Surf turns to trouble

By DARREN COYNE

LIFESAVERS are expecting beach conditions to worsen over the next month with cyclones expected to develop in the Coral Sea.

Terrible conditions along Gold Coast beaches claimed the life of an 18-year-old man and resulted in numerous rescues at the weekend.

Cabarita Surf Life Saving Club president Patrick Raftery yesterday said however that beaches on the NSW side of the border had not experienced such severe conditions.

"We're a bit more protected than around Surfers but conditions have still been pretty trying," Mr Raftery said.

"We just try to make sure our patrols are set up in the right places and we carry out a lot of preventative work."

Kevin Dunn, the director of operations support for Surf Life Saving Queensland, said a low off the coast of New Caledonia was expected to create tough conditions in the next week.

"It was one of the busiest weekends for a long time, not just with the search for the missing person, but also with rescues," Mr Dunn said.

Meanwhile, the body of Sajith Alahakoon, of Kenmore, who went missing on Saturday evening while swimming in front of the Q1 tower at Surfers Paradise, washed up between Nobbys Beach and Mermaid Beach yesterday.

He had not been a strong swimmer and air and water searches failed to find him.

Mr Dunn said unstable sand banks and fairly strong swells had made conditions trying for lifesavers, with rips and sweeps taking many swimmers.

Ten people were plucked from the surf after a sandbank collapsed at Southport and another 50 people were rescued at other beaches.

Mr Dunn said many of those rescues were from areas of the beach outside the patrolled flags.



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