On (Australia Day) Saturday January 25 at 1pm, it is expected that 60 families of children with Autism will attend the Surfing the Spectrum event at Lennox Head Beach near the surf club to learn new skills and try out surfing.
On (Australia Day) Saturday January 25 at 1pm, it is expected that 60 families of children with Autism will attend the Surfing the Spectrum event at Lennox Head Beach near the surf club to learn new skills and try out surfing.

Wannabe surfers causing chaos on Coast

A SURF school has accused rogue surfboard hire operators "on every street corner" of dishing out beginner surfboards to wannabe surfers, putting the novices and others at risk in the surf.

Get Wet Surf School owner Kerri Jekyll has spoken out in response to a report in yesterday's Bulletin that revealed out-of-control longboards were causing chaos at popular surf breaks.

Get Wet Surf School instructor Jack Howlin teaching Chen Zhang how to surf at The Spit. Picture Glenn Hampson
Get Wet Surf School instructor Jack Howlin teaching Chen Zhang how to surf at The Spit. Picture Glenn Hampson

Ms Jekyll said plenty of people thought they could teach themselves to surf or did not want to spend the money on surf lessons.

"So what we're seeing is hire board companies on every street corner with racks of boards for hire handing out beginner boards to people who have no idea," she said.

"As a surf school we purposely don't hire out boards to people with no skills. We could hire 20 boards a day and make big money but it's against our policy and we stick to it.

"Giving a beginner a board to head out on the ocean with no idea what they are doing poses a great risk to themselves and others."

Ms Jekyll said she knew of an operator that offered free board hire for an hour after a two-hour lesson as an add-on, but she refused to do the same.

Get Wet Surf School won't hire out beginner boards for the safety of other Gold Coast surfers. Supplied.
Get Wet Surf School won't hire out beginner boards for the safety of other Gold Coast surfers. Supplied.

"Most surfers will be beginners for a very long time and can't go into green unbroken waves until they have the skills. Often this takes going out into the ocean every day for two-to-three hours for weeks."

Adam Walters from Action Outdoor Hire said he always ascertained a person's skill set before hiring out a board.

"With people who don't have any experience, we only hire out soft-style beginner boards and it's virtually impossible to hurt anyone with one of those. If people ring me and ask for a hard board I ask how much experience they have. I only hire boards to people who know what they're doing," he said.

Surfer Reagan Roberts, who owns Gold Coast Surfboard Hire, said he did not serve "the punter crowd" who just wanted a board to have fun in the surf, but knew of others who did.

"If people don't have any experience I suggest they join a surf school and have a lesson, but if a surfer boyfriend wants a board to teach his girlfriend to surf I'll give them one," he said.

Mr Roberts said he refused to rent boards when the surf was not suitable but said he was aware of unlicensed hirers dishing out boards regardless of surf conditions or a person's experience.

Get Wet Surf School teaching Chinese tourists to surf at The Spit on the Gold Coast. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT
Get Wet Surf School teaching Chinese tourists to surf at The Spit on the Gold Coast. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT

"I also get people to tell me what sort of board they want and that's another way I judge their ability level," he said.

Like most reputable board hire companies, Mr Roberts said he delivered boards to his customers at their holiday accommodation, not the beachfront.

Ms Jekyll said her qualified staff taught learners about the importance of surf etiquette and told them to avoid big surf and busy breaks if they "couldn't keep up".

"We have a great life and surf culture on the Gold Coast but at the same time people have to learn properly. You can't just jump into a car and drive, you have to be taught," she said.



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