Snapper surfrider Sheldon Simkus shows how it done behind the rock at Snapper. Photo by Simon “Swilly” Williams.
Snapper surfrider Sheldon Simkus shows how it done behind the rock at Snapper. Photo by Simon “Swilly” Williams.

Our cyclone swell surf gets international attention

AS the world implodes over coronavirus, last week's surf on the points gained international coverage as big crowds charged the Tropical Cyclone Gretel swell, keeping their surfing spirits alive and well.

According to seasoned global surfing photographer Simon "Swilly" Williams, it was a huge week of waves.

"It was odd with all this Covid-19 going on, yet there were more than 500 humans from Snapper to Kirra," he said.

Of course, this raises the question: are surfers and beachgoers in denial of social distancing and self-isolating, with packed carparks and high-fiving after scoring some of the best waves so far of the year?

 

3X World Champion Mick Fanning taking the drop at Snapper during TC Gretel swell. Photo: Simon “Swilly” Williams
3X World Champion Mick Fanning taking the drop at Snapper during TC Gretel swell. Photo: Simon “Swilly” Williams

 

If Bondi Beach is an example, will the State Government be forced to shut the beaches and therefore deny access to surfers? How would this be enforced short of bringing in the army?

As mentioned in last week's column these are uncertain times and until we can contain coronavirus, anything is possible.

Even sharing surfboard wax is seen as potentially spreading the contagion.

Surfers are healthy and fit individuals but to be in denial of what has turned out to be our greatest threat to health and wellbeing, it's time to take serious note of the warnings and follow the health advice that concerns all of us.

Thanks to Surfing Queensland, here are some handy health tips:

• Coronavirus or not, do not share wetsuits, rashies, drinks, towels, wax or sunscreen with others.

• Place hand sanitisers around change rooms and encourage the use of them.

• Ensure all member facilities are maintained and cleaned to a high standard with appropriate cleaning agents - consider more regular cleaning of facilities.

• Limit physical contact such as shaking hands pre or post-event.

Please take care and stay healthy.

On the bright side, Williams said the sand had stayed in place at Snapper despite last week's swell.

"It's so good to see the sand hold in as with most TC swell it invariably washes away," said.

"Courtesy of TC Gretel it stayed further out to sea to produce a solid groundswell that lasted all week.

"It arrived last Monday and continued to build on the Wednesday as the period span lengthened, allowing for an unexpected pulse last Thursday before peaking."

He said standouts included Mick Fanning, Mikey Wright, Nick Vasicek, Sheldon Simkus, Mitch Crews and more.

Up at crackers and putting in a full week of work, Swilly said he had his work cut out shooting from the land and the water, battling the sweep and was understandably exhausted by the end of the week.

"Yes, there were some nasty drop-ins (most notably the blatant one on Fanning as was reported in the Gold Coast Bulletin) but all that being said the vibe was good," he said.

"I feel that everyone was de-stressing from all the world problems."

As a professional photographer of 30 years, Swilly has travelled to all the dream locations but some of his best pics are from the Goldy.

His website is www.swilly. com.au and you can check his work on Instagram or to have photos taken email him at swilly@onthenet.com.au.



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