Surfer to protest-paddle sea mining route

02:22, Nov 16 2012
tdn surf stand
Pro surfer David Rastovich

Getting involved with environmental protection was a "no brainer" for world-renowned professional surfer David Rastovich.

Rastovich has been heavily involved in various campaigns, including most famously paddling into Taiji Bay in Japan where dolphins are slaughtered.

He will embark on his latest mission from Opunake today.

He plans to paddleboard from Opunake to Piha over the next two weeks to protest against seabed mining and lend his support to the protection of Maui's dolphins.

"It's about raising awareness," the 32-year-old said.

"We're urging people to just have a look at the facts and how that will impact them and their community.

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"If we sit back and do nothing we will only have ourselves to point the finger at, and I don't want that."

Rastovich, who was born in New Zealand but now lives in Byron Bay, Australia, said he had seen first-hand the effects removing sand from the sea floor had on surf breaks.

"Burleigh Heads and Kirra have been destroyed because of it and they are only minor operations," he said.

"Who knows how many waves could be destroyed by this mining."

"There's no research to suggest it will and there's none to suggest it won't. To me there are just too many questions to risk it."

Rastovich will start his paddle near the area where the foreign owned Trans-Tasman Resources Ltd holds prospecting permits for seabed mining.

The protest paddle has been organised by a coalition of organisations including Rastovich's own Surfers for Cetaceans, Sea Shepherd and Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (Kasm).

Kasm's Tim Rainger said the simple message was to "love your coast, love your ocean and protect it."

Taranaki Daily News