Cronulla's Latest Surfspot: All New & All Natural

Stu Nettle
Surfpolitik

Andrew Pitt is a Landscape Architect and surfer from Maroubra, NSW. He's also the principal surfing reef architect at Surfing Ramps, and was the founder of the 1st International Surfing Reef Symposium in 1997 as well as Event Director of the 7th Symposium in 2010. 

At the 7th Symposium Andrew gave a speech titled 'Bombora Controlled Beachbreaks'. Next month he'll get a chance to test some of the ideas in that speech when he oversees a sand dumping project at Cronulla.

Swellnet: So, what's happening down at Cronulla?
Andrew Pitt: Every four years or so the local Council dredges Port Hacking and with the sand they dig up they take it around the corner and dump it off the Cronulla beaches. A few of the local surfers, guys like John Veage, Brad Whitaker, Mark De Pena, they were concerned about the impacts. They'd seen the impact the previous works had had on the waves - the waves had broken further offshore - yet it seemed a bit of a hit or miss approach.

What the Council was doing off the beaches was literally just a dumping process. Sand was just getting dumped and we wanted to have a say in where it got dumped to turn it into a positive for the surfers.

Why has it taken so long for surfers to twig that there was an opportunity in that dumped sand?
I think a lot of surfers had been indifferent to sand nourishment, as they thought 'oh, the sand'll just wash away'.

But you're dumping it strategically?
The sand will be dumped in deep water, between four and eight metres deep, 250 metres off the beach. The feature that it'll create is called a 'Wave Focusing Sand Slug'. Because it's not in the wave breaking zone it's not subject to as many forces and the sand dispersal will be a lot slower than if it was.

Yet it is a temporary thing?
Yes, it is...

There's no artificial materials used to keep the sand in place?
It's just sand.

So assuming average conditions how long should the sand slug last?
It'll all depend on Mother Nature. If we get a storm – ten foot and onshore with wild rips – it could chew it apart in a day. But the concept of a sand slug...it's actually a technical term meaning a body of sand that moves together as one unit. What we would like to see is that body of sand stay as one unit, and if it does disperse it will disperse in a shoreward direction. I'm hoping it will last three to six months.

And you'll be monitoring this when they begin the dumping?
We've been monitoring it since March so we've got the pre-conditions. We're monitoring where the surfers are surfing now and then where they'll be surfing when the project is completed. We'll keep track of how often the sand slug gets surfed throughout the project. At the end of it all, the ultimate question will be: Was it successful or not? Yet how do we know that? How do we even judge that?

What's your criteria?
This is why I'm interested with what you're doing with Swellnet, 'cause you've got that online interaction with surfers, some of who, as we know, are very candid. Let's face it, they're not scared to put forward their opinions and that's fantastic because we can get candid feedback on whether this is a good or bad thing.

So it's not just photographic evidence that you are after but also anecdotal evidence from people who have surfed it?
Which is the most important kind. We want to know how the local surfers judge it. It's their opinion that really counts, the guys that are surfing that stretch of beach most of the time.

What's Sutherland Shire Council's position on it?
At first they were a bit indifferent to it but now we've met with them, we've talked with them and now they're supporting it, they're behind it. They've taken the position that 'if this is what the local community wants, then this is what we'll do'.

Have you had any objections?
No. I've had a lot of people seeking more information, but I haven't heard anyone say "no, don't do it". And it's at no extra cost – there's no extra money added to the project – so most people say, "well, why not?"

Under ideal conditions, what would you expect the outcome to be? How are the waves going to change?
Peaks. Basically we'll get more peaks and less closeouts. I think it's important for people to understand with this sand slug that waves won't be breaking on top of it. It's in deep water. What we want to see is a lot of wave refraction. We want waves to bend around it and we want to see some peaks shape up inside it.

