WATCH: Surf rage accused to face hearing
A LENNOX Head surfer accused of repeatedly holding a woman's head underwater in a surf rage incident at Lennox Point has pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault.
Mark Andrew Thomson, 57, is accused of assaulting surfer Jodie Cooper on morning of August 22 after his surf mat collided with her surfboard on a crowded day at the famed break.
Police allege Thomson held Ms Cooper's head underwater three times until she felt she was going to drown.
He has been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault and faced Ballina Local Court on Thursday morning.
Barrister Peter O'Connor informed Magistrate Karen Stafford there was a plea of not guilty and he expected a court hearing to decide the matter to last five hours.
Mr O'Connor also informed the court his client had lodged an apprehended violence order against Ms Cooper.
Police have also filed an AVO against Mr Thomson to protect Ms Cooper.
Mr O'Connor told the court the "cross AVOs" could be heard on the same date as the primary charge.
"We would be hoping there would be a degree of laxity for the evidence to be led... so the necessary evidence can be led in the charge hearing," he said.
Magistrate Stafford scheduled the hearing date for March 29 next year, to return to Ballina Local Court.
Outside court Mr Thomson was accompanied by his solicitor and did not comment.