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



Highway upgrade at Halfway Creek making progress

Works are progressing quickly on the Halfway Creek to Glenugie section of the Pacific Hwy upgrade. The project is due to be completed by the end of 2017.

Progress is being made on highway upgrade at Halfway Creek

NDIS prompts more training

Uni creates Disability Management courses

Christmas has arrived in Grafton

CHRISTMAS CHEER: Santa arrives at Grafton Shoppingworld on Saturday, ready to have his photo taken with all the kids in the Clarence Valley.

Santa has arrived at Grafton Shoppingworld

Local Partners

Sea planes land on the Big River

The Sea Planes Pilots Association were in Grafton to enjoy a weekend on the Clarence River


Bringing their Magic Mojo to Grafton

MAGIC: Head down to Roches Family Hotel for a brilliant mix of '70s, '80s and '90s music by Magic Mojo, a Coffs Coast band using their experience to give a brilliant performance.

Powerful trio to lift the top off Roches Hotel tonight

Catch Saturday night fever at the South Club

GEEZ WIZZ: Get your dancing shoes on for the UK Bee Geez Show.

The UK Bee Geez Show delivers a realistic tribute to pop legends

Audience in for a rare treat from husband and wife duo

Husband and wife Adam Eckersley and Brooke McClymont are playing at home this weekend for an intimate gig at the Pelican Playhouse.

"We love playing these up close and personal acoustic shows”

Jennifer Lawrence gives keys to new partner

Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence

Oscar winner settling down with new partner

Rogue One star proud to lead new Star Wars film

Felicity Jones leads the new Star Wars film

Star Wars lead proud to be in front in sci-fi

What's on the small screen this week

Ernie Dingo stars in the TV series Going Places with Ernie Dingo.

ERNIE Dingo stars in a new travel series and Seven airs the AACTAs.

Mandy Moore feels like she's 60

Mandy Moore sees herself as a 60-year-old rather than a 32-year-old

Goooodbye Hamish and Andy (from our radios)

Hamish and Andy

The pair have been on air since 2006

David Attenborough on facing his mortality

Sir David Attenborough in a scene from the TV special The Death of the Oceans.

Life without Sir David Attenborough is hard to imagine

Chinese locked out of Australian property market

The rules are different if you're a foreigner

The buyer was from China - the trouble started right there

Morrison signs off on new affordable rental model

Australia's Treasurer Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Federal Financial Relations at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Scott Morrison signed off on development of a new financing model

Coast high-flyer's fight back from bankruptcy, $72m debt

Scott Juniper went from millionaire developer to declaring bankruptcy in2012, now he is back on top of his game again with new developments including this one in Coolum.

'Apocalyptic lending storm' causes financial collapse.

How your home can earn you big $$$$ this Christmas

This luxury Twin Waters home rents out over Christmas for more than $6000 a week.

Home owners earning thousands renting out their homes this Christmas

2000 jobs at multi-million dollar Ipswich project

INSIDE: Artist's impressions of the interior of the new Eastern Heights aged care precinct.

Sub-contractors needed to build $15m aged care facility

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!