Banners sporting a young and fit female surfer have been pulled down in Evans Head on the NSW north coast, after claims from one resident that they’re inappropriate.
Promotional material boasting golden beach sunsets and green barrel waves hang in Evans Head’s main street, reminding visitors about the beach lifestyle that the Richmond Valley has to offer.
But it is one of a bikini-clad blonde surfer girl that has sparked controversy in the town.
Within days of being erected, the council removed that particular image following a complaint from one resident who argued it was sexist.
Richmond Valley Mayor Ernie Bennett says it has been taken down in the short-term, but he would like to see the poster returned.
“Personally I see it as a normal shot of someone you would see on the beach at Evans Head,” Mr Bennett said.
“There’s been quite a bit of communication with the community down at Evans… and people want the poster back up.”
The subject of the controversial poster is Kirrah Cooke, a 17-year-old local surf champ and model.
“Since we live in a beach culture town and everyone that lives and holidays here must enjoy the beach culture, and when someone complained about that it was really confusing.
“That’s just what you see in a beach town – if it’s not on the poster, you’ll see it right under the poster.
“I don’t find it sexist at all.”
“I haven’t heard of anyone that’s been upset about it at all.
The complaint called for a more family-orientated marketing strategy to promote the town.
But the athletic teenager who also does cross-country running and plays soccer says the poster is not sexualising young women.
“I feel it promotes a healthy lifestyle and females surfing in this community,” Ms Cooke said.
The decision to take down the poster has sparked debate among locals.
Petria Powell from the local milk bar has gathered 160 signatures calling for the poster to be put back up.
She says the majority of her customers didn’t agree with its removal. .
“Not only is the girl one of our local surfers but it was just a beautiful photo of a girl walking down to the beach with a surf board under her arm,” Ms Powell said.
“It’s so innocent.”