Life threatening conditions all week at Rainbow Beach
RAINBOW Beach residents will more than likely wake to a closed beach tomorrow, at least for the first part of the morning when a king tide engulfs the Cooloola coastline for the second day in a row and contributes to a cocktail of life-threatening beach conditions.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued a hazardous surf warning today for Fraser Island Coast, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast waters, advising people to consider staying out of the water and to avoid walking near surf-exposed areas.
The high tide at Rainbow Beach, one of the largest of the year, expected at 2.3m tomorrow morning, not only took sand and exposed rocks when it retreated today, it helped create a sea of choppy conditions laced with rips and deep holes.
While a two metre easterly surf swell caused by a large low pressure system off the coast added to the treacherous conditions but delighted surfers who enjoyed some of the best waves Rainbow beach gets.
"It's all eyes on deck,” Rainbow Beach lifeguard Chris Russo said this afternoon of the rough and ripping beach conditions.
While it was not enough to close the beach today or keep keen surfers, visiting back packers and local beach addicts away, he said swimmers had to be aware of the conditions they were swimming in and know their limits.
"Dangerous rip currents and heavy surf combined with the extreme full moon tides are making for life threatening conditions all week,” he said.
"This water's been so rough that it takes two seconds for an adult or child to be swept off their feet,” Mr Russo said.
He said despite the possibility of the beach being closed tomorrow, lifeguards were doing their best to keep the beaches open as long as conditions were safe enough.
"We are expertly trained and equipped with jet skis, rescue boards and other means of lifesaving equipment,” the international lifeguard recruited from New York said.
"It's our duty to be preventative.”
The treacherous conditions follow hot on the heals of the stunning weather that drew more than 30,000 to our precious patch of coastline over the three days of the Australia Day long weekend.
On the Sunshine Coast surfers packed car parks from Noosa to Alexandra Headland from before dawn as a two metre swell fanned by overnight westerly winds poured near-perfect waves on to Sunshine Coast points and beach breaks.
Those who chose to fight the crowds at places like Noosa National Park and the Bluff scored the best of the swell from Tropical Cyclone Fehi with south east winds to in excess of 50 km/h today expected to create messy conditions for everywhere but the most protected points.
Swim school owner and former tour professional Robbie Sherwell rated conditions at 6.5 out of 10.
He said he expected the waves to come from a new cyclone expected to form off North Queensland tomorrow may prove better, benefiting from banks set up by this swell and another two weeks ago.
From 5am at Alexandra Headland there was not a spare car park to be found from the Blue Bar to the Bluff a situation repeated at Noosa National Park.
Elsewhere Sunshine Coast lifeguard supervisor Anthony King and fellow big-wave rider Matt Dobell were able to find an open beach break left hander to themselves.
He said Alexandra Headland, Buddina and Dicky Beach had all been closed for the start of the day due to either a lack of beach or continues that were generating a lot of water movement.
On the Maroochy River North Shore the morning high tide had beach goers scurrying for high ground but did not break through the beach protection fencing and into to dunal vegetation.
Mr King said that was likely occur on the 2.17m high tide at 9.45am. The tide at Mooloolaba would peak at 2.17m at 8.43am.
Further south Wurtulla was on fire with surfers spread along the beach taking advantage of peaky and heavy waves that Windansea Boardriders' Terry Landsberg left snapped legropes and broken boards in its wake.
Sunshine Beach lifeguard Max Pettigrove said away from the points the Noosa river mouth had also offered some great waves at the groynes.
Sunshine Beach was on fire on the early high tide but started to close out badly as the wind picked up from around 10.30am from the north east and the tide dropped.