Are you copying the design from any particular stretch of coast?
I'm trying to duplicate a natural system, what I call a 'bombora controlled beachbreak'. By that I mean where there's a beach and offshore from the beach is a bombora. Some of the best beaches on the NSW coast have actually got these offshore reefs. There are 26 of them on the NSW coast, I don't want to list them all 'cause some of them are secret spots but think North Narrabeen, that's a classic bombora controlled beachbreak. Then there's (censored), Wonoona, (censored), (censored), there are also some around Newcastle, and even Manly which has the Queenscliff Bombora.

The offshore bommies at some of those spots helps to draw the swell in and focus it, as well as refract it. Do you think the sand slug will do the same?
Yeah, it'll work like a swell magnet; it'll focus all the energy into one particular spot on the beach, where the waves should be slightly larger than the waves on either side. By focusing the wave energy into one particular place we're actually encouraging the rips to become established either side of the slug. So the plan is that we will get this classic situation where we get peaks coming through in the lee of the sand slug and rips either side of it. Both those things should break up the closeout pattern.

You mentioned that the sand dumping happens about every four years down at Cronulla: Are you locked in for the next round of dumping?
I think a lot of people are waiting to see the results. That's fair enough, I am too. I don't want to over-promise the results but I've gotta say I'm quietly confident.

I believe that regardless of how it goes all beach nourishment projects should be giving surfers better waves.

Do you see this as being a precedent, where similar systems could be replicated elsewhere? We've got a lot of river systems on the East Coast with surfing centres nearby, could other councils follow suit?
OK, the first thing is that it has already happened elsewhere in the world. I've got some good case studies from beach nourishment projects in Newport, California; St Augustine Beach, Florida; and the Dutch Superbank over in The Netherlands. I've monitored those projects very closely and learnt a lot of stuff from the people involved with them.

So, it has happened in the past, but let's talk about today, right now...sand nourishment is happening at Mooloolooba and at the Seaway. That sand is getting sucked out of the riverways and getting dumped on beaches nearby. I would be saying to local surfers there, "guys, you're missing an opportunity here".

On the big picture, long-term side, there's been a lot of talk about climate change and how we'll adapt to that on the coast. The Sydney Coastal Councils Group, they've already said their position on eroded beaches is beach nourishment. They've said "let's suck the sand off the seafloor and put it on the beaches". We don't like seawalls and we don't like groynes, so lets do beach nourishment as an adaptive response to erosion in the longterm.

So, have you had any interest from other councils?
Yeah, definitely.... there's a lot of people watching and waiting for the results at Cronulla.

We'll wait and see then. What date does the dumping start?
Depending upon when they can get all the equipment in, but most likely late August. It also depends upon Mother Nature, if she's got some wild storms it'll be delayed a bit.

(At this point the 'official' interview ended but Andrew and I kept talking, discussing a broad range of topics including the recent direction of the World Tour, while the microphone kept recording. Included in the conversation was this exchange)

Andrew Pitt: I'd like to see them bring surf contests back to really dense urban areas like Bondi and Manly.

Swellnet: Well they're doing it at Manly with the Australian Open next year.
I remember when they had the last big contest at Maroubra and there was like 15 or 20 000 people down there watching the event. We loved it!

I'm not sure about urban contests for the very best surfers on the World Tour. I'd rather see them in 6-8 foot perfection than 2 foot Manly.
Let me give you this concept...they've got the Quiksilver comp up in Long Beach, New York. It gets a bit of swell up there, but it's just beachbreaks and it mainly closes out. At the same time they're doing millions and millions of dollars of beach nourishment there. Put the two together. Use the beach nourishment to create some good sandbanks. Build wave focussing sand slugs. It'll be at no extra cost and they've got a far better chance of getting fantastic waves for the event.

It's like building a skateboard ramp for a competition rather than leaving things to chance.
Yeah, but it's doing it where everybody is. So local surfers don't want a contest at Kangaroo Island. Well OK, don't have one there. But at, say, Bondi they love big events and festivals but the surf's usually poor quality. There's plenty of swell, it's just that it's closing out most of the time. Why not use beach nourishment to give them peeling waves? Plus local surfers enjoy the benefits once the event is finished.

