Rare giant swell excites surfers
A ONCE-in-a-decade easterly swell is battering the east coast of Australia as swells generated from Cyclone Winston wreak havoc on the Gold and Tweed coasts.
The easterly groundswell originating from TC Winston's southward emergence on Tuesday was producing waves up to 2.5m yesterday, with even bigger bombs expected today.
Swellnet's Ben Matson said the washing machine-like conditions were wreaking havoc on the coast in what was an extremely rare phenomenon.
"TC Winston is one of the most long-lived swell-generating cyclones in many years," Matson said.
"Over the last few days, after passing through Fiji, it started to track towards our coast and has been generating a very large swell that started to build Friday.
"This looks like it'll be the biggest easterly groundswell in many years and often our big swells are from the south or south-east, so it's unusual for such a large swell to be straight out of the east."
Beaches are expected to be closed tomorrow, shark nets have been removed and boaters, beach-goers and surfers have been advised to be on high alert in the dangerous conditions.
Skyscraper-like 3.5m waves are expected throughout Saturday, with extreme conditions reducing exposed beaches to long lines of white-wash.
Matson said only the most capable surfers should be looking to enter the water this weekend.
"In addition to large waves, there will be a lot of water moving around and very strong rips," he said.
"Swells of this size often overpower large sections of the coast and we're expecting large, dangerous conditions to persist for some time."
One surfer braving the conditions was local surfer Travis Coleman, who was hitting almost 2m surf at Greenmount today after warming up in smaller conditions at Cabarita on Thursday.
He is expecting surfers to descend in numbers upon the points at the weekend.
"It's massive. I'd say it's around the 3m mark and guys are coming here from all over the place," Coleman said.
"It's the biggest I've seen it in the last two years."
While beaches will likely be closed to swimmers, northern lifeguard supervisor Scott McCartney said lifeguards would have a large presence in the region.
Waves up to 3.5m are forecast for Saturday
Only experienced surfers should enter the water
Boaters should log on/ off with Marine Rescue
Life jackets are advised