Surf schools applaud council focus on qualifications

26 Mar
Darren Barker, surf coach at the Cheyne Horan School of Surf in Surfers Paraside. Picture: Katherine Livanis

Darren Barker, surf coach at the Cheyne Horan School of Surf in Surfers Paraside. Picture: Katherine Livanis

By Katherine Livanis, Bond University Journalism Student

The Gold Coast City Council is clamping down on local surf schools, ensuring that surf instructors are adequately qualified for the job.

Due to an administrative change within the council, a greater focus has been placed on ensuring that all coaches have up-to-date qualifications to create a safe learning environment.

 World champion surfer and surf school owner Cheyne Horan said that council policies were essential and that he was glad they were being enforced.

 “They’re cracking down on making sure everyone is qualified, and that’s a good thing,” he said.

 “It’s a good thing that the public knows that each surf school has gone through stringent measures to ensure that every coach is appropriately qualified.

 “We’ve been working with the council for a long time, I was the first surf school in Surfers Paradise, and they basically come to me asking how things are and if there’s any way they can help.”

Mr Horan  said that when surf schools first came into operation, there were no regulations for surf instructors and no insurance for any parties.

 “If something goes wrong now, we’re covered. It’s protecting both the surf schools and the clients,” he said.

 “People come to the Gold Coast to learn to surf; we get people from all over the world who say they came to Surfers Paradise just to learn to surf.

 “It’s important that when we teach people they have a safe, easy and fun time.”

 Local surf instructor Shane Luke agreed with Mr Horan and said it is important that surf instructors be adequately qualified to deal with anything that may occur.

 “We’re responsible for a lot of people, so it’s particularly important that we have our rescue skills and first aid,” he said.

 “Things can happen even just walking down to the beach so we have to be prepared for everything.

 “Here on the Gold Coast surf coaching is a growing industry, so the council is trying to get a handle on the situation.”

 Surf coaches are currently required to have their senior first aid, surf rescue certificate, bluecard, advanced resuscitation and coaching accreditation to legally teach on the Gold Coast.

Bond Gold Coast News asked council for comment, but is still waiting for a response.

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