Last Roll of the Dice For Kirra

Stu Nettle
Surfpolitik

On Monday at 3pm in the afternoon work began on the extension of Kirra groyne. Why Gold Coast City Council chose mid-afternoon on a Monday to commence work isn't clear and I'll leave the shovel-bending, council worker jokes to others.

What I do know is this: The Kirra Point Incorporated (KPI) crew have been lobbying all levels of government for the best part of a decade to restore Kirra. They've had festivals and protests, they've issued press releases and rock songs, they've had excavators on the beach and solutions a'plenty. And now they believe the most likely way to restore Kirra is by extending the groyne thirty metres seaward.

After a few false moves Gold Coast City Council struck a bargain with KPI and put $800,000 aside in the 2013/14 budget to extend the groyne to its previous length.

In 1996 thirty metres of Kirra groyne was removed by council in somewhat mysterious circumstances. Local identities Wayne Deane and Joe Nowak report driving around the corner at Kirra to see council excavators removing rocks from the groyne. No notice was given of the work and the groyne was shortened with no public consultation. Both Deane and Nowak claim to have been stymied during FOI requests while investigating the work.

The removal of the tip of Kirra groyne may not have mattered except that the Tweed River Entrance Sand Bypassing Project (TRESBP) began pumping sand in 2001. The outcome of this for Kirra is well known, but KPI is now hoping that the groyne extension will change the shape of the lower end of the Superbank. The rationale is simple: sand will build up on the Coolangatta Beach side of the groyne and erode on the Kirra side. Kirra has always been best when there is very little sand against the headland.

Working in their favour is that volumes of sand running through TRESBP have reduced since the 2004/05 peak when the operators had a surplus of sand on the Letitia Spit side to pump. That sand ended up on the beaches of Rainbow Bay, Greenmount, Coolangatta and Kirra, and has proven very hard to move.

Yet the 2012 and 2013 volume of sand running through TRESBP now mimics the natural sand flow around Point Danger (approx. 500,000 cubic/metres). There are no longer the excessive volumes of years past, meaning if beach reduction occurs - which is what KPI want to have happen at Kirra - it will take much longer for accretion to rebuild it. Not to mention a period of small, weak waves.

While nothing's certain, the details behind KPI's plan appear sound and they may just achieve their goal. What is certain, however, is that this is the last roll of the dice for KPI: They've finally wooed the government and scored $800,000 of taxpayer money, if this doesn't work the public purse will slam shut and with it the funding for further solutions.

Comments

sidthefish's picture
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sidthefish Tuesday, 30 Jul 2013 at 6:42pm

Fingers crossed. Can't see it making things any worse.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Tuesday, 30 Jul 2013 at 9:19pm

My gut feeling is that it's not going to improve the situation at all.

flop's picture
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flop Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 8:29am

I had the fortune to surf Kirra before the groyne yes i know im aold fart but still paddling ,i digress back to the point the Kirra groyne extension should noy happen and the exsisting groyne should be removed allowing Kirra to be a natural point break
When will we ever learn dont fuck with beachs because we allways stuffit up when we do Goggle Kirra point pics pre Groyne to get my point

stunet's picture
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stunet Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 8:31am

Yep, check this link for an eye-opener, Flop: http://www.tweedsandbypass.nsw.gov.au/historic_photographs/kirra_beach_f...

Shows how wide Kirra Beach is in its 'natural' state and also how much it fluctuates between seasons. It's meant to erode and accrete.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 9:14am

Stu's article from October 2009 (and especially the following commentary, some of which is mine) sheds a little more light on what remedial processes have been undertaken at Kirra over the last five years.

http://www.swellnet.com.au/news/197-an-inconvenient-truth

Craig's picture
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Craig Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 9:57am

I'm with Ben re thoughts on this not improving the situation.

Another 30m of wall won't take much time to fill in on the Cooly side with sand drifting north from Rainbow Bay and then it will just filter around the corner again and start filling in Kirra.

But.. if this extra 30m puts the groyne off towards deep enough water maybe it will just keep flowing past and establish an equilibrium re sand in to Rainbow Bay and south out down to Kirra.

Are there papers or studies available that were used in the process of allowing this extension? Some modelling even?

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 9:57am

@ thermalben, I agree with your comments on your link, extending the groin most likely wont bring back Kirra to life, but it will most likey straighten up the superbank causing more sections to close out, guess we will wait and see.

What a lot of people forget is that although KIrra was an amazing wave, it also rarely broke and when it was on, everyone was frothing so hard it was so hard to get a wave out there, the locals including pros thought they had the right to every wave and would even drop in on guys who were on perfectly makeable waves/barrels, im sure the same thing happens at the superbank, but unlike kirra that broke rarely the super bank breaks a lot more consistently.

Also in the years when Kirra was good, although snapper could get good and have a good bank it was often short and greenmount and rainbow bay were (well when i surfed there through the 90,s) very average often fat, puss or totally non existent.

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donweather Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 10:06am

Would love to her Dave's opinion on this as he's well recognised as an educated expert in this field.

dave_anning's picture
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dave_anning Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 10:24am

Craig, as far as I am aware there have been 2 studies that examined the groyne extension in detail, and there have been quite a few looking at the general area.

One, the Kirra Wave Study, was done by the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management. It was on the Kirra Point Inc. website, but it looks like they haven't been paying their web hosting fees.
It did include some modelling of the longer groyne, I think only the restoration of the 30m as they are doing.
From what I recall it didn't really suggest the extension would improve much, unless a whole raft of other things were also done.
I was also under the impression it wasn't an action that was fully supported by KPI.

The other, by Worley Parsons on behalf of TRESBP was a desktop analysis of aerial photos and expert opinion.
You can see the summary and link to the report here, but it is important to notice in the text they were considering a 60m extension:
http://www.tweedsandbypass.nsw.gov.au/topics_of_interest/kirra_point_gro...

As has been said many times before, volumes of sand and the relatively benign recent (20+ years) wave climate are also big factors.

Craig's picture
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Craig Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 10:47am

Cheers for that Dave!

Looking at the aerial photos and the locations of the offshore sand bar heading around Kirra Point down to Kirra Beach here: http://www.tweedsandbypass.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/145901...

It looks like the wave was best after the groyne was installed and before the Tweed River Entrance Sand Bypassing Project (TRESBP) was set in motion, ie from 1972-2001.

Since then Coolangatta beach has filled up and also spilt around into Kirra Beach, filling that up and also covering Kirra Reef.

So surely this is a sand management issue as well as groyne issue, and if simply lessened the supply it would work itself back to that 1972-2001 shape. This would probably mean less sand for the Superbank but I guess you can't have both?

PS that shot of 1982 (c) with a deeper bay off Kirra Beach and more of the reefs exposed is incredible and in stark contrast to today where the eastern reef is totally covered!

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 11:01am

Yeah, that's been my thoughts for quite a while Craig - the only possible way to even remotely get Kirra 'back' to its formerly engineered state (ie the period with the best waves, which is what everyone wants) is to go to a pre-TRESBP sand situation - ie no pumping - and extend the groyne.

But, we'll very likely lose the Superbank in the process. Is this worth it for an outside chance at restoring a couple of dozen mind-blowing Kirra days every year?

