Stab Magazine | The Potential Downside Of Cyclone Oma

The Potential Downside Of Cyclone Oma

Is a week straight of semi-pumping freight trains worth the erosive aftermath?

news // Feb 24, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Cyclone Oma is just about the only noteworthy event in surfing over the past week. The usual likes of Mick, Parko, Freestone, Crewsy and many other punters were littered along the Gold Coast’s points (although other places were also pumping). And we even managed to pump out three-plus articles about the much anticipated swell. 

Despite whispers of beauty being filtered through Instagram, Cyclone Oma didn’t deliver truly pumping waves, but it ain’t over yet. As I hammer keys from 800-odd-kilometres south, and a rebuilding Oma continues to spurt sizeable swell, a few pessimistic eyes have picked up on the downside to this recent flurry: erosion. 

While our eyes were peeled to what was happening off the coast, some had their eyes focused on what was happening on it. As is always be the case with cyclonic events, Oma has lined up with king tides, tropical-esque downpours, along with an inexorable five-metre-plus swell which is battering the banks. 

“It’s phenomenal really,” Ben Macartney, the bloke who forecasts your swell on Coastalwatch told the Courier Mail“We are looking at an exceptional swell event. It’s going to get more chaotic and there will be a lot of water movement and damage to the coastline.

“It is easily our most severe erosion event in decades.”

A few days ago, Oma looked to have reached her peak, but as of this morning, appears to be heading northwards once again and will likely be upgraded to a Category 2 cyclone. The system is double the size of Cyclone Debbie, a storm that devastated the coast (and whipped up some swell), and today, as early reports and footage trickle in, it’s the biggest and most chaotic day yet. 

“Mate we just got in from Burleigh, it was 10-foot scary barrels.” Mitch Crews told Stab. “It’s the biggest day today.”

Currently, a few regions around Burleigh, Broadbeach, and Main Beach are now home to “2-3 metre sand walls” of erosion on the shore, but the region’s Mayor believes it’ll all be right in the long run. 

“The swell impacting our coast is more powerful than Cyclone Debbie but our beaches are holding up well given the $30 million investment in protection measures in the last four years,” Gold Coast Mayor, Tom Tate said in a media update this morning.

“In 2017, three million cubic metres of sand was pumped up on to the beaches in a special project involving an offshore dredging vessel.”

We’re only mid-way through this unprecedented cyclone/swell event, with another spell of well-overhead waves due until later next week. But the council reiterated, that if erosion were to worsen, they could start filling the shores back with sand as early as Tuesday – once the swell has died back off. 

In the mean time, keep your eyes peeled to socials and this ol’ site as clips and images from the biggest day (that being today) land on ours and your screens. 


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