What you're proposing could be the beginning of something big.
In my mind, that's the future.

Comments

rusty-moran's picture
rusty-moran's picture
rusty-moran commented Thursday, 28 Jul 2011 at 8:32am

Well done Andrew. Thanks for taking the initiative to direct the sand dumping.

Before moving away from Cronulla just over four years ago, I probably surfed the beachies only a few times in the last fifteen years, mainly due to the lack of a decent peaky bank. Since then, I have actually enjoyed surfing beachbreaks again, rediscovering the joy of the odd bechie barrel on peaky waves with an outside shoal, such as mystics.

Thumbs up brother.

prg1972's picture
prg1972's picture
prg1972 commented Thursday, 28 Jul 2011 at 10:52am

This is an amazing project. I've been thinking lately about the common links between good beachbreaks, and having an outside reef or bomby for the waves to shoal and refract on pops up all the time.It doesn't even have to be a rock outcrop, think of D'Bah and how the swell crosses the Tweed Bar and begins to refract. The same happens at a few 'North Walls' up and down the coast. On Google Earth you can see that the deposits of sand out of waterways on the East Cost is usually just to the north of the entrance (probably due to longshore drift). Swell lines cross the sand deposit and begin to refract. I had a great session at a reasonably well known one on Sunday!

I won't get a chance to surf the Cronulla Sand Slug but can't wait to see the results. All the best Andrew.

heals's picture
heals's picture
heals commented Thursday, 28 Jul 2011 at 8:39pm

What happens if it works? Will the council put a pipe in rather than using dredges every four years?

sum_cat's picture
sum_cat's picture
sum_cat commented Thursday, 28 Jul 2011 at 10:03pm

Hey Andrew, I have seen what I think is a perfect example of what you are trying to achieve in South Sumatra. I recently stayed at Mandiri Beach and the beach break out the front had swell everyday, not always best surf but it was a definite magnet in the area. Just offshore (300 - 500 metres out) on the bigger days you could see the white wash out on the bombora. Not sure if the bottom was sand or reef but as you describe what you are trying to do it reminded me of it. Mimic that and BAM! your on it. my 2 cents.

andrew-pitt's picture
andrew-pitt's picture
andrew-pitt commented Thursday, 28 Jul 2011 at 11:09pm

prq1972 - you're totally right, on the east coast of Australia, ebb tide shoals form at the mouth to many estuary/river mouths with training walls, approaching swells bend and refract, peeling peaks inside.
sum-cat - appreciate the example,other places with Bombora controlled beaches are 13th Beach in Victoria, Gisborne Pipe in NZ, Sunshine Coast + Sth Oz have a few and a mate in Florida reckons there's several over there as well. I suspect there are plenty more worldwide.
Heals - not sure on the pipe, i think a cost comparision was done several years back, and it was cheaper to dredge and cart, and more expensive and intrusive to dredge and pipe onshore.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Thursday, 28 Jul 2011 at 11:45pm

This is a first.

Be interesting to see how it pans out.

Snapper Rocks is a Prime Example of the Council pumping sand before the contest to ensure sandbanks are in shape.

The vision of enhancing urban areas to improve surf quality makes a lot of sense.

fitzroy-21's picture
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fitzroy-21 commented Friday, 29 Jul 2011 at 12:08am

@ sum cat. Up the road from Mandiri at La Ai is exactly the same. Close outs along the whole beach except for infront of the bommie a couple of hundred meters out. Smoking beachies in Indo!!

