Surf death inspires idea

Underground Surf co-owners Andre Marsaus and Maree O’Connor have created a Safe Surfer Registry.
Underground Surf co-owners Andre Marsaus and Maree O’Connor have created a Safe Surfer Registry. Crystal Spencer

THE death of a Tugun surfer has prompted Bilinga business partners to create the Safe Surfer Registry.

Glenn O’Hare was found floating unconscious at Bilinga on Sunday and taken to The Tweed Hospital but he could not be revived. He remained unidentified for about 24 hours after his death until Underground Surf co-owners Maree O’Connor and Andre Marsaus notified police.

“Once we started asking ourselves ‘who is he?’ it took us 20 minutes to identify him,” Miss O’Connor said.

Mr O’Hare had bought his surfboard from the Bilinga surf shop.

“As soon as I knew his board I knew exactly who he was,” Mr Marsaus said. “We all know each other in the water.”

Mr Marsaus and Miss O’Connor created the Safe Surfer Registry (SSR) after the tragic death.

While still in its formative stages, surfers can call the SSR, via Underground Surf, and let them know where they’re planning on hitting the waves and for how long.

“In a sense we’re like another mate,” Mr Marsaus said. “If we don’t hear back from people we’ll give them a call or notify the lifeguard towers. People can also drop their keys and things into the shop before they head out.”

The SSR has received support from surfers, police and Surfing Queensland, Miss O’Connor said.

“A lot of the hardcore surfers may not use it but it’s there for people like Glenn that live alone and go surfing alone, beginners, and parents worried about their children.”

Call (07) 5599 1040 to register on the SSR.

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