Parko: Superbank needs sand


Snapper really needs the sand to be magic.

The solid 8-foot Christmas swell that hit Australia's Gold Coast was a welcome relief for wave-starved surfers suffering from tiny Southern Hemisphere summer conditions. Snapper Rocks, Kirra, and Burleigh pumped for the first time in months.

But while surfers reveled in the conditions, organizers for the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro watched helplessly as the contest bank at Snapper Rocks was eroded by the strong easterly swell. This left a deep hole in the sandbank, which they had hoped would fill in naturally but needs a southeast swell pattern to make the sand drift.

The contests kick off Feb. 25 and the buzz on the beach has been the lack of a bank at Snapper. Joel Parkinson, local and former winner of the Quiksilver Pro took to Twitter Monday night:

@joelparko: Sand pumping crew we need some sand at Snapper ASAP


Joel Parko in the slot when he won the 2009 Quiksilver Gold Coast Pro.

The big, sand-pumping jetty (a mile south of Snapper Rocks) was developed in 2001 to keep the mouth of the Tweed River free of sand for boat navigation. This pumping program created the Superbank, but killed off Kirra Point in the process. In previous years the pumps have been turned on specifically to build up the sandbank at Snapper. This is a very unique situation in the global scheme.

During an early morning surf check Tuesday, Rod Books, Quiksilver Pro contest director addressed the bank conditions and sand pumping situation at Snapper. "They started pumping sand [Sunday] and at this stage they've reached their quota. We just have to wait and see what happens as the current brings it around from behind the rocks," he said.

The sand-pumping outlet is 100 yards away from Snapper and once they've dumped the sand they rely on a natural flow to get it moving north and hopefully fill the big black hole. Previously, pumping has provided enough sand for a contestable bank at Snapper for the Quik and Roxy Pro. Brooks did have reservations about the amount of sand needed to fill the hole.

"I think they've underestimated the amount of sand we need, but it's a balancing act between conservationists who don't want any pumping, fishing trawler operators who want the Tweed River bar cleared for safety reasons (one capsized and broke up just 10 days ago littering D-bah with debris) and surfers who want a surfable Superbank. At this stage we could be okay for the contest but if I could have my wish, I'd have a sand dredge boat come and dump a whole lot of sand just for us and make sure the bank has plenty of sand," he continued with a smile.


The sand bypass from the Tweed River is pumped a mile south of Snapper Rocks.

Quiksilver might have to go to the other kind of bank to pay for a sand dredge with the summer weather patterns slowly being replaced by fall. World Tour surfers hope the sand-pumping program along with Mother Nature will combine and we'll witness Snapper Rocks breaking in all its glory.

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