drdip's picture
drdip's picture
drdip commented Friday, 29 Jul 2011 at 2:52am

To the positive commenters toward Andrew's proposal..We have nothing to lose and everything to gain!!
please watch an associated youtube vid entitled "Making waves at Cronulla"

dip

dr dip

drdip's picture
drdip's picture
drdip commented Friday, 29 Jul 2011 at 2:55am

To the positive commenters toward Andrew's proposal..We have nothing to lose and everything to gain!!
please watch an associated youtube vid entitled "Making waves at Cronulla"

dip

retitled: "My hairline your shoreline"" lol

dr dip

surfa87's picture
surfa87's picture
surfa87 commented Friday, 29 Jul 2011 at 5:46am

what a great idea wish we could get that on the sunshine coast in queensland, for months now weve had shitty closeouts even on good swells!!!! sunshine coast council needs to implement this!!!

johnson's picture
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johnson commented Friday, 29 Jul 2011 at 6:41am

Awesome to see this project happening... to make any inroads with artificial reefs/sandbanks it is important to know that quality waves begin well offshore - sometimes many kilometres out in water hundreds of feet deep. The Bathymetry (underwater topography) refracts, focuses, and grooms the swells so that they form peaks when they finally reach the beach. Look at Pipeline as a perfect example - In a solid swell Pipe/OTW might be 6-8ft but 50m away at Log Cabins or Pupukea it is only 2-3ft. It's because of the influence of the offshore reefs, several miles to the west near Waimea Bay, that Pipeline is so good.

The same goes for most quality surf spots. Trestles, South Straddie, Kirra, J-Bay, North Point, etc - look at a Topography map and you can actually visualise how the swells would turn and bend towards these spots depending on factors further offshore. Go offshore in a boat or chopper at South Straddie during a big south swell and you'll actually see the swell lines go straight past the Goldy, hit the shoal about 1.5 miles off Straddie, and bend into a big "V" shape as they twist back towards shore.

There is no sense in creating artificial surf breaks unless you also direct and shape the waves further offshore. This is the reason why the artificial Narrowneck Reef has little impact on wave quality - once the wave is breaking, it's already too late to change it - you need to make modifications offshore in order to make any significant changes.

ashwa's picture
ashwa's picture
ashwa commented Sunday, 31 Jul 2011 at 3:54am

Hi Andrew, interesting stuff.

If wave energy will be intensified at a certain point along the beach through defraction, as opposed to it being dispersed more evenly up and down the beach as is happening now, is the Local Government , or are you guys, concerned about risks to infrastrcuture such as the sea wall or loss of beach to the north and south of the sand slug? I.e. like a breakwater might cause a tombolo but erode the coast either side? Any studies been done on that for your proposal?

Thanks.

andrew-pitt's picture
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andrew-pitt commented Monday, 1 Aug 2011 at 4:06am

Good questions ashwa, - a three part answer.

Sutherland Councils position is - 'if there is no net negative impact, and that is what the community wants - then OK, do it'. Seeking feedback and critique on the proposal, last year i took it to the 2010 NSW Coastal Conference (with a paper called "His Dump Site: Our Playground" see on my website www.surfingramps.com.au ), I also forwarded it to several coastal engineers and coastal experts. Sutherland Councils experts from WorleyParson Engineers checked it over - gave it the nod. We also formed a local committee - The Bate Bay Sand Placement Committee and local surfer Mark De Pena did a lot of consultation with locals. A Dutch engineer - Eric van Ettinger provided a computer modelling study (also at www.surfingramps.com.au). In short - the proposal has been checked over by many eyes and it has been tweaked - based on the feedback.

Keep in mind - waves build beaches. In simple terms - the offshore sand slug will trip waves further offshore - reducing erosive energy reaching the shore and enhancing beach building in the lee of the slug, yes a subtle salient (an elbow in the shoreline) should form. The salient will grow as the sand slug is dispersed in a shoreward direction. This - sand dispersal shoreward - is consistent with previous sand dumping at Cronulla, and every nearshore sand nourishment project i have reviewed.

