A new beach fashion is making waves in Port Macquarie as surfers ditch their leg ropes to walk the board.
Local beaches are seeing an increase in surfers riding the waves without leg ropes, according to local observers.
Port Macquarie Surf School owner Wayne Hudson said the hipster-like fashion trend of riding without a leg rope was attracting more experienced riders but surfers needed to maintain their common sense.
"It's a new fashion at Byron Bay," he said.
"The last two years we have seen the return of retro 70s boards, and boards from back then didn't have ropes.
"Riding a board without the leg rope is a fine line, it depends on the ability of the surfer.
"The decision is based on common sense. When it becomes a danger (to others) surfers need to think about it and wear a leg rope if there are plenty of people around."
Apart from preventing injury to other beach goers or themselves with a stray board, surfers can also use a leg-roped board to determine where a missing surfer is.
An attached surfboard can begin 'tombstoning' if its rider is knocked unconscious deeper in the water, instantly telling others that someone is in trouble.
The new trend could represent a legal issue as well with Northern Rivers' law firm, Somerville Laundry Lomax recently placing a Byron Shire Echo advertisement encouraging those injured by an unrestrained surf board to step forward.
Port Macquarie-Hastings lifeguard supervisor James Turnham said not wearing a leg rope because it was fashionable is an unnecessary risk to all involved.
"We don’t see it a lot, but when we do we do shake our heads sometimes," he said.
"Especially when the break is crowded and we see a lot of near misses, or when fiberglass boards wash through the swimming area between the flags.
"Many of our lifeguards are also keen surfers, and when out in the surf we often hear very experienced and sometimes ex-professional surfers calling people out for not wearing a leg rope.
"It just seems to be an unnecessary risk not only to other surfers around them, but to themselves as well."
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