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Erosion poses problems for Australian surfing

Australia’s beaches are eroding, some having completely disappeared. Kingscliff Beach, the location of one of the country’s oldest surf clubs and famous for its stretch of golden sand, is but a shadow of its former self.

Several east coast beaches around the town of Noosa, on Queensland’s Gold Coast, have lost up to 45 meters (50 yards) over the past 3 years.

From the Telegraph:

Of 309 regularly frequented stretches of surfing coastline, 38 now have beach areas that have shrunk to 30 feet wide or less. Heavily eroded beaches include Sydney’s second-longest, Narrabeen-Collaroy, which has had to have thousands of tons of sand trucked in and dumped along its two-and-a-quarter mile shoreline.

Scientists are unsure about the causes and whether the sand will ever be returned by ocean currents, but the most likely cause of the beach erosion is the La Niña weather phenomenon. Over the past couple of years Australia suffered La Niña events such as severe flooding, storms, strong tides and changes in wave direction, all contributing to sand loss.

photo by Dinkum (Wikimedia Commons)

Surf life savers are also finding themselves without beaches to patrol.

At the NSW Surf Life Saving championships in Kingscliff last year, sand had to be trucked in to the southern end of the beach. This year the erosion is so bad that the surfboat events are being moved from Kingscliff to another beach.


This year, in an almost mirrored reversal, the southern beach boasts a healthy strip while the northern beach has been dramatically shaved as erosion continues on its destructive northward path.


Graham Land is a writer who grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, where he was part of the local hardcore punk scene. Through this musical movement he became involved in grass roots interests such as anti-racist activism, animal rights and Ecology. In 2000 he relocated to Europe, earning an MA in History from Malmö University in Sweden. Graham writes on a variety of topics including the environment, politics and history.
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