Snapper Rocks © ASP/Kirstin
It's already happened in the Maldives, with Luxury surf resorts claiming exclusivity rights to two of the region’s best waves, restricting access to maintain discipline among surfers and avoid over-crowding.
Now it looks like similar kinds of measures could soon be applied to one of the world's foremost surf cities and world-class line-ups Snapper Rocks. It's nothing new of course, the problem having been raised by numerous Gold Coast locals and visiting surfers as a result of an ever-increasing number of surf rage incidents, the most recent of which involved one local losing sight in one eye in February. And everyone should still of course remember Jeremy Flores' highly-mediatized altercation in 2011 during the Breaka Burleigh Pro when the Frenchman got embroiled in a punch up with a local surfer after coming to the defence of Sunny Garcia's son.
Recently interviewed by the Gold Coast Bulletin during this year's Quiksilver Pro, Kelly once again spoke openly about just how dangerous the crowds are.
"The crowds here are like nothing I’ve ever seen in the world when you’re surfing,’’ Slater told the Gold Coast Bulletin. “It’s really, really tough for one person to get space in the water and it’s mostly not fun.’’
And in the wake of the event, the Gold Coast Surf Council (which was established in 2012 to provide a voice and platform for recreational surfers in the area) has officially called for a surf management plan, stating that "Gold Coast surfing beaches require the full attention of state and local government and the implementation of a Surf Management Plan (SMP)"
While a concrete plan has yet to be developed or delivered by the Council, ideas to combat the problem include creating more artificial reefs, offering night surfing, certifying surfers and hiring beach wardens. Brad Farmer vice president of the Surf Council said, “This may require legislation or forms of ‘regulation’ which would go some way to address the frustration many surfers are currently expressing across the city and across the world about the Gold Coast situation."
But ultimately "paying to play" could well be the most practical and enforceable solution.
The world's best digging deep to catch their quota of waves during this year's free surfing sessions at Snapper.