Lifeguards, boardies busy
By CRAIG McTEAR
BEACHES at Woolgoolga, Sawtell and Diggers were the only ones to remain open at the weekend when huge seas pounded the Coffs Coast.
"The conditions were extremely nasty over the weekend, although Sunday was probably worse than Saturday," city council senior lifeguard Greg Hackfath said.
"There were 3m-plus swells both days. It's been building all week and we've had reasonable-sized swells all week.
"It was due to a big low pressure system off the coast.
"Diggers Beach gave us hell all weekend.
"The southern corner was horrendous ? it had one of the biggest rips I've ever seen.
"Although the locals can handle the conditions, there are tourists following them in who have no idea and think everything's okay.
"One of our lifeguards spent two hours on a board out the back helping people. We rescued four surfboard riders at Diggers on Sunday.
"Three Japanese tourists were rescued by boardriders, again in the southern corner, and at Sawtell Beach the surf club did a couple of rescues.
"If it weren't for boardriders, we'd have more fatalities on this coast.
"When people, for reasons known only to them, swim where there's no flags and they get into trouble, boardriders come to their rescue and they do it time and time again.
"They get no thanks, but they don't expect it. They're doing a mighty job."
Mr Hackfath said people could expect rough beach conditions to continue.
"We're going to have big swells for at least the next couple of days, and I urge people to remember our no-flags-no-swim rule.
"Lifeguards at Park Beach are going to do roving patrols of Diggers Beach on jet skis.
"From now until April 11, the only beaches serviced by council lifeguards will be Sawtell Beach and Park Beach, Monday to Friday.
"Surf clubs will be doing all their normal patrols at weekends."