“We’ve got three banks and one big hole,” explained the Gold Coast’s evergreen lensman, Simon “Swilly” Williams in reference to the status of the sand at Snapper Rocks, on the cusp of the Quiksilver Pro waiting period. The bank is certainly not in great shape after it was gutted and scoured by the recent roar of Cyclone Gita. Yesterday's short period, south-east swell was coughing up a few slopey, brown lumps, but there is certainly no hissing behind the rock barrels, no Little Mali magic and no mythical ‘growers’ – nothing with the bend, chuck and spit of a genuine day at Snapper.

Mick Fanning warming up for the Quik Pro for the last time ever? Photo: Swilly

Sand is like a precious commodity in Coolangatta, the wealth and well-being of the community seems to fluctuate in accordance with the ebb and flow of Golden granules. Such feelings are amplified when the Quiksilver Pro rolls into town. 

One thing that’s always speculated about is how much influence the WSL have on the volume of sand pumped during the lead up to the Quiksilver Pro waiting period, given the success of the contest can hinge heavily on the quality of the bank.

“There definitely seems to be a correlation between the Quiksilver Pro and the volume of sand being pumped,” suggested Swilly yesterday. “They were pumping all night and by Sunday we might have a bank.”   

Californian Pat Gudauskas will slide back in to the WCT mix at The Quiksilver Pro. Photo:Swilly

According to the official website the “Tweed Sand Bypassing is a joint initiative of the New South Wales and Queensland State Governments. The project's objectives are to establish and maintain a safe, navigable entrance to the Tweed River and restore and maintain the coastal sand drift to the beaches on the southern Gold Coast of Queensland.”

No direct mention of surfing and surf contests in that spiel.  

While I was doing a lap on the Superbank yesterday, resident Coolangatta raconteur and surf coach Dave Davidson, pointed to the discolouration in the water off Froggy’s  (the cove just south of Snapper) as evidence of the recently pumped slug of sand that was about to be washed around the corner on to The Superbank. However, it appears there is a much more exacting indicator of what is actually going on with the volume of sand being pumped. Drifting down towards Kirra on dark, the conversation again turned to the sand when I ran into a local who gave me a tip. “You just download the tweed sand bypassing app and it tells you exactly how much sand has been pumped in the last 24 hrs.”

Lip destroyer, Wade Carmichael, is the only new Australian addition to the WCT. Photo Swilly

So after the surf I did just that and there it was, the indisputable figure. 2190 cubic metres had been pumped in the last 24hrs when I sat down for dinner last night. (Worth noting the app also lets you look at the cams for Snapper Rocks, Rainbow Bay and Duranbah without dealing with the pre-roll ads) Interestingly only 2, 898 cubic metres had been pumped for the entire month of March. That means more than two thirds of the sand pumped for the month had been done so in the immediate lead up to the Quiksilver Pro. Does that suggest the WSL have a direct influence over the sand pumping process? We should applaud them if they do. As it stands they were all busy getting frocked up at the annual WSL ball and unavailable for comment. In any case it was perhaps a good night to enjoy a few drinks because unless someone keeps pumping the sand it’s not going to be pumping for the contest. In the meantime download the tweed river bypass app and keep an eye on just how much is burped up in the next couple of days, and then ask yourself is the WSL the real Sandman?  

Men in white. Joel Parkinson and Mick Fanning at the WSL Ball last night. Photo: Swilly