The Kirra Surfriders Club (KSC) are hosting a massive public Paddle Out on Australia Day 2009 (Monday 26th of January) at Kirra to mark the loss of Kirra Point, widely regarded as one of the best point breaks in the world. The Australia Day Paddle Out will meet at 10am QLD time and paddle off Kirra Point to shape the map of Australia which will be seen visibly from on top of the Kirra Hill.
In 2001, the Tweed Sand By-Pass system was established by NSW and QLD Governments, a unique joint agreement to replenish sand onto Gold Coast beaches that were robbed of natural sand flow due to the Tweed Training walls of the Tweed River and to dredge the entrance of the Tweed River for a safe boating passage. Initially the sand pumping was hailed as a success with the evolution of the Super Bank at Snapper Rocks creating a whole new sandbar from Snapper through to Coolangatta with up to 800 metre rides. The only problem was that over the last 6 years, 100 million cubic metres valued over $60,000 million dollars was pumped into Coolangatta which was the death knoll of Kirra Point and not has broken properly since 2001.
Apart from Kirra Point losing it’s famous barreling kegs and the deepest tube rides on the Gold Coast, the reefs that created the Kirra Point wave namely the inside reef Butterbox and the Miles Street Outside reef were also buried with an over supply of sand completely wrecking the marine habitat once popular with divers and fisherman. Currently the sand flow has moved slowly from Coolangatta Bay and into Kirra Beach which resembles a deserted oasis and a 400 metre walk to the waters edge. It?s the biggest pile-up of sand ever seen from Kirra to North Kirra, yet the sand continues to pump from the main outlet at Lovers Rock, Point Danger.
The idea behind the Australia Day Paddle Out is to demonstrate that the community at large care about their public amenity and convince the State and Local Authorities that something needs to be done. Ironically both State Governments are facing the polls next year and the Kirra Point situation is growing into a political election issue. At the core of that matter is the 25 year contract between NSW and QLD to continue pumping sand although the latest word is that the NSW Department of Lands are privately conceding that too much sand has been pumped and are trying to assess the operation with possible changes for the future, yet the Sand Contractor continues to pump sand into Snapper and Coolangatta. There are many options being considered by a group known as the kirrapoint.org committee which are seeking solutions namely selective pumping, dredging the unwanted sand, sand sculpturing the beach and restoring dunes to allow the sand to flow, alternative sand pumping outlets namely one for Snapper Rocks and another for North Kirra and the question of the Big Groyne.
President of the Kirra Surfriders, Stuart Ball, welcomes the public to attend and Paddle Out for Kirra Point on Australia Day: “We are very concerned to lose our local break and to see the public amenity reduced to a desert and the marine reefs wiped out,” said Ball. “As a board riding club which helps foster junior development, we have lost one of the best training grounds and we would like to see this quintessential bank returned for the future. The Paddle Out normally reserved for the loss of life and tragedies is our way of getting everyone together to demonstrate in a positive and passive way the loss of one of the best breaks in the World. Enough is enough, we want our break back!”
During the Nineties, Kirra Point was the training ground for the likes of Coolangatta’s Joel Parkinson, Mick Fanning and Dean Morrison known as the Cooly Kids when they competed as Pro Juniors. And like his Coolie mates, Parko is very passionate about the loss of Kirra Point. Rated 4th on the ASP World rankings and fresh back on the Coast after winning his first Hawaiian Triple Crown, Parkinson is the first Australian in 10 years to claim the prestigious Hawaiian prize and would like to see Kirra Point back in action.
“I am really upset about the loss of Kirra Point and would dearly love to see it restored in all its glory,” said Parkinson. “Dean (Morrison), Mick (Fanning) and I were fortunate to surf and compete there as juniors throughout the 90s and today’s kids have really missed out. As a father, I would like to see Kirra Point restored for future generations.”
Gold Coast Surf reporter of the last 20 years, Andrew McKinnon who had his first surfing lesson at Kirra in 1962 believes that we can bring back Kirra Point but it won’t happen overnight: “Surely with all the existing in fracture in place and some creative engineering on the Southern Points from Snapper to Kirra, we could have the best of both worlds with good sandbanks for waves and enough sand for the beachgoer,” he says. “The over supply of sand has been a blatant waste of taxpayers money and loss of public amenity and the problem needs urgent attention by both State Governments working in with Tweed and Gold Coast Councils to fine tune the operation. Right now there is so much sand at Kirra Beach not even a tsunami could move it!”
A lobbyist group known as kirrapoint.org committee comprising of an expert panel of marine biologists, surfing stakeholders and various local groups is trying to unravel the problem and advise the authorities, the only problem is – is that the advice is falling on deaf ears. For more background information check out kirrapoint.org.