We selected the site - offshore the Prince St Seawall - as that section of beach urgently needs a sand buffer at the base of the seawall. The aim is to - protect the infrastructure asset - with sand.

derra83's picture
derra83's picture
derra83 commented Monday, 1 Aug 2011 at 4:26am

Andrew (and other people involved),

If the sand slug works will you be sharing the information with other surfers? I imagine you would have learnt a lot in the process, even knowledge in cutting through council redtape. Will you be passing on that information to others who could use it? Where can we find it?

j_miran's picture
j_miran's picture
j_miran commented Monday, 1 Aug 2011 at 11:16pm

I'm waxing up ready to go !! Well Done.

andrew-pitt's picture
andrew-pitt's picture
andrew-pitt commented Tuesday, 2 Aug 2011 at 3:55am

J miran - I am waxing up too.

Derra83 - yes. I am writing a conference paper comparing the Cronulla project with 4 others;-
1) wave ‘peaks’ at Newport, California in 1992
2)‘beach elbow’ at St Augustine, Florida 2005
3)trapezoidal fill template at Long Branch, New Jersey 2009
4)‘Dutch Superbank’ at Scheveningen, Netherlands 2010

Each site is unique, though comparing the different methods,results, strengths and weakness should be of great benefit for all.

Swellnet has the Surfing Reef Design Forum - with one post specific to info links.

rasputamasafasin's picture
rasputamasafasin's picture
rasputamasafasin commented Wednesday, 3 Aug 2011 at 8:19am

Good luck, I'll be inspecting it for sure!

Refraction peaks like at Hossegor in France, 13th in Vic or Wurtulla on the Sunny Coast would be awesome - although all their reefs are a fair way offshore.

God (or anyone) please fix Bondi close outs. Pump sand, sink a ship, tie back packers to bricks.... anything!!!

Rasy

viccosurfer's picture
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viccosurfer commented Friday, 5 Aug 2011 at 5:41am

Hi Andrew. Two of my favourite spots are peaky beachies from bomboras. I have a couple of questions. if the swell generally comes from one direction (SW in viccos case) does this mean that the better waves are generally one direction? I tend to notice it where I surf but thought it may be because im goofy and enjoy lefts.

Secondly. Would the set up work better for those beach breaks that generally get straight swell lines with not much change in direction? I always pondered without scientific knowledge about breaking up all those straight swell lines that are refracted around cape otway into bass straight and close out on certain beaches on the mornington peninsular 300 days a year.

I also noticed the refraction around a bombora dissipates swell energy on landfall as it is dissipated in the wedging of the waves. (Much like the impact on the shipwreck coast down south, London bridge for example.

I also find that the best conditions for the bombora and usually when there is whitewater breaking on top of it instead of some peaks rising but not capping. Can you give the dimensions of the reef and its distance below sea level?

andrew-pitt's picture
andrew-pitt's picture
andrew-pitt commented Sunday, 7 Aug 2011 at 8:34am

Hi Viccosurfer - some fantastic observations there.
As a regular beachbreak surfer, i too, have been frustrated by 'perfect closeouts'. I have noticed, rather than swell direction, the issue is wave period. The days with perfect closeouts are long period swells, greater than 12sseconds. While a few days later, on the same banks, a short period swell with wave period less than 8 seconds will provide at least a quick ride. The irony is, with closeout banks i am begging Huey for a messy swell or an onshore wind to chew up the banks.
There is another post on swellnet about installing an artificial surfing reef on the Fleurieu Peninsula - my suggestion would be - install a bombora off their beachbreak, less environmental impact, more consistent enhancement of wave breaking patterns. Same deal on Vicco.
Your favourite bombora controlled beachbreak - my question - is the bombora a short patch of reef?

saltiest1's picture
saltiest1's picture
saltiest1 commented Monday, 8 Aug 2011 at 10:50am

has anyone given a thought about Rocla and their sand mining and their results in affecting the sand erosion? ive never seen the wall in such bad shape, and never seen so little sand in the dunes. are they related? food for thought me thinks. could they chip in with the creation of a sand retention feature?
just putting it out there.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 8 Aug 2011 at 10:26pm

Saltiest,

People have been trying to make the connection since the construction of the Wall went in during the mid-80's. But really, even before that the banks in front of the old Wall would occasionally be lost and waves would wash around the base. Yet, as it was just dirt and rocks it wouldn't create the type of beach-eroding backwash that is currently there, therefore the sand seemed to come back quicker.

