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Cyclonic Queensland surf hits its peak today, Gold Coast beaches still closed

Monday February 19, 2018 - 18:58 EDT
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Surfers Nathan Hawker (L) and Brandon Feledyk at Snapper Rocks. - ABC
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Kings Beach is one of three beaches to close on the Sunshine Coast on Monday. - ABC

Cyclonic swells have peaked along southern Queensland beaches today, with conditions this morning described as "good as you can get" for experienced surfers.

But the heavy swell coming in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Gita has also kept lifeguards busy with dozens of rescues.

A group of about 13 people were caught off-guard by a flash rip at Noosa's Main Beach this afternoon.

Nine people had to be pulled from the rough water, while a handful made it to shore unassisted.

Gold Coast chief lifeguard Warren Young said all beaches along the glitter strip would remain closed on Monday.

"It was a big swell yesterday and it will be a big swell again today," he said.

"It should start to drop into the next couple of days after today, but we'll have to close the beach as a precaution today for sure."

Yesterday, 15 Sunshine Coast beaches and all beaches on the Gold Coast were closed, but that did not stop everyone from braving the water.

On Monday morning, Sunshine Coast lifesavers closed Buddina, Kings and Marcoola beaches and warned all beaches in the region would be dangerous in the afternoon.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Jonty Hall earlier said the heavy swells would reach a peak on Monday morning.

"It is peaking this morning but will gradually start ease off through the later part of today," he said.

"On the Gold Coast all the observations we are getting is it's about the same as what we were getting yesterday.

"Get in early would be the recommendation there for experienced board riders.

"Tomorrow will be a fair bit lower but first thing this morning is about as good a condition as you can get."

Surfers Nathan Hawker, 16, and Brandon Feledyk, 14, from the southern New South Wales town of Narooma spent the weekend surfing on the Gold Coast and were back in the water at Snapper Rocks this morning.

"Yeah it's heaps of fun," Nathan said.

"Been in the water for three to four hours every day."

Yesterday, at least 50 people were rescued on beaches from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast in the dangerous conditions.

There were two mass rescues on the Sunshine Coast, where 19 people were pulled from the water in the space of about 10 minutes.

A jet ski rider is lucky to be alive after being swamped in dangerous seas and falling off his vessel off Jumpinpin Bar.

The man in his 50s was winched to safety by a rescue helicopter after being stranded for two hours.

It was a dangerous rescue, with the helicopter camera showing the men disappearing from view as they were smashed by massive waves during the emergency.

Gold Coast duty officer Scott Burgess said it was disappointing so many people ignored safety warnings to stay out of the rough seas.


© ABC 2018

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