Surfing NSW – New Chair and Deputy Chair (July 2024)

Surfing NSW today announced the election of Ben Rolleston as its new Chair, and Lyndel Gray as Deputy Chair. This follows the resignation of John O’Neill and Harry Hodge from the Board of Directors after almost 15 years of esteemed service.

4.00pm Friday, 8 January 2021

To members of the NSW surfing community,

See this as an update for our Surfing NSW position which relates to COVID-19 as of today.

As you are all aware the COVID-19 information (not only from a state and national perspective but also a global scale) is evolving constantly.  The health and safety of our Surfing NSW team and your environment is paramount; therefore we will endeavour to keep abreast of updated information and act accordingly in compliance with State and Federal Government advice as it happens.

A lot of Surfing NSW staff are working remotely. Surfing NSW’s working days are Monday – Friday and the office phone (02) 9093 6035 will be attended 9 am – 5 pm on these days.

If you physically need to visit the office please call (02) 9093 6035 to arrange an appointment.

As at today information on public gathering indoors and outdoors can be found HERE

The medical advice is that we should all do everything we can to implement what is called “social distancing”.

Surfing Competitions: Surfing NSW is currently running a range of state-based events that comply with all Government protocols. Please refer to our Covid event plan here.


From Sunday, 3 January 202, the following restrictions relating to gatherings for sport and recreation activities apply:

The Premier and Minister for Health and Medical Research have released a statement, outlining changes in restrictions commencing from Sunday, 3 January 2021.

These restrictions apply across Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong.

Of note for the sport and recreation sector are the following changes:

  • For indoor areas*, the capacity must not exceed one participant per 4 square metres of publicly accessible space (previously 1 person per 2sqm).
  • Gym classes reduced to 30 people; and

The maximum of 3,000 people or one person per 2 square metres (whichever is lesser) for outdoor community sport activities remains unchanged across Greater Sydney and Regional NSW.

*an indoor area includes an area in a building or other structure, whether or not temporary, which has a roof, ceiling or other top covering, but does not include an area with at least 2 sides open to the weather.

Mandatory Face Masks

From Sunday 3 January, the Public Health Order requires the use of a ‘fitted face covering’ (face mask) in a range of indoor settings across Greater Sydney.

The general rules and list of premises where you must wear a mask can be found HERE.

Children aged 12 and under and people that have a physical or mental health illness or condition, or disability, that makes wearing a mask unsuitable (for example, a skin condition, an intellectual disability, autism or trauma) are exempt from wearing masks but are encouraged to wear masks where practicable.

Sport and recreation organisations that have retail operations (e.g. equipment stores, Pro shops, uniform shops etc) should note that masks are mandatory in retail premises.

Our Surfing NSW boardriders club manager is here for more detailed help on the above.

Matt Lawson 0402 830 767

Otherwise please call our Surfing NSW office on 02 9093 6035 or

To deal with the public health risk of COVID-19 and its possible consequences, the Minister for Health and Medical Research has made a number of Orders, under section 7 of the Public Health Act 2010. Orders can be amended frequently. For the most up to date orders, and the history of each order, visit NSW Legislation – COVID-related legislation.

For help in understanding the public health orders, refer to NSW Government: What you can and can’t do under the rules and Industry guidelines for COVID Safe workplaces

On 2 January the Minister signed the Public Health (COVID-19 Mandatory Face Coverings) Order 2021. The Order mandates the wearing of masks in certain indoor premises:

  • retail or business premises that provide goods or services to the public, including:
    • supermarkets,
    • shopping centres (but not an indoor recreation facility in a shopping centre),
    • bank branches and post offices,
    • hairdressing salons, nail salons, beauty salons, tanning salons, waxing salons, spas, tattoo parlours, massage parlours, and
    • betting agencies and gaming lounges
  • entertainment facilities (such as theatres, cinemas and concert halls)
  • any part of a premises licensed under the Liquor Act 2007 that is used primarily for gaming. Licensed premises include pubs, registered clubs and casinos
  • places of public worship and any other premises on which a religious service is being held
  • residential aged care facilities (but not the residents of the facility)
  • at a public transport waiting area (e.g. a bus stop or train platform), or travelling on public transport including a train, bus, light rail or ferry, or taxi, or a ride share service.

