Gold Coast Surf Management Plan

Our Surf Management Plan was developed in 2015 and recognises the value surfing provides to our lifestyle and economy.

The Plan seeks to balance the interests of all beach and ocean users in line with our Ocean Beaches Strategy – specifically that our beaches are open and inclusive and remain healthy and clean.


To provide world's best practice coastal management strategies to preserve and enhance the surf amenity of the Gold Coast.


  1. Resident and visiting surf users who share Gold Coast beaches, clearly understand local surf etiquette and surf safety customs.
  2. Management of surf amenity on Gold Coast beaches is recognised as best practice, and is informed by data collection, design and innovation.
  3. There is joint stewardship in the management of Gold Coast surf amenity.

Our role

The Plan outlines the role of local government in the management of Gold Coast beaches as well as summarises the legislative framework and jurisdictional boundaries that exist between Local, State and Commonwealth Governments.

Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve

Burleigh Beach to the Queensland and New South Wales border was declared a World Surfing Reserve in 2015. The Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve has a dedicated stewardship committee and Surf Management Plan. This plan is for all Gold Coast beaches, from South Stradbroke Island to the Queensland and New South Wales border.

Find out more about the World Surfing Reserve.

Economic and social value of surfing to the Gold Coast report

Our rich surfing history and culture has played a defining role in shaping the city’s identity. Surfing is a key driver of the local economy, contributing significant value via associated expenditure and employment.

In 2020, we commissioned a report on the economic and social value of surfing to the region.

Key findings

  • The economic contribution of surfing to the Gold Coast in 2019 is estimated to be $542 million or 1.5% of Gold Coast’s Gross Regional Product.
  • The contribution includes the direct economic activity related to surfing and the indirect (i.e. flow-on supply-chain) effects in the Gold Coast economy.
  • The surfing industry is estimated to have supported a total of 6,348 jobs or 2.6 percent of total jobs on the Gold Coast in 2019.
  • Surfing is also associated with a variety of intangible but significant social benefits, including improved health and wellbeing, social opportunities and it contributes to a personal sense of identity.
  • Results from the 2020 surfer survey show that improved mental health and stress relief were identified as the most important psychological benefits of surfing. A sense of freedom and connection to nature were the most important among the identity-related benefits of surfing.
  • 71% of survey respondents placed a significant premium on the proximity of the surf on the Gold Coast.

Disclaimer: This summary is derived from a report dated 29 September 2020. It incorporates information and events up to that date only. There is no information arising, or event occurring, after that date which may affect the validity of opinion within this summary.