Perhaps the problems stem back even further - to the earliest mining, maybe even to Thomas Holt grazing his cattle on the then-forested sand dunes - but as nothing has been done to date I highly doubt anything will now.

Besides, where are they gonna get the sand from? You flown over the 'sand dunes' lately? They are now digging below sea level to get their sand and the peninsula is full of lakes. The only high spots are the hills of Kurnell Heights which are made up of landfill. Pure sand out, construction waste in.

anchorman's picture
anchorman's picture
anchorman commented Wednesday, 17 Aug 2011 at 2:16am

Can you guys help us out in SA? We have an aging population that resists any change whatsoever. We have a thread on this topic in "wax on" and all we seem to get are typical coservative doubters. HELP!

beatlloydy's picture
beatlloydy's picture
beatlloydy commented Wednesday, 17 Aug 2011 at 5:08am

Andy,

Congrats...looking forward to the results...does this mean we could expect better waves around "the alley" and the north end of Elouera (peeling off the bombie)?

If you have any influence on where they dredge North West Arm of the Hacking would be great cos then I can get my boat out from across the road (but doubt if they will touch there)... LOL

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Tuesday, 18 Oct 2011 at 2:51am

You can read a bit more about Cronulla's sand slug in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/sand-slug-gives-surfers-hitting-the-wall-the-b...

Unfortunately it looks like the process is running a bit late and they won't begin dumping till early next year.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Wednesday, 11 Apr 2012 at 3:48pm

After a lengthy delay it looks like Cronulla will finally get the anticipated Sand Slug. The dredge should arrive on the 16th April, weather dependent, with dredging beginning soon after.

Fortunately, the timing will coincide with a new surf camera Swellnet is installing that will overlook the slug. The camera sits up high and looks down on the Cronulla beaches. If there is a clean swell while the slug is in place viewers should get an idea of its working dynamics as swell lines pass over the shallow water and refract causing peaks shoreward of it.

See this image of the view from the new camera showing where the Sand Slug will be located.

http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n245/stunet/sandslug.jpg

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Tuesday, 19 Jun 2012 at 2:31pm

The dredge that will create the sand slug is finally here. Andy Pitt informed me this morning that the Faucon has sailed into Port Hacking and will begin dredging immediately. He is having a meeting with Sutherland Shire Council on Thursday to discuss the final sand placing.

Stay tuned for further information.

bukz's picture
bukz's picture
bukz commented Tuesday, 19 Jun 2012 at 6:22pm

Well it is good being optimistic but then there's Perth. I lived there for ten years and the surf just sucks. You've got reefs offshore everywhere, you've got rottnest island 18ks off the coast and it is right on the swell way to Scarborough beach and all these stuff underwater makes is the swell smaller. You get the longest close outs most of the year and the only thing that changes that are storms and rain that will shape the odd good bank.

From all the artificial breaks that failed before we learned that small structures won work, It seems like you need a massive v or u shaped shallow, solid structure if you want to make this work. I don't think a once off sand pumping will make much difference and I hope I'm wrong.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Wednesday, 20 Jun 2012 at 5:31am

It's a different situation in Perth Bukz. The reefs that do the shoaling are, as you say, a long way offshore, plus there are many of them. So rather than simply cause the swell lines to refract they diminish all the wave energy before it hits the Perth beachies.

