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Cyclone Oma weakens to a sub-tropical low as it turns from Queensland coast

Sunday February 24, 2019 - 00:09 EDT

Some of surfing's biggest names are making the most of the massive waves being caused by ex-tropical cyclone Oma, but other board riders are being warned to stay out of the water.

The system, which has been downgraded from a category two to a sub-tropical low, is currently 700 kilometres east of Brisbane.

A warning remains in place from Fraser Island to the New South Wales border for damaging winds, abnormally high tides, and dangerous surf.

But that didn't stopped former world champion surfers Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson and Mark Occhilupo who all hit the waves at Kirra on the Gold Coast on Saturday morning.

Surf Life Saving Queensland's Jason Argent warned wannabes it was not worth it.



"The average punter going out to catch big waves just because Mick Fanning is out there is probably not a good excuse," he said.

"What you don't see from the photos and the media is that Mick Fanning has his own jet ski with an operator on there assisting him if he gets into trouble, whereas someone just paddling off the beach with their own board by themselves is obviously exposing themselves to a lot of risk".

All beaches on the Gold Coast were closed on Saturday due to the wild conditions, while some of the more protected beaches on the Sunshine Coast are open.



A rescue helicopter pulled a man from the surf on the Gold Coast after an incident with a jet ski.

Eight people were also pulled from the water during dawn patrols this morning.

Lifesavers said an overseas tourist was almost swept away while taking photos in ankle-deep water on a beach.



Mr Argent said the Gold Coast beaches were more affected and were "definitely a no-go".

"Conditions are really dangerous and the winds are picking up again," he said.

"On the Gold Coast the beaches are very exposed to the easterly swell and southerly winds whereas on the Sunshine Coast they have some protected pockets at places like Noosa and Mooloolaba."



"On Thursday we did 45 rescues, and yesterday 10, with four reports of missing people in the surf last night who were later located.

"We're pleading with the public to just take a little extra care and to not go out after hours as it's very dangerous."

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) senior forecaster Gabriel Brunescu said the system was staying well away from our shores.



"The impact from the system is just the winds which will continue over the next two days.

"Rainfall itself is not a big deal any more. We will struggle to see any rainfall on the south-east coast as the system moves away."

Mr Brunescu said while it was turning north there was still uncertainty about exactly where Oma would go next week.

"Later on the system is forecast to slowly recurve and potentially approaching the tropical north coast, and with all those systems up in the north there is a slight chance to reform or regain a tropical strength … but we need to monitor it closely," he said.


- ABC

© ABC 2019

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