THE beachgoers flocking to Sorrento beach mid-week and the nearly full carpark is a good indication of its popularity since the City of Joondalup-commissioned $900,000 shark barrier was installed in December.
Many visitors the Weekender spoke to said it was their first time there as they wanted to feel safe from shark attacks. Evidence of its appeal was the number of small children playing in the waves on their boogie boards while their parents kept an eye on them as did the surf lifesavers who patrol the beach from 6am until 5pm daily.
Lifesavers compile statistics on how many beachgoers are using the protected area and according to SLS WA there has been a big increase in patronage at the beach.
Premier Colin Barnett, who recently announced funding towards a shark barrier at Falcon, said the City of Joondalup had reported record crowds at Sorrento.
The State Government contributed $400,000 towards the Sorrento barrier and has given funding to the City of Wanneroo for its enclosure at Quinns.
“No single measure alone will protect water users from shark interactions, but a complementary suite of measures will reduce the risk,” Mr Barnett said.
“The ability to swim and train within a protected area will make a significant difference to people’s peace of mind and enjoyment when undertaking ocean-based activities.”
Photographer Bruce Hunt spoke to beachgoers on Tuesday.
Sarah Ferreira: This is my first visit to Sorrento beach, I usually go to Scarborough but with all the recent shark attacks I decided to come here with my young nephew instead because of the safety of the shark barrier.
Tracey Wood: This is a great beach there are good waves and the kids can do their boogie boarding in safety without the fear of sharks. We used to go to City Beach but my children were always a bit afraid of sharks.
Bekki Whittaker: I live in the northern suburbs and usually take my three children to Jindalee or Quinns but now there’s a shark net at Sorrento, I will bring them here, at least until another one is installed at Quinns.
Stewart Brown: I came when the shark barrier was first installed. This is my second visit to this beach, I came with my daughter in law, grandson and twins. They love it because they feel so safe.
Louise Skipworth: We recently emigrated from Worthing in the UK where we didn’t have to worry about sharks. My children love the beach life here. We belong to the Mullaloo SLSC but came here because of the safety of the new shark barrier and will definitely be coming again. Hope they put a shark barrier in at Mullaloo as well.
Helen Butterworth: I live locally and usually go swimming with my daughter a bit further down at the surf club but since the shark barrier has been put in, we come here instead for the safety of the kids and with surf lifesavers on the beach too, it gives me peace of mind.