Mid February 2019 a cyclone formed of the coast of Vanuatu and began an event that would create one of those mighty and memorable swells for the East coast of Australia. Cyclone OMA (German for grandmother) was positioned in just the right spot to send the swell perfectly onto the South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales coasts. When these cyclones form in this location everything lines up perfectly, the swell is directed straight onto the coast servicing some Australia’s most famous surf spots (such as Noosa, Burleigh, Kirra and Snapper Rocks) and it causes the wind to blow from the south which gives the offshore winds to create the perfect surf conditions along this coastline.
The first days of Oma were certainly not perfection, the swell was slowly building and the wind a bit variable, but it was good enough to get the surfers in the water, warming up for the coming event. Then suddenly one morning we were woken with the thundering sound of a real swell grinding its way down the points. A quick stop at the Point Danger Lookout told it all with giant swell lines overpowering Duranbah and rolling swells travelling down the Tweed River between the breakwater walls.
The first swell was a little disorganized and quite close together as many building swells do. Snapper Rocks and Greenmount were breaking all the way through but with many wide ones breaking outside. Kirra however was already lining up some amazing barrels …… and crowds!
The second day saw the swell grow more but also even out somewhat and presenting some incredible take-offs and deep barrels. The jet-skis also arrived making life for some lucky surfers a hell of a lot easier being able to see the sets and launch the surfers into the bigger waves. Also their ability to retrieve their buddies from the inside and get them back out in just moments with little effort.
Day 3 saw the swell starting to peak; wave rider buoys off the Sunshine Coast recorded waves up to 12 metres. The points were getting mean and the crowds suddenly thinning out. Some extraordinary waves were being found and surfed in conditions rarely surfed before, jet-skis had opened up possibilities previously near impossible to accomplish. Burleigh (check the video at https://youtu.be/QaKbcyIzfqI ) was being surfed in conditions virtually impossible for paddle in suffers not only because of the treacherous paddle out but also the rapidly shifting take off zone. Currumbin Alley (check the video at https://www.coastalwatch.com/videos/25373/oma-sends-monsters-to-currumbin-alley ) saw jet-ski driven surfers diving into barrels of gargantuan magnitude.
Whilst the Gold Coast was going off on every point to the north Noosa’s points were also showing the perfection it’s renowned for in these conditions. Check this video of Noosa’a Boiling Pot going off: https://youtu.be/7wCiyFZRPFA .
Video links of Cyclone Oma:
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