Massive swell may be one for the ages
THE biggest and cleanest swell in years was rolling directly towards the Queensland coast with the expectation of massive waves beginning to form off Sunshine Coast beaches by Friday.
The Bureau of Meteorology has warned the expected 14-17 second, long-period swell would be extremely powerful with some of the Coast's most experienced big wave riders saying novice and even intermediate level surfers may be better off sticking to the beach.
The now Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Gita smashed through Tonga overnight into Tuesday and has been moving slowly westward directly in the Sunshine Coast's swell window.
All modelling shows it continuing to track westward with winds to 200km/h and more at its centre, generating swell that would organise into clean lines of ground swell that would travel over a vast expanse of ocean directly towards this region.
The swell period of 14-17 seconds compared to the normal swell period for this region of seven to 11 seconds.
The size and direction if maintained would see waves breaking in 10-20 metres of water on the Inner and Outer Gneerings several kilometres off Mooloolaba.
Big wave professional Mark Visser, just back from chasing huge surf at Jaws in Hawaii and Navare in Portugal, said 100 per cent the conditions would only be for the experienced with the region's open beach breaks likely to be too big.
He was planning on picking a spot where the swell would be optimal and where the crowds are minimal.
"My goal is to get waves alone with my brother and a couple of mates where it's harder for people to get to could," Mark said.
"Noosa will be pumping, the Gneerings (shoal) will break. There's definitely a lot of options.
"I'm stoked to be home for once."
Sunshine Coast Daily surf forecaster Mike Perry said the set up was likely to deliver waves that younger surfers may have never seen.
"It's going to be glorious," he said. "The swell will be clean, straight and building.
"There's going to be light winds."
Mike warned that with the long-period swell some surfers would find it easy to get out during the initial days for swell only to discover the size and the power when they reached the line up.
Experienced Sunshine Coast waterman Bryan Weir agreed.
He said long-period easterly swells were extremely powerful and could be dangerous.
"Seriously even experienced surfers can be badly worked over in these conditions," Bryan said.
"Sand bottoms can pack a serious punch. We could see waves explode 15-20 feet into the air.
"There are a lot of people who are going to be out of their depth. It will be an extraordinary event."
Bryan said the swell would turn on different spots that don't normally break opening up possibilities beyond the normal point breaks.
"We're going to get a clearer picture over the next few days," he said.
"It's still a little too early to call. We'll get a lot of swell but how big. It could be quite a bit bigger than the last swell."
Former tour professional and surf coach Robbie Sherwell said if the forecasts were right we could soon be witnessing an event that had not happened for a long time.
But he's containing his excitement for now, all too familiar that nature ultimately determine what unfolds.