A winter to remember.
We aren’t going to forget 2020 anytime soon. The COVID-19 pandemic has ripped through the globe and we’ve been pushed to our limit mentally, emotionally, financially and in some cases physically.
As far as silver linings go, the lockdowns in Australia coincided with four months of incredible waves on the east coast. The trend began in Autumn as a steady delivery of swell rolled in, hemmed by offshore winds under weeks of blue skies.
From the Gold Coast to the South Coast, everywhere was going off. As we rolled into Winter the swells continued to stack up and we saw the same pattern repeat again.
So why was it so good?
Sand played a big factor. Almost every surfer I spoke to in car park conversations, texts, or over the phone reported unanimously that they hadn’t seen the banks this good in years.
Every southern point and bay was blessed with a Saharan-size load of sand. From Lennox Head to Noosa Heads, crew were calling “as good as it gets” and feasting on the gluttony of perfect waves many locals were calling the best they had witnessed in their lifetime.
Former pro and WSL Commissioner, Kieren Perrow told me one morning that he had never seen Broken Point break so perfectly, or for so long.
“I’m just trying to surf it as much as possible. I’ve never seen it this good.”
He wasn’t alone. World Champion adaptive surfer, and Byron Bay local, Mark ‘Mono’ Stewart observed the same phenomenon at The Pass. The surplus of sand has been a result of average rainfall over Autumn resulting in increased sediment load from river run-off ultimately finding its way onto the beaches, according to chief surf forecasting site Swellnet.
“I’d say it’s been twenty years since we’ve seen a set-up like this one,” said Mono in August.
And despite the border closures on the Gold Coast most surfers haven’t needed a reason to leave home. With SE swell on tap for weeks every man and his dog had a run on the Snapper conveyer belt or scored at one or more beachies.
Mitch Crews reckons it was up there with one of the best winters he can remember.
“I think without a doubt, I think the whole east coast and west coast has been cooking all year,” says Crewsy.
“There might have been bigger swells in past years but this winter was so consistent. Every couple of weeks there was another low stacked up.”
“We’ve been super lucky that these swells have been powerful enough to produce pumping surf on the Goldy. I haven’t needed to go anywhere because we’ve been so lucky to have Snapper, D-Bah, all the way up to North Straddie…even Sunny Coast has had moments.
“It’s funny since COVID took hold in April, it’s been firing until now.”
The welcomed distraction was felt further south as CT veteran, Ace Buchan, was enjoying the spoils of spending his first full winter at home in 20 years. The cancellation of the 2020 season has given Ace a chance to score his local in prime conditions.
In Sydney grom, Kobi Clements earned his stripes at his local with this cavern at South Narra. While the Cape Solander crew packed mutant slabs that defy imagination.
Let’s hope Huey keeps dosing us with the cure to starve off the COVID-blues.