I don't think it is. Remember the calamity just prior to this year's Quiksilver Pro when Snapper and Greenmount were a shambles for months? As soon as the sand tap turned on everyone forgot about the extended period of crappy waves beforehand.

Craig's picture
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Craig Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 11:05am

Just a clarification, I mean sometime after 1972 (looking at the aerial shots 1975 onwards) once the sand filled around into Kirra.

Not immediately after the groyne was installed and took all the sand away down stream as is shown in the top image here: http://www.tweedsandbypass.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/145899...

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staitey Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 12:34pm

Is there anything really wrong with Kirra in Autumn this year.........http://www.surfline.com/surflinetv/featured-clips/best-of-the-goldy_99855 I know there's diehards out there who claim its still not the same but how much better does it have to be?

As for the 'Superbank' -we probably shouldn't even be referring to it anymore. This really refers to those few years post 2001 at the peak of the sand pumping which formed one sand bar from Snapper through to kirra. It took a picnic lunch to get to the water's edge at cooly and there was no distinction between Snapper, Rainbow, Greenmount and Cooly......this has been dead for quite some time now and in the past 12 months has reminded me more of the older days where all the spots were more separated. At present the sand at rainbow is epic but one big swell at that could end up at greeny, or snapper might break behind the rock again....in my opinion its nice to have that variety, spread the crowds, have different waves to surf at different times of the year

We're not dealing with reef breaks here, no matter what WE do we'll still be dealing with the cyclical effects of weather on the sand and as many others have stated the SAND PUMPING.

We can't have it all - if there was no Tweed River Wall there'd be no D'Bah.....one other question: between '74 and 2001 did Kirra Really break mechanically ALL the time? Doubt it

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wellymon Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 12:36pm

Could the intensity and proximity of past cyclones around the late 60,s and early 70's have an impact as well?...

http://www.griffith.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/322874/History-of...

stunet's picture
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stunet Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 12:40pm

"between '74 and 2001 did Kirra Really break mechanically ALL the time? Doubt it"

No, it was never better than inconsistent, a handful of days per year tops. The shape of the wave was very different to what you've got now. That's to be expected, pre- and post-sand pumping the waves break in very different places.

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sidthefish Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 12:46pm

I'm thinking the modern gen will never know.

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yoohooo Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 1:33pm

now that they're actually extending the groyne, i think it comes down to the SAND PUMPING & how much sand was flowing around the point before the pump was turned on ? I'm guessing they're going to keep on pumping the same amount of sand, and greenmount will get WIDER, and kirra beach possibly the same. Council are just trying to please both surfers and property owners. Unless the sand flow (pumping) is matched to replicate that of the 70's-90's I don't think we'll get what we all envisage ?

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 1:35pm

As somebody who didn't surf the Gold Coast during Kirra's hey-day, I've been looking for as much archive info possible over the last few years to illustrate what Kirra used to be like. Surprisingly, there's very little footage online - most of it seems to be tied up in videos and DVDs.

One interesting source though, is Brownie's Coastwatch who (as far as I am aware) produced nightly recaps on the Channel 7 news, showing what the day's waves were like.

They've made a whole bunch of 'highlight' videos available in his website: http://www.coastwatch.com.au/SurfBeach/SurfingVideo-632/

To the best of my knowledge, the Coastwatch team were on hand to film the surf pretty much whenever it was on, and were able to travel between the Gold and Sunshine Coast as it demanded. They also had the use of a helicopter (!) from time to time.

So in looking for Kirra footage, I searched immediately for cyclone swells (figuring they'd have the best chance of showing Kirra at its best).

There are only two listed cyclone swells in this collection of 'highlight' videos - Severe TC Violet ('95) and TC Beti ('96) - of which the mid-90's were considered to have been a period when Kirra was in its prime (correct me if I'm wrong).

So, the footage from Severe TC Violet is prefaced by this text: "In March 1995, the first cyclone swell of the year hit the southern Queensland beaches. It wasn’t huge and didn’t last long, but it did provide one good day at Kirra."

At the start of the footage, JC says of the cyclone swell: "...surfers who had been starved of big powerful waves for months..."

This would suggest that the entire summer months prior to March 1995 were devoid of 'big, powerful waves' - which is what I also assume would be a requirement for Kirra to break. Can we therefore deduce that Kirra didn't break much during this period?

As for the actual footage - the text above states that it was a one-day swell, and for my viewing (the Kirra footage starts around 2:10) - it looks fun but hardly epic. There are more turns than barrels, which is a reasonable benchmark for how Kirra is evaluated these days at least.

Then I looked at the footage from TC Beti. Again, the Kirra footage is somewhat underwhelming (kicks in around 1:55). JC goes on to say "The swell of cyclone Beti will probably be remembered and compared to other big cyclone swells like Dinah in '67, Pam in '74 and Cliff in '81'."

I don't have any archive data to know whether these swells were typical of this period or not, and I know that a couple of brief video selections are only a snapshot in time (even if they were deemed to be 'highlight' news stories from this period). So I'm not drawing any conclusions from them.

However, I'd love to hear from people who surfed these swells and can shed some personal stories on whether they were better or worse than what was portrayed in the videos on the Coastwatch site.

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sidthefish Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 2:14pm

Ben, you're talking about archives mainly from 2 minute surf report clips on the Friday nite news.

There were swells that broke for weeks on end. There were also Kirra Teams Challenges, Billabong Pros and Aussie Title Finals, etc .

---There are only two listed cyclone swells in this collection of 'highlight' videos - Severe TC Violet ('95) and TC Beti ('96)---

Thats a very small snapshot of a phenominal wave that would draw the who's who of eastern state surfers. They'd drive through the nite to score it, eg: Darbs & Betsy.

Additionally, many good to great swells were generated by lows, troughs, and far off systems, not just named cyclones, but in that case scroll down the page of the following link...

http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/about/eastern.shtml

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 2:21pm

C'mon Sid, if anyone knows how to access archive weather charts it's me. STC Violet and TC Beti (and the Coastwatch videos) highlights the notion that the presence of a cyclone in the Coral Sea doesn't necessarily guarantee epic waves - even during a time when Kirra was in its prime.

But you're absolutely right, and I'm not in any way suggesting that Kirra wasn't a phenomenal wave - I'm just trying to collect a range of archival evidence. One aspect of this is trying to reproduce a record of the frequency that Kirra may have broken properly.

staitey's picture
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staitey Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 2:31pm

I'm thinking along your similar lines as Ben. I don't for a second doubt Kirra was better in those days but wonder whether there's some rose coloured glasses syndrome going on with regards to how perfect and how frequent it broke.......sitting side on to those Kirra swells (on coastalwatch) earlier in the year and you can't get much more perfect / rounder waves.....maybe they were more makeable back in the 80s???

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 3:16pm

Did anyone keep a swell diary in the 80's and 90's from the southern Gold Coast? That'd be a very useful tool.