The Order obligates staff with customer-facing roles in hospitality venues to wear a mask, and the operator of the venue must ensure this is followed.

The Order defines “fitted face covering” to mean a mask or other covering that: (a) fits securely around the face, and (b) is designed or made to be worn over the nose and mouth to provide the wearer with protection against infection.

People are not required to wear masks if they:

  • are children aged 12 or under
  • have a physical or mental illness, condition or disability that makes wearing a mask unsuitable, for example, a skin condition, an intellectual disability, autism or trauma.

A person may remove a mask if they are:

  • eating or drinking
  • communicating with another person who is deaf or hard of hearing
  • at work and the nature of the work makes wearing a mask a risk to the person’s, or another persons’, health and safety, or means clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth is essential
  • asked to remove their mask to confirm their identity.

Penalties of $200 will apply for not wearing a mask. There are also penalties for hospitality venue operators who fail to ensure their staff wear masks as required: $1,000 for an individual and $5,000 for a corporate operator.

The Order commenced on the beginning of 3 January 2021.

On 3 January the Minister made the Public Health (COVID-19 Mandatory Face Coverings) Amendment Order 2021. This amendment clarifies:

  • the requirement to wear a mask applies to all parts of railway and light rail stations, including station concourses
  • the general obligation to wear masks does not apply to customers in hospitality venues, but is confined to customer facing staff
  • that public transport services includes community transport.

Surf Schools:

Based on the current advice from the Australian Government in relation to group gatherings (stated below) Surf Schools can proceed until further notice – our recommendation though is to contact your local council as every council in NSW is faced with different challenges based on their region.

A full Surfing NSW statement on Surf Schools can be found here.

If Surf School lessons do run we strongly encourage that strict hygiene protocols are followed as outlined below by the State Government. 

We have liaised with a few surf schools and have come up with some examples of operational procedures to help with best practice in regards to health and hygiene in the current situation;

  • Staff adopting good hand hygiene in the office/reception desk
  • Wiping down all phones and surfaces
  • Use gloved hands when they hand out the wetsuits
  • Participants to use hand sanitiser before and after lesson/session
  • Hanging wetsuits outdoors
  • Encouraging participants to arrive in their swimwear and limit the use of change rooms
  • Doing the pre-surf instructions outdoors adopting the 1.5 social distancing principles
  • Not using Zinc and using BYO or pump pack sunscreen
  • Not using rash shirts and encouraging BYO wetsuits.
  • Only one staff dispensing sunscreen and sanitiser to participants (limiting touching of the bottles)

At Surfing NSW internally we are dividing all major stakeholders communications to different departments. For Surf Schools please note your main point of contact is:

Mark (Winny) Windon (former email was

0427 378 077

Surfers Rescue 24/7 and Education Courses:

Surfing Australia and NSW will be running Foundation Coaching Courses (formerly known as Level One Coaching Courses) online through its digital platform, you can find out more about the courses here.

Surfers Rescue 24/7 courses are able to be run online with the CPR component running through Surf Life Saving NSW’s Living Room Life Saver program. More information can be found here or touch base with Matt Lawson

Recommended hygiene protocols

The protocols outlined below are essential to limit your exposure and prevent the spread of germs, in particular as they relate to COVID-19:

General hygiene

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol‐based hand sanitiser
  • Wash or sanitise your hands before eating
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home and seek medical treatment when you are sick
  • Cover your mouth to cough or sneeze

Surfing hygiene

  • COVID-19 or not, do not share wetsuits, drinks, towels, wax, sunscreen with others.
  • Place hand sanitisers around change rooms and encourage the use of them.
  • Ensure all member facilities are maintained and cleaned to a high standard with appropriate cleaning agents – consider more regular cleaning of facilities.
  • Limit physical contact such as avoiding shaking hands, pre or post-event
  • Work with other community clubs that share club facilities, if appropriate, to implement practices consistent with this communication

For any further information, the Surfing NSW office is contactable on (02) 9093 6035

We will continue to monitor medical advice and plan to provide an update as changes are announced.

John O’Neill, Chairman, and Luke Madden, CEO, Surfing NSW.

Mark Windon
OAM Executive Director

Felicity Conlan
Board Member

Francis Coady
Board Member

David Gyngell

Mike Baird

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