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The brilliant world beneath world’s best surfers

Thursday 11 April, 2019

While global attention will focus on the surf at Bells Beach next week, there’ll be just as much happening below the waves during the annual Rip Curl Pro event.

Gnarly marine creatures will be carving through the brightly coloured sponge gardens, kelp forests and reefs that sit below the surface of Point Addis Marine National Park where the world’s best surfers will compete.

Bells Beach forms part of the 4,600-hectare marine national park, a strip of sandy coastline, rock platforms and reefs that protects a dazzling variety of marine species.

Colourful sea stars, sea slugs and snails move across the seafloor, while above swims a diversity of fish such as wrasse, leatherjackets and a healthy population of Weedy Seadragon – Victoria’ s marine emblem. Further out, cruising beyond the reefs that help form Bells’ famous break are mammals including bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and whales.

The marine national park also plays a role in conserving Aboriginal and European history. Local Aboriginal people used the area for fishing and food collection, and many middens are located along the shoreline. Offshore lies the wreck of the Inverlochy, a Scottish cargo vessel that ran aground on Ingoldsby reef in 1902 and which today is visible from the surface on calm days.

Point Addis is part of a system of marine national parks and sanctuaries that helps protect more than 12,000 species of plants and animals, 90% of which are found nowhere else in the world.

This system conserves the state’s special marine environments by protecting against the threat of pest species, pollution and fishing.

Quotes attributable to Mark Rodrigue, Marine Science Manager–Parks Victoria:

“Victoria’s beaches are so spectacular that it can be easy to overlook what’s beyond the sand and below the waves.”

“Our southern waters are some of the healthiest in the world, with a protected marine system that is home to thousands of species of plants and animals.”

“This system comprises 13 national marine parks and 11 marine sanctuaries that help protect plants and animals from threats including pollution and illegal fishing.”

“The surfing community and groups like SANE (Surfers Appreciating Natural Environments) play a significant role in protecting and promoting Point Addis Marine National Park as a world-class destination and marine protected area.”

Media enquiries
Josh Maher
0448 373 986

Parks Victoria media centre