Forum to probe safe surfing issues

An invitation-only forum next month will look at ways of making surfing at The Pass safer – and friendlier.

It was the major initiative coming from a meeting last week involving Byron Bay Boardriders, Byron Bay Malibu Club, Byron United, Surfing Far North Coast and local surfers.

That meeting was called in response to the serious head injury suffered by 10-year-old Byron Bay surfer, Pascal Dattler, when he was hit by a stray surfboard at The Pass.

Invitations to next month’s forum will be sent to owners and operators of all local surf schools, surfboard manufacturers, backpacker hostels and surfboard hire outlets to get input and ideas on reaching common agreement on safety issues at The Pass.

Representatives from the Cape Byron Trust, Byron Council, Byron Bay Surf Club, the Department of Sport and Recreation, Australian Lifeguard Services, Surfing Australia and the head of surfing studies at Southern Cross University, also will be invited.

Key issues identified at last week’s meeting were the need for better safe-surfing education and how best to get the message across to all Pass users.

Surfboard design and board hire issues also will be on the agenda for the forum.

A spokesman said that a key area identified at last week’s meeting was a lack of respect between surfers at The Pass.

“While the forum will seek to find better ways of ensuring a safer surfing experience through this approach to the relevant surf industry operators, this is a gradual process,” he said.

“Right now, the surfers using this break can start by showing each other a common level of greater respect for one another.

“Find your place in the line-up relative to your ability and stay safe.”

Ideas and suggestions for discussion at the planned forum can be emailed to thepass_byronbay@live.com

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