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kaiser Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 4:25pm

I went out a few times during its heyday and it was a phenomenal wave. It would throw a wide barrel in shallow water (which made it effing hard to duckdive) and it wouldn't pinch down for hundreds of metres - just mechanically staying open all the way. It was a bit quick for most but current boards may fare better. It didn't even spit much because it wasn't slowing down as it went down the point. Along the lines of indo-dreaming's comments - if you were in the barrel then you were at the mercy of whoever was on the shoulder, which with the speed of the wave was about 20-30 metres in front. If they decided to drop in then you would be smoked well before you reached where they took off as they would push the lip down just by paddling for it. It wouldn't just be a chandelier (to coin a well-used phrase) it would be a lip in the head. I reckon in this day and age it would be a procession of drop, pull in, get burned, repeat.

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dave_anning Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 4:34pm

Ben, I know when Neil Lazarow was writing up his thesis he was talking with someone who had a daily surf diary of the Kirra-Cooly region for over 40 years.
Can't remember who it was, sorry.
There is also a fair bit of stuff on the wave climate and storm swell events, dating back to at least he mid 70s, but I gather you want surf references?

Thanks Don, but I'm not an expert by any stretch. I have only surfed Kirra twice (both times since the bypass), and I'm not even an engineer let alone a coastal modeller.

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thermalben Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 4:58pm

Interesting stuff Dave. Yeah, I'm after surf data - I can generally track down wave climate and storm swell events through the usual agencies.

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p-funk Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 5:21pm

For video footage, from memory the best was on the occasional Underground Surf vid and a few of the local videos from the SE QLD / NNSW region in the 90's.

Mick Fanning in ETR had a couple of good ones, Slater had a section on it at about 2-3ft in Quiky's 110/240 vid also. Billy's Sik Joy and Green Iguana a few sections.

I liked surf vids when I was young...

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Craig Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 5:36pm

Wish there was more vision from this session.. Looks pretty solid and epic but a little sectiony...

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sidthefish Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 6:00pm

Ben, I think you missed the point of my post, that being that many of the waves ridden at Kirra weren't generated by Cyclones, so how can you pidgeon hole it into TC Violet & TC Beti ? And if you do, why only 2 cyclones on coastalwatch ? We are talking about a place that broke with the big groyne/little groyne set up for 20+ years.

The year the Aussie Title Final was held there, '85 I think, they were held in May = no cyclone.

For the record, TRay won that grand final over 3 waves, Kong only rode 1 wave in that grand final cos he'd already won overall in the other rounds.

Kong waited for the bomb, slotted deep and long, then came out fingers up in V for victory, a one wave statement. Where as TRay got barrelled wave after wave, since he had the place wired cos he grew up there before they moved to Vic, where do you think he learnt to tuberide so well ?

Kong Aussie Champ (Qld), Tray Runner Up (Vic). ?1985? and the place pumped for the next 2 weeks, in May.

Yes! epic winter waves, from winter swells. Sometimes those cyclones got all the focus cos Kirra was the only place handling the swell, but other times Kirra would be breaking magic along with all the points. On plenty of ocassions Burleigh & Currumbin would be being surfed at 6'-8', whilst Kirra would be magic at 4'-5', and then Snapper would be being surfed, again at 6'-8', all on the same day.

Sure, the sandbanks came and went, but the same rings true for every point from Crescent Head/ Saltwater etc., all the way to Agnes Water/Bustad Head. There were also years where it broke for months on end.

An interesting dynamic was how many visiting surfers, even some of the best, didn't know how to surf Kirra, they'd try to throw a cuttie or reo, get left behind and/or smashed.

I wouldn't call myself a Kirra local or legend by any stretch, but I was a Kirra Boardriders member for many years, was always "around", and surfed the place too many times to remember specifically over 15 ish years.

I could go on, but I'll shut up and leave it to you guys to speculate.

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thermalben Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 6:15pm

Nah, that's exactly the kind of info I'm after Sid.

All I've heard to date is "Kirra used to be unreal" - so I'm trying to get more info around exactly what Kirra used to be like. It's a very important part of the process in establishing the viability of spending millions of dollars to "Bring Back Kirra" - what are we trying to get back? Where are the benchmarks? What is realistic?

And as for the relationship between cyclones and swell - I've been pushing my own barrow on the exact same topic for the last decade (how overrated they are).

rees0's picture
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rees0 Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 6:25pm

Was the sweep as strong in the golden days?

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sidthefish Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 6:32pm

Fair enough Ben. Surf "diary"... I couldn't point you in any direction. Maybe Retro Surf Darryl ? Johnny C. Mike Perry was a late arrival from the States.

Reg Rileys ol' man Pat, has lots of super 8 stuff, he documented a lot. I thought Pat had passed but spoke to Snail recently and he said Pat pulled thru the Big C, which is good news.

Us old boys will just tell you it smoked, and we ripped, lol.

PS. someone mentioned Kirra Reef. It was always a blast to ocassionally paddle out wide and get a left hand bomb off the reef.

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sidthefish Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 6:48pm

Rees0, yes and no. Will elaborate more maybe tomoz.

gotta zip. :)

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mighty-mouse Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 8:35pm

Hey Sid, I'm only a blow in from down south but the thing I remember most was that sweep! Geez it was bitch. But I would notice that the locals all but never got caught in it. Us blow in's would paddle a line when the sets came that took us straight into the sweep and we would be gone down the line not to be seen for 15 - 20mins. The locals would paddle a different line and be in the perfect spot for the next set.
Ah, the art of localism is a beautiful art.

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southey Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 9:04pm

why not put in a " kirra " sand bypass ... pump it from Cooly to Nth Kirra .
And then turn up the Tweed bypass so you may get both the Super wank and Kirra on at the same time .
Bonus is that as summer approaches or a Cyclone is forecast they could stop the Kirra bypass section and let it fill in a bit before the Cyclone / s bear down ... !?
Ridiculous ?? Genious ??? .
Dollars ???

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 9:21pm

Off the top of my head (can't find the original source), the North Kirra outlet was already proposed, but was estimated to cost significantly more than the other solutions and was therefore not approved.

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indo-dreaming Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 9:33pm

A lot of times when i surfed Kirra in the 90,s it was impossible to stay in position in the take off area up the point the sweep was just like a river.

You would try to time it so you didn't get a set on the head as paddled out from behind the groyne, and then try to time it so you could get onto one before you got swept into the crowd, or paddle like crazy to try stay in position, which didn't work it just slowed you down a little, normally you would have a minute or two chance of getting a wave through that magic zone, after that you were just one of the crowd or there was others deeper who had paddled out after you.

If you were real lucky you got on one through that magic zone, and then hopefully you would make the take off and it held up and then if luck was still on your side no one would drop in on you.

And if you were really unlucky, you would end up down near Tugan without having even have gotten a wave, and do the walk back out and try it all again.

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smeeagain Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 10:06pm

Thanks Sid for putting all the speculative talk here into some perspective. One thing is for sure is that there is very little footage of truly classic Kirra when it was big.
I'm not convinced that putting the big groyne back to its previous length is the answer but with the slowing down of the sand pumping we might see some good results.

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zenagain Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 10:14pm

Being from the northern end of the Goldie, I more often than not surfed Burleigh or the Alley if on the points or Straddie and the Spit.

My memories of Kirra are pretty special though. I surfed Kirra from the late 80's through to the late 90's and even though the sweep was merciless often, sometimes it wasn't too bad. A career move took me to Sydney before the creation of the Superbank so I kind of missed the aftermath of that.

