Australia has been under the influence of a powerful east coast low for the past few days bringing flooding, howling winds and huge swell up and down the NSW coast. Homes have been evacuated, emergency services are on constant alert and three people are confirmed dead after the barrage of extreme weather.
Magicseaweed head forecaster Ben Freeston breaks down the low: "The east coast low is a seasonal extra-tropical phenomena that isn't unusual during the Australian winter. However the rapid development and fetch of this particular storm not only set rainfall records, but pushed up a forecast swell that hits numbers only seen twice before in our 35 year archive. A forecast of 23ft at a low 13 seconds period in Sydney probably gives more than a hint at the chaotic local conditions: the swell peaked with gale force onshore winds. However the storms rapid progress to the south made for a quick wind switch with significant swell remaining as strong offshores took over and delivered XXL surfing conditions to many spots."
Whilst Sydney suffered destruction, Cape Fear ran at the famed slab and the Sunshine Coast hosted huge and perfectly groomed barrels. The storm has brought varying fortunes to many and below we've compiled all the happenings from the past few days:
Above is big and burly, sure, but yesterday Cape Fear ran and justified it's namesake to no end before the event was eventually called off as it became too big.
“I think everyone in the event would agree this is the biggest the Cape has ever been surfed,” said competitor Blake Thornton. “I was really nervous before the event started, then once I got out on the back on the jet ski I was pumped up and ready to go. I didn’t want to wait too long before I got my first wave because I knew the nerves would build again, and thankfully managed to get a good one early. Even though I got absolutely smashed at the end of the battle it’s going to be a surf I remember for a long time, with one great wave and one of the worst wipeouts I’ve ever had.”
Meanwhile, on the Gold Coast there's always one...
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