Scotch College cancelling surf lessons

Picture: Surfing WA/Woolacott
Picture: Surfing WA/Woolacott

SCOTCH College is among several Perth high schools to cancel surf lessons at Trigg beach.

Scotch joins two government high schools that have stopped lessons recently, with more than 500 students pulling out of programs in the past 12 months.

Surfing WA chief executive Mark Lane said numbers were down this year from previous years.

“It is fair to say there is a decline across learn-to-surf programs in Perth,” he said. “Other surf schools are also experiencing the same issue as Surfing WA.”

Scotch College Head of Sport Richard Foster said that the choice to withdraw was to cut unnecessary costs.

“Surfing was offered as sport choice on a trial basis for two years,” he said.

“The cost of running the program is very expensive compared to all other sports offered, given the ratio of qualified staff to students.

“Our middle school still offers surfing as part of the Outdoor Education program and the College will still submit a team to compete for the PSA Surfing competition and is likely to submit a team into the Surfing WA School Zone Titles.

“The decision to cease one of our programs has nothing to do with sharks and safety”.

The cancellations come after Surfing WA had to call off its State School Surfing Titles last September because of an unprecedented number of shark sightings between Trigg and North Beach.

It’s understood the Fisheries Department dropped a baited drum line in the water near Trigg the night before students from all over the State were due to compete in the State School surfing titles at Trigg beach.

Students in buses from as far as Esperance had to turn around and go home again. The cancellation was the first in 27 years.

Surfing WA chief executive Mark Lane wants to meet with the new WA Government to help with its approach to protecting beach users along our coast.

“We’re looking for solutions and we’d like to explore what options are out there,” he said.

The new Labor Government is currently finishing its shark mitigation strategy and new Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said the Government was committed to using “a variety of new and existing measures”.

The Government and Surfing WA have been lobbying to keep the Margaret River Pro on the World Surfing League circuit after doubts about its future in WA were raised at the event last month.

The event is worth millions of dollars to WA tourism.

Its future in WA should be known by September.

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