My memory of the take-off was sitting off the end of big groin when all the water was frothing and bubbling with sand and kind of taking off on the churning foamball, couple of little pumps and maybe a little cutty then full tilt down the line as humanly fast as you could go on a surfboard. I'm not the worlds greatest tube rider but some of my longest and most memorable barrels have been at Kirra.

I've had mid week, mid winter surfs at Kirra with only a handful of crew out, got heaps of waves. Had my shockers too but most of my surfs there have been well timed so stay pretty special to me.

Also, Tuesday night all you could eat pizza at Pizza-hut was fun too.

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southey Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 at 11:40pm

ben i was refering at having two bypass's . the first to stay and another shorter one from the west end of Cooly ( where there is usually too much sand ) and pipeing it past Kirra . So the super wank gets as much sand as it can handle and kirra could be adjustable to some extent .

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jimmybasil Thursday, 1 Aug 2013 at 6:54am

BM: 'C'mon Sid, if anyone knows how to access archive weather charts it's me.'

- Salut.

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staitey Thursday, 1 Aug 2013 at 9:07am

did it get much better than this?

There'll be a pretty good chance to see what Kirra is like from tomorrow onwards

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maddogmorley Thursday, 1 Aug 2013 at 10:32am

Ever see the movie Sik Joy staitey? Absolutely perfect Kirra. As good as your clip above but the tubes were longer....

Pretty sure in that movie was footage of Beschen and his 3 perfect 10's.

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pigdogger Thursday, 1 Aug 2013 at 11:49am

thermalben/sidthefish I have a vague memory that Marty Tullemans might have kept a swell diary -at least during the late 70s and through the 80s - but it's a vague memory that might be wrong

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sidthefish Thursday, 1 Aug 2013 at 12:41pm

Hey Piggy, If it's Marty's diary, it would be very vague indeed, lmfao, bless his socks n sandals . (Calling applicants of inter-planetary life.)

Nah, seriously, I dig Marty, modern surfing world could probably do with a few more Martys these days, would help us to lighten up a little and stop taking things so seriously.

Ben, contact Bushy Mitchell, he wouldn't have such Data himself, but if anyone does, he'd probably know who.

Stu, if you've got time to dig up the Bring Back Kirra thread, PM it to me, I'll c&p some comments made on that thread re: break, sweep etc., and perhaps expand on them.

Kirra, proper Kirra, may well be relegated to surfing mythology, but it's always fun to jump in the Tadis.

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stranger Thursday, 1 Aug 2013 at 6:29pm

I reckon the clubbies might also have a few pics / movies in the vault, packed away with the gymp costume.

rees0's picture
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rees0 Thursday, 1 Aug 2013 at 6:54pm

Bushy Mitchell great bloke. Met him on a job site of all places spent more time talking about waves then working when he was around haha. Didn't realise who he was till I read somewhere about the hall of fame thing. Surfing is funny like that.

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yorkessurfer Thursday, 1 Aug 2013 at 6:58pm

I've got same classic home video footage of Kirra from the mid 90's including cyclones Beti and Violet, as well a lot of the smaller swells that came off east coast lows around that time.
Beti pumped for weeks and was perfect shape whereas Violet was shortlived but got seriously big, like 8 to 10ft!
I really need to digitise some of it before the tapes get too worn out.

You see some great tubes ridden at Kirra and the Superbank still, but Kirra back then was just wave after wave, every single one was a mindblowing tube!

Cyclone Fever by the late American transplant Chris Bystrom was pretty bullshit. Apart from his drawling narration that showcases some of the most perfect Kirra you will ever see!!

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smeeagain Friday, 2 Aug 2013 at 6:48am

Staitey, Thats the stuff. Interesting that the title for the clip was 'Best kirra barrel'. Not even close!

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sidthefish Friday, 2 Aug 2013 at 8:06am

Smee, Straity. That was a great barrel(s), but agree Smee, not even close.

For the record, Shane Beschen's perfect 10's were an insult to Kirra, and probably to the concept of perfect 10's. The judges should have had more brains, and at least half a grasp on the venue. The waves were only 4 foot. Anyhow, moving on...

It seems there is this void of what Kirra was, or wasn't in its prime. Mainly due to lack of celluoid documentation, still or motion.

And so you may ask why ? How could the legend need to be questioned for lack of evidence ?

Ok, for starters, from the water, the answer has already been given here many times. It was the sweep, ever present to some degree, from comfortable, to inconquerable.

A water photog, had 2 options, 1/ swim around from Cooly or 2/ jump off Big Groyne. At which point, they were gone, G-A-W-N, especially if the rip was roaring, and gawn faster than a surfer who could paddle to hold ground. So their window was really short, basically they just jumped into a river and hoped to snap off a few as they sailed down the line, maybe get lucky.

Additonally, in the era, there weren't a lot of water photogs around, the equipment was expensive to lose and cumbersome to carry. Guys like Wilba, Snags, Marty T., McCoy etc. had the odd crack, but generally it wasn't worth the hassle. Ya' know jumping off Big Groyne in flippers was no easy feat, they'd be 400m down the line in a blink, and if the beach was chewed out, maybe had to float to Nth Kirra, or scramble up the rocks, before or after they encountered Little Groyne.

So that left land based. Ideally, land photogs need to shoot front on or slightly into the barrel. Perched on Little groyne was ideal geographically, but it could also be a long way from the action, except the tail end.

Another option was to hang inside, say Pizza hut to the shed, but then you missed the action outside, butterbox to Big Groyne. Ok, so shoot from the old point, into Big Groyne, but then you missed the action down the line.

Remembering the wave was very intimate to spectators, more often than not only 30-40-50 metres in front of the footpath, so from any position the span was tight.

Other than those factors, buggered if I know. Guess it all adds mystery to the legend.

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hambone Friday, 2 Aug 2013 at 11:29am

I think instead of looking at the frequency of epic days - which are few and far between at every break (as much as we would like to pretend otherwise) - I think we should be looking at the average Kirra days - when it broke but not in a memorable quality - and how much amenity they provided local surfers.
Was it fun? How did it break? Was there small days where fun peeling tubes could be nabbed by groms and men alike? Did it add to the amenity of the area as a surfing break?
Because if it really is a choice between Snapper, in its modern incarnation - that is, with a longer more rippable bank than originally - versus the Kirra of old - which break really offers the better everyday conditions?
It might help to ask even some of the Coolie kids who came of age in the transition eg Dingo Morrison, Neal Purchase Jnr, etc as well as some of the older guys who were peers of the late 70s and 80s competitive pioneers emerging grom Coolie.
People need to forget their mind's tendency to remember only the perfect days and the best rides, and ask: What was Kirra like on a day to day basis versus the Superbank now? And is it possible to have both?

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sidthefish Friday, 2 Aug 2013 at 1:44pm

For sure Hambone, that's all part of the discussion.

It wasn't an either / or situation. There was still Snapper with proper Kirra and each break in between. From what I see from afar, youtube etc. Much of the best barrels now are getting ridden in the Kirra zone anyhow.

FWIW, as much as it pains me as a bloke who's never had backhand barrel in his life (is very proud of this under achievement, and has no intention of having one at this stage in the game, so ner.!!), in my ye olde' eyes, Neal Purchase Jnr and China O'Connor were the BEST Kirra tuberiders of all time, across all the ages, both goofys.

