News

Big swells create havoc on Byron Bay's fatal shore

Police and other associated rescue services scour Cape Byron for any sign of the Irish surfer who went missing in rough seas on Saturday.
Police and other associated rescue services scour Cape Byron for any sign of the Irish surfer who went missing in rough seas on Saturday. Marc Stapelberg

A RAPIDLY building swell and treacherous current made paddling out at Tallow Beach an extremely dangerous proposition on the weekend, even for experienced surfers.

Head surf forecaster and meteorologist Ben Matson from the forecasting website Swellnet said conditions along exposed beaches deteriorated fast on Saturday morning due to the rising southerly swell.

"At first light a lot of spots weren't getting much swell, but the trend was upwards very, very rapidly," Mr Matson said.

"The swell just built all day, and it became very big at exposed spots."

Lennox and Ballina boardriders president Jonny Hewitt said most surfers steered clear of open beaches on Saturday, instead opting for points like Lennox, which was particularly crowded.

"The point breaks hold those kind of conditions much better than the open beaches," Mr Hewitt said.

He said the surf doubled in size from sunrise to noon on Saturday morning, which combined with an incoming tide made conditions even more dangerous.

"Those big surges up the beach have to go somewhere, so often they create new rips or make existing rips even stronger," Mr Hewitt said.

Another element making the northern corner of Tallow particularly hazardous was the swell direction - pushing north almost parallel to the coast - creating a huge current sweeping water and sand north around the Cape.

"It's a little baffling why they chose to surf there," Mr Matson admitted.

"Where they reportedly paddled out at Tallows was going to push them immediately into the vicinity of the headland.

"Even if these surfers were quite competent, the tricky nature of these rapidly building swells can catch even the most experienced surfer unaware.

"You've got very, very large waves breaking in close proximity to the headland, some really nasty rips, and a lot of water moving around."

Mr Matson said there was a huge range of factors which influenced what made a surf break dangerous.

"And in this case it appears everything was working against them."

Topics:  editors picks swell weather



VIDEO: Snapshot of the Pacific Highway upgrade at Woodburn

Page MP Kevin Hogan at the Pacific Highway construction site at Woodburn.

Highway upgrade is "great news for our community"

Joey survives after koala stomped on by cow

Dr Pyne said Fraser was "a battler".

"Cows have a thing about koalas, it’s a bit hard to know why."

Local Partners

Historian to explore social histories of Aboriginal communities

A NORTHERN Rivers historian has been awarded the prestigious $30,000 2016 NSW History Fellowship.


This week's Northern Rivers markets list

Craft, art and fresh produce merge at the local markets.

Where to get your fresh produce and coffee from

GALLERY: Summer meltdown with wrestling show

Apollo, the heavyweight champion of the International Wrestling Australia (IWA Pro Wrestling) which will bring its Summer Melt Down Tour to Evans Head in January 2017.

ORGANISERS have promised body-slamming, bone-crunching entertainment

Ten fantastic things to do on the Northern Rivers

CIRCUS ARTS: Superheroes and Supervillains will battle at out at the end of year show.

Superheroes, carols, dance parties and golf this week

Cruz Beckham's single a 'one-off'

He is not planning to launch a full-time music career yet.

Louis Tomlinson's mother dies aged 42

Louis Tomlinson's mother has died.

Star Wars spin off gets green light grom Lucas

Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, Felicity Jones, Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen star in the movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Lucas said to have enjoyed the latest Star Wars spin-off

BOOK REVIEW: The Mask of Command

This narrative from Anicent Rome has it all

The tech-version of the old pop-up book is here

IS THE old cardboard pop-up book a thing of the past?

Obama's private struggle laid bare in film

Australian actor Devon Terrell portrays a young Barack Obama in the Netflix original movie Barry. Supplied by Netflix.

Filmakers focus in on Obama's legacy

'Crucial' farm land eyed by defence department

Lawson Geddes moving the Brangus cattle to higher ground - which is the land the Defence Department is interested taking for the Shoalwater Bay expansion.

"You can't have one without the other.”

Former Shark Show for sale for $1.3 million

Vic Hislop at the old Shark Show.

TALK about a jaws-dropping real estate opportunity.

There's a whole lot of luxury in this home

The Endeavour Foundation's latest prize home in Mountain Creek.

WHEN it comes to desirable homes, it's hard to go past a prize home.

WATCH QTV: The highlights of your $150 million CBD

GRAND PLAN: The highlights of the Ipswich CBD redevelopment and where they will be located.

Work on city heart's radical transformation to begin next year

VOTE IN OUR POLL: Sand mine opponents face serious dilemma

Public meeting for the proposed sand mine at Maroochydore last week.

Coast MP calls on Minister to stop KRA proposal with stroke of a pen

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!