A VETERAN surfer who warned off young Port Fairy wave chasers from a spot near Tower Hill has been fined $750.
Michael Patrick Willis, 46, of Ardlie Street, Warrnambool, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool Magistrates Court to three counts of unlawful assault, two counts of both threatening to inflict serious injury and threatening to damage property and a single charge of assault with a weapon.
Police alleged that on July 14 two Port Fairy surfers went to a beach south of Tower Hill to check out the sea conditions.
Willis started yelling and gesturing to the men and told them to go back to Port Fairy. He continued yelling for 15 minutes.
Willis said he would find out where the men lived, break their windows and break their legs.
Two other younger surfers also arrived to check out the surf and they were also abused and threatened.
Willis then armed himself with a piece of wood, threatened all four surfers and poked one of the men with the piece of wood.
The defendant told police the surfers were wrecking the sand dunes.
Defence counsel Jonathan Makary said the surfers had run up the sand dunes to look at the waves although he conceded his client’s behaviour was not the best.
Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt said the behaviour of Willis was quite bizarre regardless of whether the defendant was trying to protect the sand dunes or the more likely scenario that he was protecting his own surfing turf.
He said Willis was not entitled to behave as he did and the ocean was everyone’s to use.
The magistrate said Willis was fortunate that the four surfers retreated and had not handed out some summary justice in response to the defendant’s appalling behaviour.