Sawtell’s Main Beach has borne the brunt of pounding seas and severe weather. Lifeguards say the beach will recover in time.
Sawtell’s Main Beach has borne the brunt of pounding seas and severe weather. Lifeguards say the beach will recover in time. Bruce Thomas

Sawtell beach gone missing

TAKE a stroll on Sawtell Beach and you’ll soon see Mother Nature at her furious best.

The beach has been pounded in recent weeks by massive swells and foul weather, which have cut a swathe through the dunes.

But this erosion is something locals like Sonny Tisdell – who is also the city council’s senior lifeguard – have become accustomed to over the years.

“When I was a kid growing up at Sawtell, at the back of where the beach-viewing platform is, there used to be sleepers as a retaining wall 4m high or more,” Mr Tisdell said.

“What we are seeing is not new.

“Sawtell has more erosion occurring now because a few weeks ago there were big southerly ground swells for a week straight – that direction of swell was getting right into the middle of the beach.

“And then with the bad weather last week we had a north-east swell, so with both these swells we got the double blade of swells concentrated in the centre of the beach.”

Mr Tisdell said Sawtell Beach would recover in time.

“Mother Nature does its thing for sure and we’re very fortunate with the bad weather we’ve had we have active Dune Care people – they pick up debris from the floods such as branches and logs and put them up against the dunes.

“That debris breaks down and creates re-generation of the dunes.

“Then there’s the early morning swimmers who are here right through the year and they do the same thing.

“These groups are very active out here and that’s reflected in the nice clean beach we have.”

Mr Tisdell said Sawtell’s Tower of Strength had not been compromised by the erosion because the piers were “10 metres down and solid in the sand”.

Council crews had been dispatched to the beach as a result of the erosion and one access remained closed off yesterday, Mr Tisdell said.

Lifeguards continue to patrol Park Beach and Sawtell Beach Mondays to Fridays and the surf clubs take over at weekends.

Lifeguards are also involved in a successful surf education program for local and visiting schoolchildren, some of whom travel to Coffs Harbour from Narrabri and Bourke.



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