Big swell adds some extra thrill

SURFERS enjoyed yesterday’s big swell, despite the dreary weather.

Even the relatively heavy three-to four-foot wave conditions were not enough to deter beginners.

The Pass and Main Beach at Byron Bay were scattered with local and visiting surfers making the most of the easterly swell.

The rain and offshore winds added to the conditions and the waves were about a foot bigger on the open beaches.

Byron Bay surfer Luke Horvat was glad his day off coincided with the favourable conditions.

“It was closing out a bit, but it was pretty consistent,” he said. “I usually surf at Tallows, but it was too big over there. I think it’s picking up more, so it’s pretty good I have two days off.”

Coastalwatch forecasts the swell will remain for a few more days, easing to two-to three-foot waves with light east-south-easterly to east-north-easterly winds today, before changing to south-east to north-east winds tomorrow and Friday.

After they dodged the shipwreck and rocky outcrop at Byron Bay and gave in to the strong northerly sweep, learn-to-surf English backpackers conceded the conditions weren’t as easy as they looked.

“We got out the back once, but I pretty much died,” 26-year-old Pete Leworthy said.

“I wasn’t put off by the big waves, but I did get thrashed around a bit.”

Friend Luke Brothwell said he had only surfed ‘once or twice’, but planned to keep learning as he travelled to Sydney.

Still, Surf Lifesaving Far North Coast emergency services co-ordinator JimmyKeough recommends only experienced surfers take on the ‘unstable’ conditions.

“Large amounts of sand have been pushed around along our coast after the weekend conditions,” MrKeough said.

“Deep holes and gutters have been created, which may result in dangerous rips.”

Mr Keough said he could not emphasise enough how important it was to swim between the flags in coming days.

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