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Paddle Out for the Bight, Torquay

On Saturday April 20, after a lay day was called at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, surfers paddled out in Torquay to tell the federal government to reject Equinor's plans to drill for oil in the Bight.

People from all parts of the community lined the beach in the main part of town including Jack Freestone, Alana Blanchard, Owen Wright, Nikki Van Dijk, Ronnie Blakey, Belinda Baggs and WSL PURE ambassadors Lakey Peterson and John John Florence.

#Tournotes: Fight for the Bight
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After a lay day is called at the Rip Curl Pro, athletes head to Cosy Beach to #fightforthebight together. Peter King goes behind the scenes.

The Norwegian energy giant Equinor officially announced their intentions to drill in The Great Australian Bight but a spill would massively effect Australia's coastline.

The paddle out, put on by Surfrider Foundation Australia, left a peaceful but firm message. The Torquay community heavily values their stretch of coastline and will take a stand to protect it.

"There's a lot of energy out here today. It's awesome," said John John Florence. "It's pretty cool to see this many people show up to support. We all love the ocean and you can really see that here."

Surfrider Foundation Australia has been running paddle outs across the nation to raise awareness.

Fight for The Bight - Cosy Beach, Torquay. #fightforthebight WSL / Kelly Cestari

"It's emotional to see everyone out here in the water cheering and fighting for something they believe in," said the 2018 World No.6 Owen Wright.

This event coincided with the anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the effects of the accident can still be seen on beaches in the US.

"Anyone who has ever had sand underneath their toes....this is for you," said Damien Cole - Surfrider Foundation Ambassador.

"We all need to make a stand and show our government that we do not want any new fossil fuel projects. Especially in the Great Australian Bight, which is one of the roughest, most unpredictable seas in the world. We need to force our government to listen to us."

Fight for The Bight - Cosy Beach, Torquay. Cosy Beach WSL / Kelly Cestari

Visit http://greataustralianbightalliance.nationbuilder.com/ to sign the Great Australian Bight Alliance statement of concern.

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