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The Inertia

Four years ago, the world tipped 7 billion people. Estimates for the worldwide surfing population in the early 2000s differ greatly, from five million (Surf Industry Manufacturer’s Association), to 17 million (Surfing Australia), to 23 million (International Surfing Association). Today, that number is likely to be much greater. And as you can imagine (and probably have experienced first-hand), lineups are more crowded today than ever, causing a great concern for not only the lack of waves to go around, but for the safety of surfers in the densely populated surf spots around the world. But it’s not just sheer numbers that are causing concern.

Crowded Lineups. Injury

Pascal Dattler’s head injury is just one among thousands.

Taylor van Essen, a 21-year-old filmmaker based out of Byron Bay, created this short documentary centered around The Pass in Byron Bay, where he spoke to several different people affected by surfers who are putting the lives of others in danger by choosing not to wear leashes.

Pascal Dattler, a local Byron Bay surfer, was the victim of an unfortunate run-in with a leashless balsa wood fish while surfing The Pass. “It just punched straight through my head,” said Pascal. “They had to stitch up the membrane of my brain and smooth out bits of my brain. They had to reconstruct the hole of my skull with metal plates and bolts.” Fortunately, Pascal made a full recovery, but his injury is just one example among thousands we should consider while discussing the dangers of not wearing a leash.

Pascal’s dad suggests the surf schools should have a large part in educating beginners of the dangers associated with not wearing a leash. Ed Sinnott, a local shaper from the South Coast, recommends wearing a helmet while surfing The Pass or opt out of surfing crowded places altogether to do some exploring and find an uncrowded lineup of your own. So unless you’re surfing by yourself, make sure to wear your leashes and be smart, kids.

Disillusion from Taylor van Essen on Vimeo.

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