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Beach Grit

Maurice Cole: “Surfing is going backwards!”

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

“So I wouldn’t be putting the surf industry as a pillar of the economy.”

And so Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch is… just kidding! But I am proud that BeachGrit’s Founders’ Cup coverage rivaled only BeachGrit’s menstruation-gate coverage in breadth and depth. Wall to uterine wall. But today let’s move on from Lemoore, California. Let’s fly all the way down to Torquay, Australia very near Geelong and its Cats. For it is here that the surf industry is in the throes of economic retreat. It is here that tears are ready to flow without stopping for it is here that iconic Quiksilver, founded here in 1969 is moving in with new girlfriend Billabong up to Burleigh Heads.

Torquay is struggling with the potential break-up but its most famous son, and wonderful surfboard shaper, Maurice Cole is there with words of encouragement. And let us read from the local broadsheet.

At last month’s Surf Coast Shire meeting, in a question about the impact of growth on Torquay, Mr Cole used Quiksilver as an example of how Torquay’s surf industry was struggling and that the shire should not rely on surfing as a major economic driver.

“As you know, surfing is now going backwards. The market has declined significantly – I’m sure you’re all aware that Quiksilver will be moving to Burleigh Heads – so there is no growth in the surf industry in Torquay. In fact, it’s deteriorated by 50 per cent in the last five years; that’s the turnover of the companies.

“So I wouldn’t be putting the surf industry as a pillar of the economy.”

Shire general manager of environment and development Ransce Salan did not directly address Quiksilver in his answer, but said the existing Council Plan identified the need to support key industry sectors such as surfing and tourism.

He said the draft 2018/19 budget (adopted by the council at the same meeting) contained a request to undertake an economic development and tourism strategy in 2018-2019.

“This strategy will identify key current and emerging sectors and provide actions to drive the economy and create jobs.”

Oh. Those words don’t sound too encouraging. And now back to Lemoore!