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staitey Friday, 2 Aug 2013 at 8:32pm

Sidthefish.........my point exactly, yes many of the best barrels on decent swells (especially this year) have still been down at Kirra. That's why I don't think there's that much wrong with it. If there is though, can't wait to see it when its all 'fixed up'.

Can only imagine what it must've been like. No matter how perfect though its would be and IS a tricky beast. V. shallow, heavy takeoff, massive sweep (hence limited opportunity to be in 'the take off zone'), crowds, closeouts, etc - you have to be either very lucky or very skilled to get a good one out there. Probably why people don't mind snapper / rainbow being good as those waves are so user friendly.

Fanning, Parko and Co. were only 20 y.o. when the sand pumping begun in 2001, so would've been a fair bit younger when Kirra was at its prime in the 90's. You would think the most reliable feedback about what Kirra was really like would be from the older crew 40+??

I remember some footage of Shaun Thompson in recent years (post sand pumping) saying to Bugs that he barely recognised Snapper as to how good it was now, reckons it used to be a fairly poor in comparison

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laz Friday, 2 Aug 2013 at 11:10pm

The beach in front of KSLSC will erode much faster than the sand building up on the Cooly side. So before the SLSvrs call in the cavalry and the local surfing community is once again pilloried - this time for putting emergency services in harms way, a commitment needs to be made to regularly use the Kirra outlet. Are any of the $$ to extend the groyne being made available to the TRESBP operations? b/c it costs more to pump further we are not likely to see the operator do this out of the goodness of their heart. Also, the infrastructure to the outlet is not as robust as the main outlet as it was never intended for regular use. So that means a further infrastructure cost if we are to get the best out of the system. So you're wrong Stu - plenty of dice rolling for more $$ possible.

Further, within the decade, my bet is that GCCC will invest significantly in offshore submerged reefs as control structures and also link up the bypassing systems all the upto Burleigh (or come close to it). More dice rolling yet - hopefully with a surfing outcome.

But what the hell do I know.....

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thermalben Saturday, 3 Aug 2013 at 6:39am

Laz, I think you're mixing issues. The premise of Stu's article - 'last roll of the dice to Bring Kirra Back' - is true.

Add this most recent $800K on top of the $1.5m they spent a few years back (with nothing to show for it, really), and if the groyne extension doesn't 'Bring Kirra Back' - which it won't in my opinion, unless they completely shut off the sand pumping - then it's unlikely anyone could argue a case for spending any more money on this project.

Extending the Kirra outlet to the north was prohibitively expensive, and certainly won't happen now. It was always seen as the best option but there's no way they'd commit to it having taken up all of the cheaper options and seen no results.

As for the idea of 'offshore submerged reefs as control structures' - which is unreal - that's a completely separate project and won't have much of a bearing on 'Bringing Kirra Back'.

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laz Saturday, 3 Aug 2013 at 8:09am

Hi Ben, I reckon I'm spot on actually. First, the cost to extend the outlet to Nth Kirra or even further is a fraction of the value of surfing (discounting other beach related activities) to the southern GC; and heaps less than GCCC spends on other sport and rec initiatives such as fixing up pools, mountain bike trails and soccer fields. Second, the Kirra solution can't be seen in isolation, and needs to be looked at as part of the the bigger system. This concept is important both from a recreational amenity perspective and how the beaches are managed (or aim to be managed) for this highly modified system. Think about the way that the sand slug at North Kirra behaved from 2004-2009, and it becomes pretty clear how interconnected the system is - and that for the longer term, a Kirra solution needs to sit comfortably with what is going on up and downstream. This holds true even for such a heavily modified system. This is where the offshore reefs will come in.

There is a very real issue of competing knowledge here, and a refusal by those that own and are responsible for managing the system, to rethink the way the system can optimally operate. In this regard, I think the local surfing community continue to be sold a dud, and will continue to have a good case for ongoing recourse.

For Stu to suggest that this is the last roll of the dice is therefore short of the mark; and for you to argue that the issues are unrelated is simply not accurate.

Lastly, and on this we (incl Stu) agree... Bringing Back Kirra to what standard is a moot issue. More on another time.

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thermalben Saturday, 3 Aug 2013 at 8:17am

So, if extending the groyne fails to 'Bring Back Kirra', can you see the council or the government committing to spending additional millions (and millions) of dollars to solve the problem?

I can't.

BTW, I'm not disagreeing with your points. I just think that it'd be very difficult for the council/government to justify to non-surfing ratepayers why more money should be spent on this project. Especially when Kirra continue to deliver very good - albeit "not as mindblowing as the 80's and 90's" waves without any remedial work at all.

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sidthefish Saturday, 3 Aug 2013 at 12:09pm

Definitely too much sand to turn back time. If a groyne extension gives an extended corner for the bank to rap around, that should be an improvement wave wise.

Damn pity breakwalls can't be built every few K's all the way to Tugun, or even artificial reefs seaward to disrupt & defract the swells into peaks Wurtulla style.

For those wondering if Kirra proper was everything it was cracked up to be, in my biased eyes, I will say beyond your wildest dreams. There were things that rolled down that point, they weren't waves they were things, that would leave your head spinning and you saying "how was that thing". 3 foot double'ee up things that would grow as they rolled down the line to become 6 foot barrels wider than they were high.

In hindsight, wave height was probably the incorrect metric for Kirra waves. Definitely there are heaps bigger barrells in the world, but for width and length on sand, Kirra's only equal would be Burleigh, there may be another one or two, but we'll leave them in the shade.

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sidthefish Saturday, 3 Aug 2013 at 2:15pm

this one was a bewdy, swell out of the north, more blue water and less sweep...

http://www.australiasevereweather.com/tropical_cyclones/1991_1992/bom/tr...

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andrew-pitt Saturday, 3 Aug 2013 at 5:11pm

While it is interesting to pontificate on the merits of the 30m groyne extension pushing the take off point further seaward and extending the length of ride... there is a precedent here that should be celebrated loudly and widely.

This is the first time on the east coast of Australia that public money ($800,000) has been put up, at the request of local surfers, to pro-actively try to improve surfing conditions. Well done KPI and crew - we all hope you get the outcome you are looking for (during modal and ideal conditions). You have my respect.

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indo-dreaming Saturday, 3 Aug 2013 at 5:13pm

What i really loved about Kirra that is different to other similar hollow style down the line waves, like most waves in Indo and reef slabs in Oz is there was no reef factor at Kirra the wave may have looked meaty and doubling up below sea level for 100 yards, but you would have a go on waves out there that you would be shitting yourself on if was shallow reef, because the worse that would happen is you would go over the falls and hit sand, coming from Vicco i really dug that and being in warm water makes getting worked kinda fun, I remember coming back to Vicco and I looked at a few dry reef barrels totally different, so much more risk for reward especially in the middle of winter with cold cold water.

PS. I really loved the footage i think from Blazing boards or freeze frame or one of that guys movies, when i think of kirra i still think of those vids.

