Tweed buoy records 9m waves

Onlookers and surfers gathered to watch as a resurgent Kirra Point swelled last week.
Onlookers and surfers gathered to watch as a resurgent Kirra Point swelled last week. Brad Nielson

LAST week witnessed a "Betty Blockbuster" swell which will go down as the biggest for 2012.

Occy was calling it the best Kirra in the past 10 years referring to the Magic Monday session where all the necessary ingredients, swell, wind and tide, lined up perfectly.

Kirra photographer Brad Nielson said the atmosphere was like the old days when the crowds would linger on the Big Groyne and across the famous headland to the iconic shed to check out all the awesome action as depicted in the photo.

World class surfers Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Bede Durbidge and Stephanie Gilmore were towing in at Burleigh and Kirra.

An unseasonable intense low pressure system, unofficially a cyclone system of 980 HP, hovered off the south-east coast at the start of the Queen's Birthday weekend.

To give you an idea of the swell diary it was 2-4ft on Saturday, Sunday began at 4ft and then suddenly jacked to 6ft plus by the afternoon catching quite a few out.

Monday was bigger at 6-8ft and Tuesday was maxing out at 8-10ft with much bigger sets on the open beaches leaving chief city lifeguard Warren Young no other option than to shut down the beaches with easily the biggest swell of the year.

The Tweed wave rider buoy registered a humungous high reading of 9m.

By Wednesday the Queen Betty swell had peaked but still packed a solid punch at 8-10ft and then slowly dropped but not in a hurry languishing at 4-6ft last Friday and gradually diminishing over the weekend before flattening out on Monday.

The surfing, social and mainstream media couldn't get enough of the wave action documenting the sessions that led most to Kirra on the Sunday, Monday, Wednesday optimum days.

While Kirra was kegging as good as the banks would allow it was still not the classic Kirra of old according to Wayne "Rabbit "Bartholomew.

Once the swell subsided Kirra was back to its dormant self, these days it needs a storm swell to work unlike the days of double keg barrels over the butter box reef that was covered by sand 10 years ago.

"It's a storm swell bank," explained Bugs, who has had more barrels at Kirra than most have had baked dinners.

Rabbit, Wayne Deane and Bruce Lee have been studying the Kirra dilemma since 1996 when the Big Groyne Kirra rocks were reduced.

They maintain that this altered the currents and shifted the sandbank, irrevocably changing the dynamics of the sand bottom point compounded by the Tweed sand bypass operation from 2002.

On the same day of the MP Paddle Out for Coolangatta surfing champion Michael Peterson, the Kirra Point Incorporated lobbyist group of which Deaney and Bugs are high profile members invited Gold Coast City mayoral candidates to voice their opinions on Kirra and all were unanimous about bringing back Kirra's Big Groyne.

Last week the incorporation met with Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate who is sticking by his word to make that pledge happen.

The previous Bligh Queensland Government with the total support of the LNP handed over $1.5 million to fix Kirra.

In short almost $1 million was used to reduce the sand on the beach, restore dunes although with only minimum effect on the Kirra Point.

It's that $500,000 left in the kitty that mayor Tate is keen to ask the Newman State Government to hand over for the reconstruction of Big Groyne.

And the no nonsense mayor is convinced he can do this and if successful has asked Rabbit to give him a surfing lesson.

Topics:  betty blockbuster, surfing



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