Surfers are taking on a Norwegian Oil Giant

01 May 2019 Surfers are taking on a Norwegian Oil Giant

Australians love the ocean, not only is it our playground, it also gives us life - we will do everything to protect it. We are all volunteers at the Surfrider Foundation and our mission is to protect our oceans waves and beaches, anything that threatens our coastline and we mobilise. To date, almost 40,000 ocean lovers have joined us in our nationwide paddle outs. This issue is one that is close to the hearts of Australians. Many at the paddle outs have never surfed but are there to support. We want to tell Equinor peacefully that we do not want them to drill in our waters. The risk is just too great.

These are the roughest seas on Planet Earth and no matter what the economic benefits, the potential for catastrophic degradation of thousands of kilometres of Australian coastline is too great. In a world where the burning of fossil fuels is become less popular due to the evident issues of climate change, the type of money that is being spent on this project, could be better used in developing alternative energy systems. Over 30,000 Australians wrote submissions opposing the licenses to drill in the Great Australian Bight (a lot of concerned Australians putting pens to paper). The process was time consuming and took much more effort than simply a social media ‘click and like’.

A pristine stretch of ocean off the southern coastal fringe of Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria is a globally significant whale nursery.

It’s been a fantastic response from the ocean lovers and surfing community to come out in support of our campaign to protest the Equinor licenses to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight. The paddle outs have happened in each of the six States and have galvanised the surfing community. 

In a recent paddle out in Torquay Victoria, many of the World Surf League professional athletes were involved including John John Florence, Mick Fanning, Owen Wright to name but a few among many others.

We are very concerned as the Norwegian mining giant, Equinor, propose to drill for oil in a Marine Sanctuary located 372 kms off the Australian coastline. Out of sight is not out of mind. This pristine marine environment is home to many species of marine life and is a Southern Right Whale breeding area. It is also home to some of the wildest seas on planet Earth. The storms of the southern ocean, north of the Antarctic are known to produce enormous waves and winds, and the risk is just too great. An oil spill in this part of the world would be catastrophic. It would spread an oil slick across thousands of kilometres of Australian coastline. Surfrider’s mission protecting Australia’s waves and beaches and drilling for oil in this region could not present a greater danger. We call on all ocean loving people and the surfing community to join us in this fight. The #fightforthebight

Two oil companies — Chevron and BP — have already pulled out of plans to drill in The Bight for commercial reasons.

Join us for the next paddle out this Sunday at 10am at North Wollongong beach as we tell the Norwegian mining giant NO X WAY EQUINOR


1. Equinor has vowed it won’t go ahead with drilling unless it can be done safely — but its own documents show that safe drilling in the Bight isn't possible

2. The proposed drill site is twice as far underwater as the Deepwater Horizon well — all factors that make oil drilling in the Bight extra risky

3. Drilling will no longer occur in Norway, instead they want to drill in Australian waters

4. Safety requirements for this well are much less than they would be if in Norwegian waters

5. There are no facilities within range to deal with an incident in this area

The Surfrider Foundation has been in Australia for almost 30 years and throughout our history we have been at the forefront of ocean conservation, protecting and fighting for any issues that threaten our coastline, waves and beaches.

Susie Crick - National Chairperson

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