Tweed Daily News

Parko's king of Kirra

FRESH from the water after an epic Quiksilver Pro victory at Kirra yesterday, Coolangatta's Joel Parkinson used his speech to point out that Kirra still “sucks”.

While Parkinson said he had enjoyed himself surfing the big barrels and 3m-swell whipped up by Cyclone Hamish, he urged surfers to unite to bring the old banks back.

“I really want to thank Quiksilver as well for getting behind Kirra and bringing back Kirra to its former glory, because right now Kirra sucks and we need to get it back,” said Parkinson, who also thanked his family and friends for support.

“If we had this swell and old-day banks it would have been a lot different story. So, you know, we can get Kirra back to its former glory - we are all surfers, if we all unite we can get it done, so let's do it.”

It was the first time in 12 years a world tour event had been held at the iconic point break, which has been smothered with 10 million tonnes of sand by the Tweed River Entrance Sand Bypass Project (TRESBP). It now only works in a massive swell, like that of yesterday.

Parkinson knows what it is like to surf the old Kirra, having grown up in Coolangatta alongside Mick Fanning and Dean Morrison - the “Cooly Kids”.

The 27-year-old beat Fanning in a classic semi-final heat before taking down Brazilian Adriano de Souza in the final.

With Parkinson's victory speech, in front of a global audience, the Bring Back Kirra campaign has gained even more momentum.

After a paddle out on Australia Day that drew thousands of people, both sides of Queensland politics have made election promises to spend at least $1.5 million to save Kirra.

And cyclone Hamish isn't the storm surge needed to move the sand from Kirra either, according to Kirra Point Committee's Neil Lazarow.

Mr Lazarow, a research fellow at Griffith Centre for Coastal Management, said it would take two separate major swell events to start eroding the beach properly and yesterday “was not the Kirra that we know”.

He said the current conditions, if they lasted for days on end, would pull the sand out to sea, but if there was no follow up storm of similar ferocity, the sand would move back on to the beach.

“It needs to be a sequence of events ... three or four low pressure systems, all within a few months of each other,” Mr Lazarow said.

He said Kirra used to break on a regular basis, but it now only worked in a major swell.

“It was the only place on the whole of the Gold Coast that was holding any type of shape to the waves (yesterday),” Mr Lazarow said.

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