well recognised as an iconic global surf destination and our local surf industry and surfing culture contributes significantly to our economy. The SMP is the result of extensive consultation with State Government agencies, research bodies, community and stakeholders,” he said.

The City will continue to collaborate with research bodies like the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management to ensure that surf amenity is considered in the delivery of coastal protection projects.

Some of the key recommendations of the SMP include:

  • communication tools to better educate beach users about surf safety and etiquette
  • a website for local surf reports and forecasting as well as real-time coastal monitoring for all Gold Coast beaches 
  • a coastal study utilising advanced modelling of wave and sand movement to identifyopportunities and feasibility for long term surf amenity management and potential enhancement through  projects such as the construction of artificial reefs
  • investment in upgrades of coastal monitoring infrastructure such as specialist surf cameras and wave buoys
  • a study into the social and economic value of surfing to the Gold Coast
  • strategies to maximise enjoyment and minimise conflict between beach user groups (eg seasonal adjustments to flagged swimming and board riders zones)
  • consideration of new capital works which would protect the coast and where possible, enhance surf amenity, including (but not limited to) the Palm Beach Shoreline Project; Northern Gold Coast Sand Backpassing Project; Northern Beaches Shoreline Project and Northern Beaches Stabilisation Structure. 

“It is important to note the SMP does not recommend charging people to surf; nor the policing of surf breaks,” he said.

The Surf Management Plan is a key deliverable of the Ocean Beaches Strategy 2013-2023. The SMP will be reviewed in 2020 and 2025.

*Surf amenity is defined as a series of surf breaks along the coast that affords exceptional experiences for people who ride the waves in all forms.




New plan to strengthen our surfing future photo