Stab Magazine | The Downside Of Big, Consistent Swells

The Downside Of Big, Consistent Swells

Parts of NSW Central Coast are seeing their worst erosion in years, and there’s another swell coming. 

news // Jul 26, 2020
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

We’ve rightly been raving on about the stellar year the East Coast of Australia has been having; swell after swell accompanied with offshore winds and plentiful options to break upon. While we haven’t crunched any numbers – we’ll leave that up to Swellnet – it’s the best run of Autumn –> Winter swell we’ve witnessed in years.

There is however a downside to swells of this size with an incessant nature. Firstly, it leaves surfers like me, who are scared of big waves, little options to surf, but perhaps more importantly, it does serious damage to the coastlines and the houses built upon them.

Wamberal, on the New South Wales Central Coast has recently seen several homes damaged and fears some homes will be lost entirely. The State Emergency Service reported that it’s the worst erosion seen in the area for 30 years, with foundations to houses exposed and verandas lost entirely. 

“There’s always been impact on that area, but for some reason, this event has taken away far more land than we expected,” Rolf Garda told the ABC.

Even a few hundred boulders won’t stop swells of this magnitude. Photo: Anthony Parry/Facebook

Some locals are angry precautionary strategies haven’t been used to protect their houses. Some have taken it upon themselves to dump large rocks between their properties and the surf, but this has little influence against five-metre plus swells for days on end. 

To make things worse, asbestos has also been found along Wamberal and other beaches according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Years ago, the asbestos was found buried under a house, but as it was not properly removed, it has now been exposed along the beach by these swells.

Locals have alleged that the council buried the asbestos under the sand after promising and failing to properly remove it. 

Stockton beach an hour north in Newcastle has also seen better days. 

“It has basically been destroyed,” the Northside Boardriders’ Club president told The Guardian“There’s metres of erosion pretty much from one end of Stockton to another.” Adding that this is the worst and fastest erosion he thinks he has seen, estimating that up to 30 metres of the beach has been lost in the past three years.

This all comes less than a year after the suburb’s only childcare centre closed permanently due to coastal erosion.

To make things worse, another large swell is due to hit NSW this week. A 12-foot swell is forecast to hit Sydney on Tuesday which will peter out throughout the week. For us surfers, it will be accompanied by some strong south-westerlies (I imagine Deadmans will be packed with masochistic maniacs again), but this will do little to help the damage dealt to coastal houses these past few weeks. 


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

How Surfers Get Paid, Episode 3 

Nike has entered the chat.

Oct 5, 2022

Unlocked: Leonardo Fioravanti’s Stab Edit Of The Year Entry 

Watch 'The Cut' now, and baffle at the quality of both the waves and the…

Oct 4, 2022

The Pro Surfer Who Filmed A War Documentary In Ukraine

Damien Castera's got a story to tell.

Oct 4, 2022

Honest Review(s): O’Neill Hyperfreak Fire

Pushing the Limits of Wetsuit Tech for Men & Women

Oct 3, 2022

How Much Would You Pay For A Session Like This?

A cost-per-vision breakdown of Kian Martin and Tai Buddha's latest strike mission.

Oct 2, 2022

Ongoing Dialogue: Jack Freestone And Album’s Matt Parker On How They Get Sparks To Fly

"Nowadays, a standard thruster feels pretty alt to me." -Jack

Oct 2, 2022

Davo’s Death Strikes At Surfing’s Core

The underground icon battled demons til the end. His untimely demise is yet another cautionary…

Oct 1, 2022

Macaroni in the Pot

Jaleesa Vincent and 200 Lefts in the Mentawais

Oct 1, 2022

Introducing A Brand New Travel Series (With A Familiar Name)

Watch the first New York episode of Stab & Red Bull's No Contest Off Tour.

Sep 30, 2022

Leandro Dora: Pro Surfer, Businessman, Punk Rock Festival Organizer, Spiritual Mentor, And World Title Winning Surf Coach 

Meet one of the most beloved and effective individuals in the athlete's zone.

Sep 29, 2022


You’re Gonna Click On A New Oscar Langburne Video

Style that can't be denied.

Sep 29, 2022

Long Read: An Angel At My Table

From Stab Issue 15, October 2006: Chris Davidson has one more shot at the big…

Sep 28, 2022


Watch: Kalani David’s Last Dance

A final surf part from the Hawaiian surf/skate prodigy.

Sep 28, 2022

Taylor Steele Won’t Let Surf Filmmaking Die Without a Fight

Movies shown, filmmaking advice, punk rock at the 2022 Solento Surf Festival.

Sep 28, 2022

Wait, Are We Going To See Moana Jones In The Olympics At Teahupo’o?

Team USA (women) and Japan (men) should be able to choose anyone they want to…

Sep 27, 2022

Donald Brink and Matt Biolos Win Mick Fanning’s Electric Acid Surfboard Test

And we had a party in Oceanside to celebrate.

Sep 26, 2022

Kanoa Igarashi and Kirra Pinkerton Answer Call Of Duty, Win Medals Of Honor In 2022 ISA World Games

Teams Japan, USA, and France move into Victor’s Village.

Sep 26, 2022

The Best Euro Surf Trips That Mightn’t Be On Your Radar

Want to know which less-trodden nation offers the most potential?

Sep 26, 2022