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jn4220 Sunday, 4 Aug 2013 at 11:10am

Cool to see so much comment, notably by the likes of Andrew Pitt & Dave Anning...(& would luv to see the Cosmic Pygmies 70-80's wave diary too) - but candidly the rest of us are just guessing & hoping, confident that its the right move (on its own, without other ongoing interactive measures or monitoring). Rest assured that if not, that the next $800K will be very hard to source especially off local Gov't! True too that those who take off 'deepest & steepest' are the true benefactors, & the only ones who will enjoy the lions-share of Kirras tubes when it does break.

Need to know: Here's a reality check...all tribute to those who lobbied this issue for years, but this is simply about the politics of power & priority aka "timing!". Truth is that the Mayor bullied this budget item through. No single measure of evidence provided by experts closed this deal (notably much of what Cr's were shown was contradictory & options-opinions were diametrically opposed...& no final solution was fully guaranteed). With the GC Surf Industry Taskforce's economic impact doc @$3.3Billion per annum in hand, I met with all Mayoral aspirants before election & with Tom Tate immediately after. Tom simply asked the Q: "what is the single most important issue that GC Surfers want sorted?" A: "I literally rang Rabbit whilst I was still sitting there with TT" & Bugs said "put the Kirra Groin back". As a very clever politician & businessman, the Mayor took this advice as Gidgets Gospel & obviously counted on this move to buy Cred' amongst the massive surfing community of voters & support from surfers when he proposed his Cruise Ship Terminal plans...(nb: which incidentally NEVER included Nth Kirra, his location was ONLY-ever the Seaway!).
Of additional value was the Global Surf Cities Conference held atop Kirra Hill, earlier this year whereby we hosted over 20 Surf Cities & nearly as many PhD's & Doctors presenting research proving Surfings value Globally @$130Billion pa (Thx Professor Ian Eddie @SCU & Dr Danny O'Brien @Bond) & presenting 'Sustainable Surf Tourism' seminars whilst directly overlooking the defunct "mini-groin with no waves". Andrew Pitts' successful work @Cronulla with his Sea-Slug concept was a real & tangible highlight. The onlooking Politicians were very very encouraged that another Council were actually getting results as did other attending Mayors inclu' Manly NSW & Sunshine Coast. FYI the only GCCr's to show real interest & attend were Betts (who never missed a minute), Robbins & Grew. Plus the Mayor who met with them all. Ditto Local Member Jann Stuckey MP also. Suffice to say "Kirra was on every bodies lips!"

Again my compliments to those iconic Surfers who truly cared, but I can promise you that those in office never ever gave this as much thought or passion as you did (with the exception of Cr Robbins). This Victory was about good TIMING & PR. Regional Councils would usually never speculate by spending nearly a million$'s on 30metres of rocks.
All round this is a great example for Surfers not to be afraid to have a Go! My credit goes to Bugs & Deaney for focus.
John Nielsen, Chairman GC Surf Industry Taskforce.

PS: I also know who 'owned & drove the dozers' to remove the 30metres off Kirra - the same guy who built the Southport Seaway - no doubt he could tell us who approved & initiated this costly fiasco in the 1st place!

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laz Monday, 5 Aug 2013 at 8:13am

Hi Andy, The TRESBP project, which is publicly funded consistently liaised with the surfing community about where, when and in what quantum sand should be placed. Sure many times the surfing cty was ignored, but on many occasions their advice was heeded. Dbah is a good example of this.

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rude_beef Monday, 5 Aug 2013 at 9:41am

I'm crossing fingers and toes that this will come off and we can get a taste of the legend. I was just too young to surf pre sand pumping. But there really isn't that much sand there now, so I cant see how it will dramatically improve. During ex cyclone oswald the grass in front of the kirra slsc was getting lapped, though there was still alot of sand out further. During summer 2012/13 you could walk around the point (just north of big groin) on a high tide as there was no beach.

Kinda seemed like we needed a month of 3 ft northerlies to push the outer bank in towards shore, not sure if an extension to the rockwall can help with that.

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thermalben Monday, 5 Aug 2013 at 10:09am

A month of 3ft northerlies won't push the outer bank into shore.

In fact a month of small northerly wind waves will probably gouge out a bunch of holes along the Superbank, which will then bring about a renewed campaign to crank up the sand pumping machine at D'Bah and Snapper.

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redsands Monday, 5 Aug 2013 at 11:26am

Chris Bystrom surfing videos from the 1980's show epic Kirra in full flight.

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stunet Monday, 5 Aug 2013 at 11:38am

G'Day Laz,

I think we may be speaking at cross purposes. I don't think this is the last option that would work, I argue that it is the last option the public would readily pay for. It took a while to get money for the latest works (and good on the crew for pulling it off), but if the groyne extension fails I can't see govt. easily stumping up coin again.

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mothart Tuesday, 6 Aug 2013 at 9:50pm

Sorry to rewind a bit, but YS, you still got that footage? My copy was last seen in your hands, and you said it got chewed..?!. Would love to have a copy again, haven't seen that shit for ages(15 years?).

Sid- the best guys I saw were also NPJ and china, guess I was lucky to see em in action as I only spent a limited time on the coast.
NPJ so smooth with long long barrels,
& china doing that pigdog foot brake, holding himself inthere for ages, coming out switching feet and getting a pit just as long natural... Mind blowing stuff.

The waves I saw at kirra where the best I've seen, and I just hope the extention works, to bring back old kirra, it was one of the great wonders of the surfing world.

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yorkessurfer Wednesday, 7 Aug 2013 at 8:37am

G'day moth yeah I found the master tape in a box that had'nt been played in years so is'nt too thrashed and plays well! I am planning to get the whole lot digitised and will get a copy to you. Don't remember chewing your copy but they were hazy days, I might have been hungry? That trip we did across Australia in your Corolla wagon with the ying yang dolphin/shark symbol on the bonnet in '96 was nuts!
Honourable mentions to Bruce Lee, Wayne Dean, Jason Gale, China, NPG. Those guys ruled it!

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staitey Wednesday, 7 Aug 2013 at 2:07pm

After seeing this http://www.coastalwatch.com/news/article.aspx?articleId=11992&cateId=3&t... from a couple of days ago I'm still scratching to see what's wrong with the place

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yorkessurfer Wednesday, 7 Aug 2013 at 3:27pm

There's absolutely nothing wrong with Kirra in that clip staitey it's just that old Kirra had 4 sections like that down the point, with each slightly different to the other.
Near Big Groin was larger, grindier and sandier. Like the wave and lip were full of sand and looked brownish coloured. The shed was shallow fast and greener clearer water with, occasional lips that could be up to one metre thick. The maddest barrels ever seen were made here.
Pizza Hut was less heavy but perfect, a lot like that footage from last week.
Then little groin the wave seemed to grow in size again and get real quick and hard to make, but if you made one it could be the best wave of your
life!
On a lucky wave two or more of the sections could join up and 20 second barrels were possible.
You really had to see it to believe it. That's why I went up there for every cyclone season from '93 to '99.

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mothart Thursday, 8 Aug 2013 at 8:21am

Yeah mate, that was a good year, that bank so mechanical all the way down the point, you could get 1ft travelers, and then when it got some size, it got heavy in places.

And the red rocket was sick, gotta love your first car.

I remember riding around the point one day the next year and they where pulling apart the point and feeling a massive disturbance in the force.
I will probably not surf kirra again, but it would be good to know it's there, back to it's best, whether that is its natural or un-natural state.

