News that Equinor have scrapped their plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight has been met with overwhelming stoke by the surfers who led protests against the proposal at beaches across the Great Lakes.
The announcement from the Norwegian energy company came earlier this week, catching many off guard.
Pacific Palms' journalist, Kirk Owers, who helped organise a paddle-out against the proposal at Boomerang Beach, spoke of his surprise when he learned the news.
"It was looking like it was going to happen," he said.
"I was very, very stoked."
Forster chiropractor, Mark Banks, who organised a simultaneous paddle-out at Forster Main Beach, echoed Mr Owers sentiments.
"Everyone is cheering about it," he said.
Despite Equinor's claims that they were pulling out of the Bight because the project didn't make commercial sense, Mr Owers believes the scale of the protests must have influenced their decision.
"It was a huge number of surfers who were protesting it up and down the coast," he said.
"The protests would have to factor into that decision - but I don't think they'd admit that."
Mr Owers said he was proud of the people who turned out across the Great Lakes to show their opposition to the project.
"It was a really good community event," he said.
"It shows the community is engaged in these environmental issues."
Mr Banks hoped the movement would gain momentum and oppose more projects that prioritised the fossil fuel industry over the natural environment.
"It's the people who actively use the water that care about it the most," he said.
"We've got to keep vigilant and protect what we've got."
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Meanwhile, Forster school boy turned renowned surf journalist, Sean Doherty, who helped lead the Fight for the Bight at a National level, said he owed the surfers of his home town a huge debt of gratitude.
"I'll personally buy everyone who paddled out for the protest a beer who's above drinking age," he said.
Mr Doherty said the response from the surf community right across Australia had been instrumental in sending Equinor packing.
He also believed the international attention the protests attracted - particularly in Norway - was a key factor.
"I personally think the protest really resonated in Norway," Mr Doherty said.
"I think that's where the Fight for the Bight was won."
With three consecutive oil companies now having abandoned their plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight, Mr Doherty believed the fight to protect the area was very close to being won.
"What we'd like to see now is the Bight listed for World Heritage status," he said.
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