We arrived at Coolangatta to be greeted by over head swell peeling from Snapper to Coolie LSC with the better surfers making it all the way. If you were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time when some body fell off you’d get the ride of your life. The first swell lasted a week and then it dropped and went onshore for a couple of days, but then cyclone Winston kicked in for another week.
The peak of this swell saw 8 double overhead waves in the sets. If you timed it right, it was reasonably easy to paddle out. Again the surfing was unbelievable as well as the crowd, unfortunately every night on the Gold Coast news and the Qld TV News they had a cyclone swell report which just seemed to add to the already massive crowd. The best time as always was in the morning before 10 am, after that you were looking at maybe 500 spread out over the bank.
During the cyclone swell it was a full moon and I had heard many times over the years lots crew surfed in the moonlight. One of Geoff’s mates said he went down at 10pm and couldn’t get a carpark anywhere, he returned at 2am and luckly somebody was just pulling out. There were 200 plus in the water and he said it was the craziest surf he had ever had. It was over head height and everybody was dropping in on each other, people were getting pushed off and run over all down the break.
On one of the mornings when sitting off Greenmount Point, I took off on a really good wave and had a guy about 10m away drop in, coming off the bottom I quickly caught him and pulled up about 3ft just under the back of his board watching him closely, the lip gradually passing us by. We both came out of the tube and he pulled off, leaving me to continue the 300M to the Coolangatta LSC. The paddle back using the outside rip was easy, it was going all the way back to Snapper, if you get in too close it goes really fast towards Kirra.
Back in position one of the larger sets came through and I just managed to get under the first wave but the second was bigger and had 2 guy’s trying to push each other off deep inside. Fearing we would all meet I slipped off my board and headed for the bottom. It was like the old washing machine experience, round and round pinned to the bottom finally coming up with my board tombstoning only to be hit by the next 5 and being dragged in by the express to Kirra. I gave up after that.
The pictures are taken from Greenmount Point. I meet Pat Morgan there regularly as it’s his home break, he was telling me how he’d just returned from Hawaii where he was inducted into the International Surfing hall of fame, he was told when Nat rode one of his keel fin boards there in the 70’s everybody overseas copied them, some manufacturers made 1000’s of them. Wayne Lynch was also part of his team. While there somebody who had one of his guns said it was worth around 19, Pat thought that 19 Hundred was a reasonable price, but as the conversation continued he realised it was $19,000.
Pat surfs or swims just about every day at Rainbow or Greenmount. He surfed a toothpick board he had made at Burleigh in 1961 on one of his may surf trips north.
See you in the surf