The sign over the Aust Longboard shop says Bring Kirra Back. I don’t know how long it’s been gone, but every time I drive around Kirra hill it’s impossible not to remember how good it was. Especially cyclone Justin in Feb 96, we flew in the day the swell picked up from nothing to the most consistent 4-6ft surf I’ve ever seen. The swell lasted the 2 weeks we were there and the next week after that. Neil Purchase Jnr was getting the longest and deepest backhand tubes from in front of the big groin right down past the little groin.
Well on the 20th Feb 08 the swell buoy out the back of the sand pumping jetty was registering waves up to 4.5m. I’d surfed snapper or tried to, there were a lot of wide sets which if you weren’t careful you’d end up back on the beach, it took maybe 20 minutes just to get out, I don’t think I’ve ever done so many duck dives or thrown my board away so much.
Watching from the beach I didn’t see anyone jumping off the rocks, everyone who paddled from beside the rocks ended getting out at Greenmount, if they made it at all. The other noticeable thing was nobody seemed in any great hurry as they walked back along the beach. Later I heard Andy Ions ended up on the rocks after an unsuccessful attempt.
As I drove past Kirra it was amazing to see so many photographers and spectators crowding onto the groin and lining the footpath. It was 4-6ft and some of them weren’t breaking too bad. Obviously the 100 or so out thought the same, it wasn’t anything like it used to be, but it’s a pretty good start. The sand pumping has been cut right back and you can see the effects on the Superbank, where it used to run straight across Rainbow and Greenmount they now have water flowing in and around them. You used to be able to walk back around on the dry sand even on high tide, now the water is half way down the point. The waves at Snapper are closer in and breaks through to Rainbow where it closes out or goes flat and slow, Greenmount is much the same. On the bigger swells it breaks better but nothing like it use to. In a perfect world it would be fantastic to have the Superbank and old Kirra back but I think that’s only in our dreams. We use to dream 45 years ago about making the Heads at Port Phillip Bay deeper and wider so we’d get swell at Bonbeach and now they’re dredging it.
I’ve taken a few pics to give you a bit of an idea, also on the big day I took a couple of shots of the Alley there were 13 jet skis out doing tow in’s from way inside Elephant rock.
See you in the surf