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dave_anning Thursday, 8 Aug 2013 at 4:28pm

"G'Day Laz,

I think we may be speaking at cross purposes. I don't think this is the last option that would work, I argue that it is the last option the public would readily pay for. It took a while to get money for the latest works (and good on the crew for pulling it off), but if the groyne extension fails I can't see govt. easily stumping up coin again."

Why not?

800k is big biccies to most surfers, but consider it in context. i.e.
a council budget of $1.1 billion p.a.
estimates of the value of resident beach recreation and surfing in the hundreds of millions per year.
Expenditure related to GC tourism of around $4.6+ billion per year

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thermalben Thursday, 8 Aug 2013 at 5:22pm

Dave, by my calcs they would have spent at least $2.3 million once the groyne is extended ($800K on current project, $1.5 million on the previous 3-stage work).

Personally, I don't think there'll be any major visible change at Kirra at the end of the groyne extension - the existing work has done very little and I can't see the 30m of extra rock doing much either.

So, are you saying that after five years and two and half million dollars - if there's no discernible improvement at Kirra - that the government and/or council will continue to throw funds at it until they somehow get it to happen?

I find that very hard to believe.

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dingostick Thursday, 8 Aug 2013 at 8:46pm

What a waste of public money!! I'm with thermalbenjamin, won't make a difference.

The point was already starting to come back with the sand slug finally heading further nth. Another classic gold coast example of trying to engineer a solution to an environmental 'problem'.

Once the groin is extended, Cooly beach, Greenmount and rainbow will start to fill up with even more sand than now with acres of sand smothering the points.

I think i'll hit up Tommy Waterhouse for a wager that 5 or so years time certain circles of the surfing community will be crying out for more $$$ for a 'solution' to bring back snapper & greenmount.

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dave_anning Thursday, 8 Aug 2013 at 9:31pm

Dunno, Ben.

I wasn't necessarily talking about works at Kirra, but works 'for' surfing amenity. But sticking with Kirra for the point of the argument....

I can't see it working as intended either, but as much as I would like to believe it I also don't think the groyne works are being done now because the scientists and engineers had finally convinced the Council that it was the best solution. (In fact a fair few said otherwise.)

Decisions get made for a whole lot of reasons, and I don't mean that as a criticism. Could be just that the weight of public opinion was behind these works. That weight may mobilise again.

Also, to be picky, the previous $1.5m was State Govt money, not all of which went to works. And whilst I think it was a good project for a number of reasons, not all related to surfing, it only moved as much sand as a moderate storm.
Maybe we should revisit this discussion in April?

There's another election coming up, who knows what could happen.

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thermalben Thursday, 8 Aug 2013 at 10:03pm

But Dave, this whole project is about "Bringing Back Kirra".

Don't get me wrong - I can see where you're coming from. But to the average punter in the street, the whole objective is to get Kirra looking as close to what it did in the 90's as possible.

That's the yardstick - hence the three word slogan.

BTW - what part of the State Govt's $1.5 million wasn't related to surfing?

http://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/coastal/regional-studies/kirra_beach_restorati...

Re: revisiting this in April - well, that's a pretty interesting point. Why are they extending the groyne in winter, five months or so before the swell season kicks into gear? I would have thought it'd have been more prudent to undertake the groyne extension later in the year to minimise sand accretion through the seasonally low swell months.

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dave_anning Thursday, 8 Aug 2013 at 10:27pm

If the extension was done due to broader community support as suggested, then I'd be willing to bet that once the rocks are back most punters will probably consider the job done.

"BTW - what part of the State Govt's $1.5 million wasn't related to surfing?"
Crossed wires. I meant some of the reasons I liked the project aren't related to surfing. e.g. getting people used to seeing dunes again, reveg work etc.
Though the way Stage 2 was done tells you that coastal protection remained a key concern, otherwise they would've just removed the sand and trucked it all to Palmy.

As per timing, presumably because this is the time of year with the most dominance of S in the swell, so Kirra is protected.
Also, lower swell means lower sand supply. A quick eyeball of the volumes pumped by TRESBP per month for the last few years (when sand was only supplied by wave action) would suggest that longshore transport is greater in the first half of the year.

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thermalben Friday, 9 Aug 2013 at 7:52am

Dave, I'm a little confused as to what the actual goals/KPIs were for the Kirra Beach restoration. Wasn't the whole idea of the project centered around 'Bringing back Kirra' - ie getting it back to a physical state as close to what was seen in the mid 90's?

If that's not achieved with the groyne extension, then would they deem the project a success or not? Otherwise, what is the point?

Re: timing - I agree, this time of the year sees the smallest volumes via TRESBP. However (and this is not my area of expertise), wouldn't low swell months also experience the highest natural accretion of sand - particularly during the spring months when predominant northerlies are in force? That was what I was getting at - why not extend the groyne just prior to the start of the swell season?

Anyway, waiting until April means we've got another nine months until we can assess the worth of the $800K project at Kirra. By then we'll have been through another summer cycle of sand pumping to keep the Superbank working properly, so I can't see there being any change to the wave regime whatsoever.

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dave_anning Friday, 9 Aug 2013 at 9:25am

You're not alone in being confused. I haven't seen the objectives clearly spelt out anywhere.

In the simplest terms, the main part of the project was to shift sand from the lower beach to the back beach and build dunes.
This means there is still sand for protection, you no longer need a camel to get to the water, and the alignment of the beach is more conducive to good surf, but it didn't promise to improve the surf. I think this was misinterpreted by many observers. It's a key challenge for any projects attempting to include surf amenity as a KPI. Multi-purpose reefs being a prime example. Laz has much more experience in this area, as does Andy Pitt.

The community response to Stages 1 and 2 was fairly mixed, probably at least in part because they didn't know what it was trying to do, so it was assessed against what people thought it should have done.
http://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/coastal/regional-studies/pdf/kirra-beach-consu...

FWIW, I also think they could've done the project later. Timing of coastal works is influenced by a range of factors, check out John N's post above for some insight.

By waiting till April I was talking about having another storm season, which I am hoping/thinking will be an active one, I think that will have much more impact than a few extra rocks.

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thermalben Friday, 9 Aug 2013 at 10:31am

And therein lies the crux of the problem Dave.

You and I work within closely related fields (to the Kirra project) and have greater access to relevant information - or at least knowledge of this information - than most people.

So if we don't know what's going on, how will the general surf community?

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sidthefish Friday, 9 Aug 2013 at 10:49am

Let 'em extend the groyne, give the bank a chance to wrap around the extended corner. Do it now, so when the sand does come thru, it can do just that.

Can't be any worse than what it is. Rainbow and Greenmount are buried in sand regardless. Nothing at Kirra will affect the Snapper/Marley run.

Dunno why the groyne was shortened in the first place.

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thermalben Friday, 9 Aug 2013 at 11:16am

Thing is Sid, I don't think 30m is enough of an extension to make a difference.

Here's a crude mock estimated from our surfcam. It's not bang on 30m but would be within the ball park. The wave breaking there is 2-3ft and on this day (off the top of my head) I don't think there was much of a crowd in the water. Once it starts to get a bigger, it breaks out a little further (10-20m?).

http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q10/sasurfa1/Kirra.jpg

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dave_anning Friday, 9 Aug 2013 at 11:36am

"So if we don't know what's going on, how will the general surf community?"

