Dozens of surfers and ocean lovers hit the water off North Wollongong beach on Sunday morning to fight oil-drilling plans in the Great Australian Bight.
The inclement weather didn't deter those who took part in the Surfrider Foundation Australia-led 'Fight for the Bight' paddle out - part of a national strategy opposing Norwegian oil giant Equinor's proposal to drill 372km off the South Australian coastline.
Surfrider chairwoman Susie Crick said the pristine waters of the Great Australian Bight were home to many species of marine life and a southern right whale breeding area.
"We want to tell Equinor peacefully that we do not want them in our waters," Ms Crick said.
"These are the roughest seas on Planet Earth and no matter what the economic benefits, the potential for catastrophic degradation of the Australian coastline is too great.
"An oil spill in this part of the world would spread a slick across thousands of kilometres."
Paddle outs have taken place in six states, with more than 30,000 people joining in nationwide so far.
Ms Crick said many hadn't surfed before but wanted to show their support.
"In a world where the burning of fossil fuels is become less popular due to the evident issues of climate change, the type of money that is being spent on this project, could be better used in developing alternative energy systems," she said.
Equinor has had a presence in Australia since 2013 and currently holds two exploration permits in the Great Australian Bight.
In its draft environment plan - published earlier this year - the company said it had "drilled and produced safely from similar conditions around the world".
The plan generated 30,000 submissions during a public consultation period and Equinor said it would update the document as a result.
The exploration drilling location is 372km off the coast of South Australia and 476km west of Port Lincoln.
Equinor said it planned to start drilling in the summer of 2020/2021, once all regulatory approvals were in place.
"If oil or gas is discovered, it could provide a unique opportunity for jobs and economic growth in South Australia," the company said.