News

Tourists bashed by gang of youths

Bashing victim Drew Atkins.
Bashing victim Drew Atkins.

IT WASN'T the souvenir Drew Atkins thought he'd be taking back to Sydney, but it is one he'll remember for some time to come.

Drew and two fellow Surfing NSW officials were ambushed under the cover of darkness by a gang of angry youths on the Park Beach foreshore on Friday night about 11pm.

He was punched to the ground and only the intervention of a bystander protected the 28-year-old from being kicked as he lay unconscious.

His mate, respected surfer Terry Day, 50, wasn't so lucky.

He copped a blow that left him hospitalised with a fractured vertebrae.

"We were forced to defend ourselves in a totally unprovoked attack," Mr Atkins said.

"These guys asked for a cigarette and just started throwing punches, and then all these other guys have jumped us from the bushes with sticks and bats."

The three visiting surf officials were walking to their motel after a night out.

Witnesses said up to 20 youths, some armed with tree branches, had emerged from a beach track.

The ugly incident, condemned by community leaders and police, has strengthened calls for vegetation to be cleared and lighting and security improved at Park Beach.

Surfing NSW CEO Mark Windon said if safety concerns are not addressed at Park Beach, Coffs Harbour could stand to lose future surfing contests.

"I love Coffs and we have brought a few surfing events to town over the years to shoulder the downturn in tourism, but this attack may jeopardise us bringing more events to the area," Mr Windon said.

"We are in negotiations to come back for three years, but what if that had been a family in that position? We have an obligation of safety to the 350 families who travelled here for the junior state titles.

"Locals have since told us it's not safe to walk on the ocean side of the road after dark; it's not a good look for Coffs at all."

Police attended the scene and patrolled nearby streets after the fight, but have since been told the victims do not wish to provide statements or press charges.

Mr Windon said Surfing NSW hopes to turn the incident into a positive and work with community groups to encourage misguided local youth into its surfing programs.

Topics:  assault, bashing, park beach




Child care pornographer released from jail

Man took and shared photos of naked boys

Rebels charge into second straight grand final

SOMETHING TO CHEER FOR: South Grafton Rebels celebrate after Jordan Walker (right) crashed across for his first try of Sunday's semi-final.

South Grafton Rebels create club history booking back to back finals

A special week for Legacy

NOT FORGOTTEN: Legacy widows lay wreaths at the Cenotaph in Memorial Park, Grafton, on Sunday, to start Legacy Week, the organisation's only fundraiser for the year.

Legacy week is vital for widows of Australian servicemen.

Latest deals and offers

That's a wrap: Gympie Muster celebrates 35 years in style

Caitlyn Shadbolt performs at the Muster Club on Sunday August 28 at the Gympie Muster.

Country music festival blessed with great weather and bumper crowds

Julia and Sasha top The Block's leaderboard

Julia and Sasha in their winning master en-suite in a scene from The Block.

FIRST room reveals of the season deliver mixed results.

What's on the small screen this week

Bella Frizza in a scene from the TV series Married At First Sight.

THE Block's $65,000 bathroom is revealed and strangers marry.

MOVIE REVIEW: Life on the Road

Ricky Gervais, Ben Bailey Smith and Foregone Conclusion (Steve Clarke, Andy Burrows, Stuart Baxter Wilkinson, Michael Clarke) in a scene from David Brent: Life on the Road.

Ricky Gervais has brought David Brent back to life on the big screen

Jessica Alba wants tequila shots served at her funeral

Businesswoman and actor Jessica Alba

There won't be mourning at this funeral

Tom Hiddleston's Instagram account hacked

Actor Tom Hiddleston

Thor star the latest celebrity targetted by hackers

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m