The idea for Cronulla came about by observing some of the best beachbreaks on the East Coast and understanding what makes them good. In the case of Wairo, 13th, Congo, Manly (under an east or north swell) and others the swell lines pass over one relatively shallow bombora and begin to refract. The energy remains within the swell though it is no longer squared up as one long line predisposing it to peaks and wedges.

andrew-pitt's picture
andrew-pitt's picture
andrew-pitt commented Wednesday, 20 Jun 2012 at 10:53pm

Tne Faucon Dredge will be shifting about 60,000 to 70,000 cubic metres of sand, taking up to 17 weeks to complete the project, thats about 28 olympic swimming pools of sand. The Bate Bay Sand Placement Committee is asking the majority of this be placed offshore the Cronulla sea-wall. Though the dredge skipper has 'final discretion' of where he drops the sand(for issues of safety, which we all agree with). Though if, the dredge is placing sand off target too often - please ring the Project Manager at Sutherland Council, Guy Hodgson ph 0414 193 833 em. [email protected] - and ask him to get the sand placement back on target.

the_b's picture
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the_b commented Thursday, 21 Jun 2012 at 7:11am

If the sand shoal is placed in front of the wall, won't it then focus a lot of the wave energy in towards the wall? Sorta defeating the purpose

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 21 Jun 2012 at 8:10am

@b,

It should actually help to break up the swell lines into peaks and wedges and mitigate the wave energy offshore. If it works as planned a small spit (scientific term?) will build up on the shoreline beyond the wall.

alakaboo's picture
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alakaboo commented Thursday, 21 Jun 2012 at 2:50pm

Salient, Stu.

B, the fact the wall is there at all, and had to be repaired, is evidence of the fact that a fair bit of energy is directed there already. I'd guess that is roughly where large S-SE swells get refracted by the headlands to the Sth to the point of being perpendicular to the shoreline.

Good luck Andrew, hope it works.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 21 Jun 2012 at 3:13pm

Salient. That's it 'Boo.

Reckon you could turn a buck by hiring yourself out at trivia nights. You'd kill it.

roubydouby's picture
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roubydouby commented Friday, 22 Jun 2012 at 9:47am

Would a sand slug be an answer to drawing in energy for artificial reefs? Sure it'd be temporary, but i'd be interested to see if it works.

Results may vary.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 22 Jun 2012 at 9:59am

It's exactly why I'm interested RD. Turning a by-product (dredged sand) that would otherwise be dumped randomly into a valuable resource to surfers (sandbanks). There are no artificial materials and nothing permanent. If it doesn't work it just disperses and things return to normal at no cost and no consequence to anyone.

And if it does work every surfer living near a river that gets dredged should begin lobbying their council.

the_b's picture
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the_b commented Friday, 22 Jun 2012 at 10:35am

Cheers 'boo/stu. Also probably a product of poor placement of infrastructure (looks like Prince Street was built in line with the front of the foredunes)

andrew-pitt's picture
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andrew-pitt commented Tuesday, 14 Aug 2012 at 7:23pm

An update of the sand slug at Cronulla...
Yes, the two big swell events of August moved plenty of sand about. The waverider buoys on the Wednesday 1st August called the swell as 8m @ 16 seconds, from the sou-east.

Couple of things…

1.) Sand placement on target - since mid June the Faucon dredge has been dropping sand loads (mostly) within the preferred zone, off the south end of The Wall. They are one half of the way through the project, so the slug is still in ‘construction stage’, even if the 1st half has been shifted about.

2.) Semi-permanent rips - prior to Wednesday 1st August, over several weeks (via the swellnet Cronulla cam and going on site) I noticed the rip off the south end of The Wall to be well-defined and semi-permanent in location, also at the north end of The Wall, a similar rip was almost locked in position, but less defined. So, rip locations in response to sand slug location, I expect this to repeat in coming weeks, unless another big swell event pushes sand around.

3.) Shoreline salient (a subtle bulge in the shoreline, a slight build-up of sand on the shore line in the front of the south end of The Wall). I noticed this appeared after the 1st swell event in August, via the Cronulla swellnet surf cam. I did a shoreline walk to confirm it and record it. This suggests the sand slug was dispersed in a shoreward direction. Though the 2nd swell event in August straightened the shoreline.

