Big waves keep surf clear of bodysurfers.
Big waves keep surf clear of bodysurfers. Cathy Adams

Board riders get Christmas bonus

CHRISTMAS continued for board riders yesterday thanks to the big surf continuing into boxing day.

However the large swell also brought a warning from lifesavers who pleaded with locals and visitors to take care as surf continued to batter the region's beaches.

Waves up to 2.4m yesterday made beachgoing tough for all but the most experienced surfers, as lifesaving crews did their best to keep swimmers safe.

Jimmy Keough, emergency services co-ordinator for Surf Life Saving Far North Coast, said lifesavers and lifeguards had been kept busy during Christmas Day and yesterday.

"All beaches on the far north coast were closed on Christmas Day due to dangerous surf conditions," he said.

"And all beaches remained closed yesterday in the morning, before some were opened in the afternoon."

Mr Keough said the number of holidaymakers trying to make the most of the good weather meant it was impossible for every beach to remain closed.

"You can't keep 2500 people out of the water during the day," Mr Keough said regarding the decision to open Byron Bay's Main Beach yesterday.

Mr Keough said lifesavers and lifeguards had performed several minor rescues over the Christmas/Boxing Day break up and down the coast.

Yesterday a man was taken to hospital from Wategos Beach at Byron Bay after suffering a large cut to his head when he was hit with his own surfboard.

Mr Keough said lifesavers at Cabarita were involved in a Christmas day search after a person was reportedly seen going into the water but not coming out.

Lifesavers, police and the Westpac rescue helicopter searched the area fruitlessly for about two hours. No one was reported missing and there was no evidence someone had disappeared - such as abandoned possessions.

Swellnet.com.au predicts the swell will drop as the week progresses, but conditions are expected to remain above 1.2m today.

With big surf expected for the next couple of days, Mr Keough advised beachgoers to exercise care in the water.

"We're asking people to take responsibility over the Christmas-New Year break," he said.

"Swim between the flags. Don't swim on non-patrolled beaches. Don't swim if you're intoxicated or affected by drugs. Don't swim at night time or if there is low light. In an emergency, dial 000.

"And if you're unsure of the conditions, speak with the trained lifeguard or life saver on duty."



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