Mia Baker at her local beach. Don't take this away from us. Be smart with social distancing in the surf.
Mia Baker at her local beach. Don't take this away from us. Be smart with social distancing in the surf.

On the Waves: Concern over tourists influx Big issue for surfers is beaches could be closed

WITH Easter holidays soon upon us, an urgent concern for our local surfing community is the expected mass influx of visitors to our beaches and recreational areas who may choose to ignore the governments directives to not travel for non-essential reasons during this period. The situation at the Queensland border is a worrying one for those of us in the Far north Coast of NSW, as Queenslanders are free to travel south at any time and then return home to be waived through the border.

Many people are under the impression that the border is closed to travel both ways except for essential needs, but sadly the road heading south has no restrictions at all.

Locals have been reporting on social media that this non-essential travel to our area has been going on for weeks already and unless our elected officials don’t act soon to deter this, our region could become a hotspot for the virus.

Many of these tourists are not following social distancing measures either, which adds to the problem.

The big issue for surfers is that the increased numbers of people on our beaches could mean they will be locked down for everyone, including locals, as has happened in Sydney.

Thankfully, there has been some action behind the scenes with councils and our local elected politicians pushing for change, but at this stage our State Government is not giving much attention to the matter.

I would urge all surfers to contact their political representatives and remind them how serious this situation is becoming already, and the much more worrying implications for Ballina Shire residents over the upcoming Easter holidays.

The ‘sport’ side of the surfing lifestyle has been the main focus of this column over the years, but now that it has been shut down due to COVID-19, we have made some changes and will now offer readers some different content.

Moving forward, On the Waves will feature blasts from the past along with current profiles on interesting people in our local surfing community.