4.) Peaks - I had an excellent surf off The Wall on Wednesday 25th July - head high waves, the foggy morning. I noticed some of the sets would feather and crumble outside prior to breaking (feeling bottom on the slug, but not in a consistent manner). I was seeing good peaks off The Wall prior to this too. Several other Cronulla locals felt the sand banks where excellent too.

5.) The first Saturday in August, a contest at Cronulla, they set up off the southern end of the wall (picking best spot on beach?) they were calling it a ‘slugfest’ – with plenty of good lefts. Check facebook – Cronulla National Surfing Reserve - for photos.

So conclusion? The slug is providing a positive impact on surf quality and beach width. Next two months will be interesting - still 50% of sand to be placed - and a lot will depend on swell size.

Anybody notice anything else?
Been surfing at Cronulla lately?

andrew-pitt's picture
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andrew-pitt commented Thursday, 30 Aug 2012 at 12:12pm

Another update, Thursday 30th August. So far the Faucon has placed about 50,000m3 of sand off The Wall at North Cronulla. I did a depth sounding survey out there last Saturday - and there is a defined ridge at -4m to -7m deep. Wave quality? Excellent. While there has been a more dominant peak, i notice a 'peak field' spread across several hundred metres.
Swell went flat last Friday, and the Faucon dredge moved to the southern end of the beach - dumping sand in real close at Cronulla pocket beach. I understand Faucon will come back to North Cronulla and drop a further 5,000 to 10,000m3. Still some good waves to come i feel...

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freeride76 commented Thursday, 30 Aug 2012 at 1:05pm

Sounds interesting. Any photos?

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benr commented Thursday, 30 Aug 2012 at 3:13pm

Hey Andrew, I noticed the dredge dumping sand at south Cronulla instead of the proposed Wall location last weekend (25th August). Any idea why they're dumping in the wrong location? Hopefully they get back on track soon, the small conditions of late surely would have been perfect for keeping the sand in the one place.

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andrew-pitt commented Thursday, 30 Aug 2012 at 5:41pm

Photos - Ben/Stu can we put some photos up on swellnet? There are some really good photos on facebook, search Cronulla National Surfing Reserve and One Shut Eye plus, i have popped a few photos on www.surfingramps.com.au front page.
Interesting - was the way the big swells earlier in the month 'groomed' the banks - wave shaped only got better through the month of August.
Dredge down south end of Cronulla - at the request of Cronulla Surf Club - though i understand as soon as swell rises - that's it. Back to dumping at off The Wall.
Also - check the swellnet cam for Cronulla Beaches...

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stunet commented Thursday, 30 Aug 2012 at 6:02pm

Hey Andy,

I'll check out the CNSR FB site, but also next week Craig (Swellnet forecaster) and I are going to go down to Cronulla to surf it and check out the state of play. Craig will take photos to put on Swellnet. I'll contact you beforehand.

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andrew-pitt commented Friday, 31 Aug 2012 at 9:11am
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andrew-pitt commented Tuesday, 11 Sep 2012 at 6:16pm

looks like the slug is acting as a 'feeder bank' - slowly delivering sand ashore,in a northward direction - note the peak off the northern end of the seawall

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andrew-pitt commented Tuesday, 25 Sep 2012 at 3:42pm

Oi Derra83 - you were asking about information/results from other locations. I just presented a paper at the Australian Coast to Coast conference in Brisbane. Beach Nourishment for Surfers - looks at 6 case study sites around the world, get a pdf at www.surfingramps.com.au or,it will soon be uploaded to www.coast2coast.org.au

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thermalben commented Saturday, 20 Jul 2013 at 8:14am

An artificial reef has been approved for Shoalhaven Heads!

But.. it's for fishing.

And he's an interesting tid-bit: "The NSW artificial reef program is 100 per cent funded by licence fees paid by anglers".

Wonder how much cash surfers would be willing to chip in for a couple of sand slugs?

http://www.fishingworld.com.au/news/offshore-reef-for-nsw-south-coast