Monster swell’s a scary proposition

Joy for one at Alexandra Headland.
Joy for one at Alexandra Headland.

THE surf had built to a solid eight-foot swell on the Coast by midday yesterday, with exposed beaches such as Alexandra Headland reaching 10 feet by the afternoon.

About 150 surfers had staked out the Boiling Pot at Noosa early yesterday, with police reporting a traffic bottleneck around Hastings Street.

Noosa, Alexandra Headland, Mooloolaba and Double Island Point were also crowded.

Whitewater galore at Mooloolaba.
Whitewater galore at Mooloolaba.

Peregian, Sunshine Beach, Marcoola, Mudjimba, Maroochydore, Alexandra Headland, Mooloolaba, Kawana Waters and Dicky Beach were closed to swimmers all day, and Noosa Beach followed suit at 3.30pm.

Acting Lifeguard Supervisor Beau Farrell said despite the chaotic conditions it was a "pretty quiet" day.

He said Noosa Main Beach was closed for a short period after two or three patients with spinal injuries had to be transported to Nambour General Hospital.

There were also a few dislocated shoulders near Mooloolaba Spit.

Smooth passage at Alexandra Headland.
Smooth passage at Alexandra Headland.

"They were mainly bodyboarders and daredevils taking on the waves," Mr Farrell said. "The tide dropped very quickly out, which made waves tend to plunge and dump a lot, so we do tend to see those dislocations."

Surf Life Saving Queensland's Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service was called in to winch a man from the rocks at Granite Bay late on Friday after he suffered severe lacerations to an Achilles in a fall.

A teenage boy kitesurfing at Castaways Beach was also picked up by a rescue helicopter after getting stranded out at sea yesterday. .

One kitesurfer in Coolum was transported to the Nambour hospital as a precaution after swallowing too much water, and a missing bodyboarder in Point Perry managed to re-emerge before lifesavers arrived.

"It just highlights that only the super, super experienced should be out there on the waves," Mr Farrell said.

The Boiling Pot in Noosa National Park.
The Boiling Pot in Noosa National Park.

Most people did heed that advice and many would-be swimmers instead crowded vantage points along the coast to watch the sets roll in.

Overall, lifesavers had reported 24 rescues and seven incidents, mainly spinal injuries and dislocations, by 5pm yesterday.

Conditions were expected to peak by midnight, with Coastalwatch reporting swells easing to 5-6 ft today and 4-5 ft tomorrow.

But David McLean from Surf Life Saving Queensland said the forecast could change in an instant.

"We're still trying to work out what the swell's doing," he said. "We can't predict it and we'll certainly have services ready."

A lone swimmer prepares for impact with an exploding wave at Mooloolaba.
A lone swimmer prepares for impact with an exploding wave at Mooloolaba.

Topics:  alexandra headland surf swell tc winston

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