Kitesurfers to fight ban threat

Kitesurfers joined together on the weekend to unite against council's push to ban the sport from the Noosa River mouth.

Boarders and their families gathered by the river on Saturday to sign petitions and rally against the plan set out in the Noosa Marine Zone Proposal.

The proposal - which aims to help the Noosa River Plan achieve key initiatives - was released in June for community consultation and includes a number of restrictions for non-commercial jet skis, water-skis and other watercraft.

It argues that kitesurfers are "increasingly problematic from a marine-safety perspective", have an "unpredictable manner" and disrupt shorebirds.

But Sunrise Beach kitesurfer Asher Hammond said he hoped council would re-consider the ban after reading submissions from an estimated 50-strong community of local boarders.

"Noosa River mouth is one of the best kite surfing locations in Australia and has produced world champions - past female world champion Rebecca Colefax and current male junior Australian champion Keahi Deboitz," he said.

"Many kiters are also sailors and have a good understanding of the hazards of entering the Noosa bar. It is hard to believe council is looking to ban such a great sport."

Noosa Commercial Boatman's Association spokesperson Paul Grossman said he also believed the kitesurfing ban would be too heavy handed if enacted.

"It would be inappropriate to ban this activity from the river mouth on the assumption that the birds are frightened from the shadow," he said.

"Most of the activity is not near the sand bars where the birds congregate at low tides."

Following the closure last week of the proposal's period of public consultation, it is expected submissions will be reviewed before a final presentation later this year to council, Noosa River Implementation Co-ordination Group and Noosa River Community and Industry Advisory Committee.

* View the Noosa Marine Zone Proposal at: au/Community/documents/ Marine%20Zone%20Proposal% 20Report%20Apr%202007.pdf

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