There’s no doubt that our beautiful beaches are the centre of our tourism assets. The vast majority of our tourism accommodation — probably 99 per cent — highlights our proximity to pristine beaches.
The trademark promo is a safe day of family fun with white, sandy beaches and crystal blue water. It doesn’t take much bad publicity to see tourists stay home and cancel their holiday. The recent spate of shark attacks on surfers in and around Ballina is testament to how this sort of thing can have devastating effects on tourism.
Fortunately, humans have short memories, and surfers and swimmers alike are again venturing back into the water.
Safety on the Gold Coast beaches has been in very good hands. GCCC chief lifeguard Warren Young has been in charge of our beaches for the past 45 years, with an impeccable record. Known for his big smile and infectious sense of humour, Warren was good enough to allow Ocean Road Magazine to tells his story in this edition.
As Warren’s career comes to a close, he will leave big shoes to fill for those who carry the mantle forward, that’s for sure.
So much rides on the safety of our beaches. I think it’s fair to say that Warren has earned the status of an icon of the Gold Coast’s beach culture.
In true Warren fashion, his parting comments to me when we shot the cover image were, “I bet I’m the oldest model ever on the cover of Ocean Road Magazine...”
My response was, “That you are, Warren!”