‘Utterly ridiculous’: Bizarre plan for Bondi Beach
EVERY day tourists flock from around the world to catch a glimpse of Australia's most photographed and lauded natural beauties.
But Sydney's Bondi Beach isn't just a drawcard for its impressive looks - it's a buzzing hub of activity for swimmers, surfers, bodyboarders, nippers and life savers.
However, this could all be about to change as Waverley Council looks to implement a complete ban on surfing from the northern end of the iconic beach under a proposal to boost safety.
Citing "residential concerns", the council is also considering the restriction of any board with a fin to the southern end of the 900m strip - despite the fact the beach is a National Surfing Reserve.
Surfers would still have limited access to other areas of the beach under the controversial new proposal, but the plans have been slammed by locals who have called them "ludicrous" and an "absolute joke".
Bondi resident of 50 years and surfer Adam Gibson said the new proposal would create "absolute chaos".
"I surf Bondi virtually every day, either on a fibreglass/hard board or a soft board," he wrote in an angry response to the proposals on Facebook.
"The current system works just fine as long as it is managed in a nuanced and diligent way by the lifeguard service.
"Everyone who surfs Bondi on a regular basis understands that you do not surf in or even near the flags. That is a given. For those who don't know better, it is the lifeguard service that needs to be on the ball and instruct novice Bondi surfers otherwise.
"Introducing a 'buffer zone' or pushing everyone south is a completely impractical idea, bearing in mind the ever-changing conditions of the beach.
"This will serve to create absolute chaos in an ever-smaller area and thus surfers, who have just as much right to be in the water as anyone else, are themselves more likely to be injured due to this crowding."
He said, on a day like today, when nobody is swimming because it is too cold, the ban would effectively mean nobody would be using the water at the iconic beach.
"This is an utterly ridiculous suggestion and shows no understanding that a beach is, by its very nature, a fluid environment that is best managed on a day-to-day, case-by-case basis," he said.
Fired-up members of surfing pages on social media piled on to attack the plans, saying Sydney's eastern suburbs had been ruined by overdevelopment and it had lost its soul.
However, a Waverley Council spokeswoman said the proposal was included in a survey of beach users and it was just part of a review of operations at Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama beaches.
"The (council) has asked for a review of the definition of soft and hard boards and from fibreglass and foam topped to simply fin or no fin," the survey said.
"This would restrict any craft with a fin to the breaks at the southern end of the beach.
"This would eliminate any interaction with people who choose to bathe between the flags and any surf-craft with fins from the northern half of Bondi Beach."
The council spokeswoman added no decision would be made until the results of the survey were known.