Byron Bay Council Proposes $1,100 Fine For Not Wearing Leash - Stab Mag

Byron Bay Council Proposes $1,100 Fine For Not Wearing Leash

The nanny state wants leash police.

elsewhere // Apr 26, 2023
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 2 minutes

A Byron Shire councillor wants to introduce a regulation that would see surfers fined up to $1,100 for not wearing legropes under the Local Government Act.

Cate Coorey will present the motion at this week’s council meeting only three months after former pro surfer Matthew Cassidy nearly lost his arm to the fin of a stray surfboard at Wategos. 

“We would have to have the signage at the entrances to the beaches and then we would have compliance officers that would be on the alert for it,” Cr Coorey told ABC news. “We have officers that go along the beach, we have rangers and we have people in the parks.”

Ergo, leash police. 

Derek Hynd – a master of frictionless, cordless surfing who lives in Byron Bay told Stab in 2022, “I’m one of the few legitimate conscientious objectors to legropes there can be. Lost an eye from one in competition in 1980. I don’t particularly want to lose the other. The legrope is the greatest symbol of mass market surfing penetration in history. 

With bearing on the day’s packed lineup, only a minor fraction of that number would’ve been anywhere near that outer section had legropes not been such an umbilical cord. I also field contact from people who’ve either lost eyes from legropes be it their own or someone else’s stupid bail out in front of them. Surfing was developed 1000’s of years ago as a test against the powers of Nature. The surfer for the last 50 years has stacked the odds. 

The great paradox is that without legropes there would’ve been 40 people out, max, and most of them nursing their boards. The spring back of the legrope is the monster. Also, the killer from kook third parties is the surfer who jumps off his or her board whilst looking out to the horizon, oblivious of the surfer in front of them at the point of jumping off. For every lost log I’ve seen at The Pass, and I’ve seen a few aka about 20 in a year, I’ve seen 1000 instances of this more dangerous move of jumping out the back of a wave without thought for the third party.”

While widespread leg rope adoption is a good idea for most folk, punishing those who choose not to (without committing a crime first) seems… kneejerky to me. 

Nevertheless, pretty on brand for the NSW-based regulators – who killed Kings Cross’ nightlife with lockout laws to curb coward punching. They like a good non-sequitur.

Les be real – leash police are not a solution to dangerous lineups – just look at the Snapper bloodbath last week


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