Pushing the sand around to save Palm Beach

Gold Coast City Council (in Queensland, Australia) have a Surf Management Plan that includes:

  • strategies to maximise enjoyment and minimise conflict between beach user groups (e.g. seasonal adjustments to flagged swimming and board riders zones)
  • new coastal capital works projects will give consideration to both coastal protection and where possible, enhancement of surf amenity.



They announced in June 2016 that $4.5 million has been set aside to start the Palm Beach Shoreline Project and build an artificial reef about 400 metres off Palm Beach. It is expected to take four years.



See also the previous story (July 2015):

Note that Australian Coastal Walls are selling the ACW Geo-Block beach protection system. More about that on their web page.

For a longer term view of Gold Coast coastal management:



Collaroy to Narrabeen

Sydney, Australia in the newly formed Northern Beaches Council Area

Following the June 2016 Black NorEaster and/or East Coast Low beach and property suffered significant damage.

Surfrider Foundation Northern Beaches was in the firing line for organising the 2002 Line In The Sand which convinced the then Warringah Council that the community was opposed to the construction of a multimillion dollar seawall over a kilometre long dumping 85,000 tons of rock on the beach at great public expense.

Seawalls profoundly damage beaches and Surfrider remains implacably opposed to hard so-called protective structures on beaches.

See there report to NB Council: makesurf/collaroy_seawall2016.pdf



Northern Beaches surfrider.org.au/nsw

The Northern Beaches Branch was one of Surfrider Australia’s original branches and is still going strong 20 years on!

Major campaigns over its life include the upgrade of Warriewood Sewage Treatment Plant, protesting the proposed seawall for Collaroy/Narrabeen Beach 2002 with the famous “Line In The Sand” and thwarting the proposed overdevelopment of Long Reef SLSC on 2 separate occasions.

The branch has representation on council committees and work closely with environment centres in Manly and Pittwater.

Always looking for another face and bod to lend a hand so if you live anywhere around the Northern Beaches contact them from details on the page:

National Surfing Reserves

These are the already great surfing spots.

National Surfing Reserves are ‘iconic’ places of intrinsic environmental, heritage, sporting and cultural value to a nation. NSR embrace all peoples to enjoy, understand and protect

What about the surf breaks that could do with some improvements?


Wave Focusing Sand Slug

Plan for Wave Focusing Sand Slug,

Wave Focusing Sand Slug,

Cronulla Beach will officially trial Andrew Pitt’s special sand placement configuration designed to create a temporary Wave Focusing Sand Slug.

The sand will be strategically placed about 250 metres offshore in up to eight metres of water to form a two-hectare rectangular mound.

Reports from regular surfers on the waves and impacts on crowding along the beach would be appreciated.

August 2012 Update:
Seems to work OK.

Cronulla Beach Aug12

Lots of surfers enjoying this sand slug


SurfScience interviews Andrew Pitt

SurfScience contacted Andrew Pitt, a surfing reef architect from Australia. His company Surfing Ramps, does consulting and design work for artificial reefs. A student of artificial reef projects, Andrew filled SurfScience in on what has been attempted and why some efforts had better results.


Valuable lessons in Reef Design

Ramboestrada writes posts about failed artificial reef and wave pool projects around the globe.
Questions that are raised by this are:
1. How should we fund failed attempts?
2. How can we (objectively) collect information on the lessons learnt?
3. How can we design these projects so that the whole job does not have to be done at once?
4. How can we work with nature, not against it?
5. Is it easier to try to make good small waves?
6. How do we stop the worst weather blowing away the parts of the project?
Surf grooming is my preferred answer to many of these questions. Essentially it involves systems that adapt to the current conditions. More to come on this topic in the meantime read the Ramboestrada post and consider the problem..


Locals Only – Surf Grooming

I noticed the white paint on the cliffs at Nth Curl Curl the other week. I remember seeing this sentiment expressed at Avoca Beach. The Curl Curl one is very like the sign at Scarborough Wombarra except that there the word “G A Y” has been added by someone who has a sense of humour.
While I understand what causes people to write these signs, I cannot think of anything worse than only surfing one beach and staying away from all the others.
The problem is over crowding. Instead of everyone poking each others eyes out and making the world blind, the solution is to groom the surf that is there to make more room for more riders.
Councils have no trouble justifying putting a rake through the dry sand. Why doesn’t someone look at ways of moving the sand underwater to make better breaks for the surfers?
Sure the sand will move back, no problem, in the same way that the dry stuff gets racked regularly move the wet stuff to improve the banks each day.
Don’t bother with moving anything in swell over 1.5 metres. Increases in the forces involved increase the problems.
First thing to do is a pretest of the marine ecology, especially at the water’s edge.
Rules should be made about moving the sand, the main one would be to only ever move sand closer to the beach. This should assist with the build-up of sand on the beach, most people would see that as a good thing.
The next thing is to think of a method for moving the sand. Something like suction pipes with the engines for the pumps based on the beach is my current preference.
We don’t know all the answers but the problem is we are not asking the question:
How can we make the waves better for more people, especially the locals?
How can we slowly make surf better?