World Surfing Champion Tom Carroll and professional surfer Laura Enever today joined forces with Operation Crayweed, scientists, the Boardriders Foundation and the SeaTrees program leaders to begin vital regeneration planting at the iconic Bondi Beach.
The day’s planting signalled the start of a powerful new partnership between Operation Crayweed, SeaTrees and Boardriders Foundation who will work together to bring Sydney’s lost kelp forests back to life.
The group of 20 were led by Dr Ziggy Marzinelli and Professor Adriana Vergés in the Operation Crayweed regeneration process that will begin to restore the health of damaged coastal ecosystems along 70km of Sydney’s coastline.
Avalon Beach surfer, Tom Carroll spoke passionately about the human impact on the beaches and oceans and why it was important for him to take part in the initiative.
“There are things that need to be done. I had no idea crayweed had disappeared off our beaches. The scientists have shown us in detail what’s been going on and it’s been an eye-opener for me because I’ve always felt that I’m, in a way, a first-responder for the ocean trying to do what I can and help advocate for it,” he said.
“The scientists involved here have come up with a solution and they can see that we can actually do something. We can bring a species back! It’s a little window into what we can do and what more we can do to help. You can see the enthusiasm they have because they know there is a solution.”
Laura Enever from North Narrabeen has travelled the world and said she recognised the urgent need to take action.
“Growing up in Sydney I’d never known crayweed had disappeared from our coastline between Palm Beach and Cronulla all because of population growth and human impact. It’s been amazing today learning how critically important seaweed and crayweed is for the whole world,” she said.
“When you hear about these issues and programs, you think you might not be able to do anything to help but what we’ve seen here is that the regeneration has been so successful and the goal can be reached. It will be amazing to come back here in six months time and see the crayweed we’re planting reproducing, thriving and growing into a mature sea forest.
Marine Biologist, Dr Ziggy Marzinelli spoke about how excited he and the team were to get the program started, saying it was already proven to work and an achievable goal that will enhance the ecosystems.
“With the help of volunteers we’re trying to restore underwater forests that went missing from Sydney in the early ‘80’s because of poor water quality in the day. The water quality is great but the native species have not been restored so we are trying to help bring it back to this coastline,” said Marzinelli.
“It’s a key project because we have a unique opportunity to address the problem at the right scale. There are about eight existing locations around the world where the crayweed has started to reproduce and expand from the sites. With this project there are 23 rocky reefs along the 70km of coastline that will have the crayweed planted,” he said.
Boardriders Foundation Chairman Bob McKnight is proud the foundation has the opportunity to work collaboratively with leading initiatives in a way that gives locals and athletes the chance to get immersed.
“Boardriders is stoked to support SeaTrees as they restore coastal blue carbon ecosystems around the world,” he said.
“Boardriders Foundation has been busy with Sustainable Surf/SeaTrees in the past year with various projects around the world, and now they will be in Sydney. They are helping the surfing industry demonstrate leadership in reversing climate change and protecting the ocean.
“We are excited that Boardriders team athletes Tom Carroll and Laura Enever will be involved in the planting at Bondi.”
Boardriders Head of Sales and Sustainability, APAC Damian Campbell said Boardriders and the foundation were humbled to be partnering with SeaTrees and Operation Crayweed.
“Both SeaTrees and Operation Crayweed do incredible work and share the same long term vision: the steps we take today will make a great difference into the future,” he said.
“Our community and customers are drawn to the industry for many reasons, none more so than the shared love of the environment and what it provides for us through the acts of surfing and snowboarding.
“The majority of our customers and staff spend each day dreaming of perfect waves, or deep powder snow mountains and everything in between.
“This coastline means so much to all of us. The partnership with Sea Trees and Operation Crayweed, through our Boardriders Foundation has been a long time in the planning and a step closer towards regenerating one of our countries most valuable assets.”
Surfing NSW CEO Luke Madden said the state sport organisation was enthusiastically behind the initiative.
“The surfing community in NSW is passionate about conservation and restoration of the natural environment that gives us so much. This collaborative project is a great step in helping restore our beautiful ocean’s ecosystems and we’re stoked to be part of it,” said Madden.