Cronulla declared a National Surfing Reserve

5 Sep 2008 0 Share

Wanda looking Sth towards The Wall and The Alley.

Wanda looking Sth towards The Wall and The Alley.

Cronulla has been a tourist destination for more than 100 years, with its beach as the main attraction even in the 1880s. Although there are no reports of surfing at Cronulla until early in the 20th century, by 1904 it was a popular seaside village.

The new craze of body surfing helped grow Cronulla's reputation as a seaside resort. Inevitably, people drowned in the surf and, after one such death at Cronulla in 1908, Cronulla Surf Lifesaving Club was formed. Other clubs followed at North Cronulla in 1925, Wanda in 1946 and Elouera in 1967.

Surflifesaving strength

Mick Fanning at Voodoo last year.

Mick Fanning at Voodoo last year.

Over 10 decades these clubs along the Cronulla Beaches have trained and qualified more than 15,000 active members with the Bronze Medallion award to become patrolling lifesavers, who have recorded in excess of 26,000 surf rescues by 2007.

Surfboard riding was not encouraged in the early days because of the perceived danger it posed to bathers, but that all changed in the summer of 1914 with the visit to North Cronulla beach by Duke Kahanamoko. The Duke's demonstration of boardriding on a solid wood board in a big swell created a sensation.

The boardriders

Cronulla Point same as it ever was in the 60's.

Cronulla Point same as it ever was in the 60's.

In 1956 Cronulla locals experienced another spectacle, this time by a group of Californian surfers riding shorter, lighter Malibu boards with fins. The Californians surfed at Cronulla Point and put on a great show just as the Duke had done 40 years earlier.

The 1960s saw the birth of surfboard riding club. The first was Cronulla and its female counterpart the Kurranulla Wahines. Sandshoes, Elouera and Cronulla Point Boardriders to this day have a strong membership of committed local surfers but Cronulla Sharks Boardriders, formed in 1978, had the most competitive success, winning the Australian Title in 1990.

The revival

Occy milking a shorey in a Cronulla Boardriders contest at The Alley.

Occy milking a shorey in a Cronulla Boardriders contest at The Alley.

The 1980s saw a resurgence of the Malibu board and the birth of the Southside Malibu Club in 1984, However Cronulla Christain Surfers, founded in the late 1970s, has left the biggest legacy - now an international surfing movement with boardriding clubs in 15 nations and more than 400 volunteer workers.

With the establishment of the ASP World Tour, every grommet wanted to be a world champion. Local surfers such as Mark Occhilupo, Jim Banks, Garry Green, Richard Marsh, Phil MacDonald and Kirk Flintoff made the top tier in the world. But it was Occy who won the ASP World title in 1999, putting Cronulla back under the surfing spotlight.

The boogie

The Island cooking

The Island cooking

Shark Island

Shark Island

Elouera grom Joey Sear ripping up the beach

Elouera grom Joey Sear ripping up the beach

Cronulla Point bowl.

Cronulla Point bowl.

The birth of the boogie board in the late 1970s made its mark on Cronulla. The Shark Island Challenge began in 1997 for the world's best bodyboarders at the unforgiving reef break and Cronulla's Andrew Lester won the ISA World Title in 2004.

Cronulla's proud surfing and lifesaving history along with its world class waves at locations like Shark Island, Voodoo make it a deserving addition to a growing number of significant beaches in Australia being given the status of National Surfing Reserves.

- Brad Whittaker.

AUSTRALIA MOVES TO PROTECT ITS WORLD-CLASS BEACHES



Beaches - like Cronulla, belong to all Australians with NSW leading the nation as having the world’s best beaches and greatest number of beachgoers.

According to a leading international body forming ‘Reserves’ to protect the integrity and heritage of ‘iconic’ surfing locations, salty wave-loving beach goers embody the emblematic image of Australians in sport, culture and tourism.

Australia is leading a world-wide movement to protect famous beaches, with local, state and federal governments riding the wave. Surfings’ sacred and hallowed grounds are being consecrated, gazetted as National Surfing Reserves across the nation. Countries including USA, EU and even New Zealand are beginning to follow the model to curb human impacts on their beaches.

Famed Cronulla Beach is the latest is a string of 23 sites identified from the Gold Coast to Margaret River in WA to be officially declared a site for ‘primary use’ by surfers – ‘all people who recreate in the wave zone’.

"Beach environments also connect and link diverse communities in positive ways. Like Lakemba and Cronulla for example, through a neutral space, helping build respect for each other engendering a spirit of community irrespective of race, gender or creed - to share, protect and preserve.

“The Iemma Government has recognized these cultural (and socio-geographical) links at Cronulla in particular,” said Brad Farmer, Founder of National Surfing Reserves.

Few other places embody the heritage of our famed Australian surfing culture as classically as the century-old love affair surfers have enjoyed with their beloved Cronulla.

Professor Andrew Short, Deputy Chair of NSR, who has documented all of Australia’s 10,685 beaches says, “Cronulla is iconic. It proudly symbolizes the very best of Australian surfing - from its pioneering beginnings in Surf Life Saving to producing some of Australia’s great modern waterman and women.”
National Surfing Reserves aims to enhance the value and integrity of our precious environmental and recreational coastal resources in its declaration of these ‘jewels in the crown’; enshrined in legislative recognition as a symbolic gift to past, present and future generations.

Other dedicated NSR sites in Australia include Bells Beach, Angourie, Lennox and Crescent Head - with Merewether, North Narrabeen, Killalea and up to 4 Western Australian sites to be declared next year.

Cronulla Beaches National Surfing Reserve. Official State Dedication Ceremony

When:Friday, 5 September 2008
Where: 11am – Peryman Square, Cronulla
Who: Former World Surfing Champion, Mark Occhilupo (from Cronulla), Hon Tony Kelly, State Minister for Lands, Brad Farmer, founder of National Surfing Reserves and Surfrider Foundation Australia, Professor D. Short, international beach expert, Clr David Redmond, Sutherland Shire Mayor, Aboriginal Welcome to Country, SLSA legends etc

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