Bondi Has Plenty in Reserve
After almost two years in the pipeline, Bondi Beach was finally recognised as a National Surfing Reserve (NSR) in early December, at a launch at the northern end of the beach in front of a host of dignitaries.
A Welcome to Country ceremony and dance from Bradley Page, a member of the Cadigal clan, was followed by the unveiling of a plaque by Paul Toole, Minister for Lands, and Waverley Mayor John Wakefield.
Local surfing identity John ‘Red Ted’ Sullivan played an integral part in getting the beach recognised as a reserve following a visit by a group of Peruvian surfers in February last year representing the Huanchaco World Surfing Reserve.
The Peruvians demonstrated their surfing prowess on a ‘cabillito de totora’, a reed paddle board with origins dating back more than 3,000 years. The copy of the board was presented to the local surfing community and is now in storage awaiting a location for permanent display.
“During the planning of that visit we had discussions with the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve and the question was asked by Andrew McKinnon and former world surfing champion Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew as to why Bondi had not sought NSR status,” John told The Beast.
“We had not considered the prospect at that time but thought ‘what a great idea’ and followed that up with a meeting with State Member for Vaucluse, Gabrielle Upton, who then indicated her support.
“Also in support were the Bondi and North Bondi surf clubs, the Bondi boardriding clubs, Bondi Icebergs, the local Business Chamber, and Bondi Beach Precinct.
“Our proposal was also unanimously accepted by Waverley Council.”
“Now, after almost two years, it has all come to fruition and Bondi has found its rightful place as an iconic surfing location; hopefully it will eventually meet the criteria of World Surfing Reserve.”
National Surfing Reserve status acknowledges Australia’s greatest surfing locations together with local surfing history and the community’s association with the beach and the surf.
The three criteria needed for an NSR are good quality surf, a place considered sacred by surfers, and usage of the beach by the local and broader surfing community.
In 2006 Maroubra became an NSR and was the second in Australia behind Bells Beach, Victoria.
“Bondi Beach is an Australian surfing icon known throughout Australia and the world (through television series Bondi Rescue),” National Surfing Reserves founder and patron Brad Farmer said.
“Bondi has surf in abundance and its surf history and beach usage goes back more than 150 years. It is truly the surf capital of Australia and an international surfing destination.
“In achieving NSR status we would especially like to thank and congratulate John Sullivan and his Bondi NSR committee on the 18 months of hard work that went into the nomination and now dedication of Bondi as an NSR.
“We also thank the honourable members from all three levels of government for their visible support and wish Bondi and the broader community many sunny days and great surf at Bondi.”