Hopefully Stu will write an article and tell us...

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wellymon Friday, 9 Aug 2013 at 11:42am

I reckon your bang on Ben.

My honest opinion altho people will probably disagree , We need another cyclone Wanda or similar to strip the sand out.

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sidthefish Friday, 9 Aug 2013 at 11:47am

30m more is better than no extra. All that mock up has done has extended the groyne into the same bank. It won't work that way exactly. Sandbanks will wrap around any extrusion and form their own current inside.

Looks to me like Kirra is trying to return to its old form anyway, rocks on the old point now exposing. Might just need a little help.

Some strange logic being employed around here, especially for people who are s'pose to be surfers, same for the judgement calls from people who were never there.

At the end of the day, all sand points, any sand points, Burleigh, Kirra, Snapper, Caba, Byron, Broken, Noosa, the lot, are simply sand wrapping around an extrusion, natural or man made.

The Kirra sub-structure has nothing to prove. Lack of sand was the only occasional problem. Now it's too much sand, so maybe some equiliberium can be achieved. Can't see any detrimental side effect for re-extending big groyne as the Kirra corner.

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sidthefish Friday, 9 Aug 2013 at 11:57am

Alternatively, let's reverse the process.

Let's propose to clip 30m off the nose of the east coast points. What effect do you think this would have on these breaks ?

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thermalben Friday, 9 Aug 2013 at 12:37pm

That's not the point Sid. The only way to 'Bring Back Kirra' - in my opinion - is to stop the sand pumping. The groyne extension won't do much I reckon.

Another problem with Kirra is (I believe) this: the sand just won't shift as easily as what everyone assumes it will (during large wave events). As we all know, after a more than a decade of sand pumping, there is simply too much sand accumulation inside the bay and on the beach. But we've had several large swell events on the Gold Coast during this time and they've never really had much impact on reducing the volume of sand.

Perhaps it's a byproduct of the sand pumping process (or perhaps this is just my imagination?), but every time I've hit the bottom at the Superbank it's been hardpacked like concrete - it seems to be different in composition to what most Gold Coast beaches are naturally like. Maybe this one of the reasons we don't see much of a change in the beach/sand volume after a big wave event?

In any case I am skeptical that one, or two, or even a dozen cyclone swells will be able to make much of a dent in the sand accumulation out in the bay, let alone scour away millions of cubic metres of sand from Kirra Beach, as is required to 'Bring Back Kirra'.

And that's if you're willing to play the statistical waiting game for a large cyclone swell on the Goldy anyway...

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sidthefish Friday, 9 Aug 2013 at 12:54pm

Extending the groyne will help, not hurt. Sure the sand will keep coming, this will give it more of a point to run down.

With modern sand volumes, no, you'll never Bring Back Kirra, that's a Tony Abbott campaign policy.

I reckon the groyne re-build will deliver something between now and then . Which is better than now .

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thermalben Friday, 9 Aug 2013 at 1:07pm

Absolutely Sid - Bringing Back Kirra (as per the media publicity over the last four years) is very difficult to achieve.

As for the groyne - I disagree that the 30m of extra groyne will make a noticeable difference - even the GCCM's 'Kirra Wave Study' prepared in 2007 said the groyne extension alone wouldn't make much difference:

"The extension of Kirra Point Groyne to its pre-1996 length (+30M) will have little effect on surf quality in the short to medium term if the sand bypass and dredging operations continue as they currently are. In the event of the bypass system being turned off, the impact of a groyne extension would be more beneficial."

So, is it worth spending eight hundred grand on something that even the commissioned study said wouldn't achieve anything?

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sidthefish Friday, 9 Aug 2013 at 1:27pm

Fuck 'em, let them them spend the bucks, if the models suggest no material difference, I ask the same wankers why was it shortened in the first place ? Bet the same genii never expected a venue suitable for camels either .

Methinks it will be better. Considerably better, not old Kirra, but an improvement on straight handers and close outs .

Chopping 30m off any east coast sand point would have negative effect on the break. I reckon they wrecked southern goldy, D'bah included.

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rees0 Sunday, 11 Aug 2013 at 9:09pm

Going back to Craig's aerial photos is there any credible accounts of what kirra broke like prior to the groins been installed? If they were installed in 72 how many years had surfing been around on the Gold Coast prior to that?

Who was the first person to surf kirra and when?

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wellymon Monday, 12 Aug 2013 at 8:57am

ressO, I met an older bloke at the pub a few months ago, got talking about surfing but his back plays up etc.
He said him and 3 other blokes used to surf snapper to kirra in the 60's, they would take turns , one would drive and pick the other 3 up down at kirra and reverse the situation, for years they did this. they ended up getting bored?..... so they travelled north and found Noosa points for a change.
I can't remember the guys name, really nice fella tho and was and still is best friends with the guy who developed Hot Tuna.

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wellymon Monday, 12 Aug 2013 at 9:36am

I don't know if anyone has seen a x3 framed picture of Rainbow to Greenmount, put together in a sequence.
A good shaper /surfer friend of mine, has this on his wall in Perth. I think the photos are from the hill in-between Greenmount and Rainbow, it's looking down and there are panda-ma's ? In the way.
The surf is unbelievable easy 8ft plus and the longest unsectionable walls, Ive ever seen.
I wouldn't know when the photos were taken, there are 2 guys surfing, each on separate waves and you can't see anyone else in the water.
Ive lived up here for 10 years and watching snapper thru to greenmount, when it is 6ft plus it just dribbles way out the back, nothing like this old sequence of photos. But saying that when the swell is solid and clean Kirra breaks pretty amazing but along out compared to the old days.
Ben is right there is so much sand on Kirra beach, it will take a miracle for all the sand to be stripped out let alone 30 m of rock wall.

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Craig Thursday, 5 Sep 2013 at 8:57am

Right now the sand north of Kirra Groyne is sitting as an offshore bar with a big hole running right in along the point inshore:
Looks like a bit of a mess, while in stark contrast the bank from Snapper down to Cooly looks ruler sharp.

These two sections of coast are constantly changing and as one section turns on the other stops. I think Ben stated that the improvement of Kirra will be to the detriment of Snapper and vice versa. IMHO I'd rather have the bank from Snapper to Cooly working and handling more of the crowds than one section of epic Kirra with dangerous dropins etc.

Also that outer bank in the screenshot above has to be getting close to moving over the Kirra reef doesn't it?

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tonebone Thursday, 5 Sep 2013 at 2:09pm

Drove past Kirra a couple of times today, saw a big flat top semi with three massive rocks on it, so I guess its all go. Your right about the bank at kirra Craig, it does look a mess, very straight, a few guys out but didnt see anyone get a rideable wave. To tell the truth the bank looked about as bad as it gets. But inside that gutter there's a nice build up of sand along the point proper, probably be good on a super high tide at 1'!!

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stunet Thursday, 5 Sep 2013 at 2:32pm

Yeah, they can do all the site preparation work, even have the boulders lined up ready to go. Just can't lob them off the end till the DA gets approved.

Not sure what they'll do with them if it doesn't.