This was always going to be a special run of swell. Tropical Cyclone Oma has been churning off the east coast of Australia, delivering those trademark kegs to the likes of Snapper and Kirra and, just yesterday, we may have seen Noosa as good as it can possibly get.
Sure, the Gold Coast had more size to it but it's the shape of Noosa that enthrals. Wherever you choose to surf though, you're going to have to contest with hundreds of others in the drink. But damn, is it worth it... The Goldie has been privy to a dream run, albeit a touch on the windy side. Then there's Noosa yesterday; steep and hollow, it can hold up a bit more swell when it begins to jack and really enjoys any wind from east to south. What's more? The swell season's just begun.
Capturing all you see in this feature (except the cover of Mr Mick Fanning, shot by Juan Medina) is lensman Tom Pearsall. "It’s been surfing hyper drive over here. People driving around for hours trying to find a parking spot. A lot of sacrificial burnings you can only get away with on a sweeping point; you're unlikely to bump into them again in the hundreds of people," he says.
"All lookouts, or anything resembling, are packed to the railings. There's been windows of sheer perfection between the squalls and tides. A lot of people saying some of the best Noosa they’ve seen and obviously Kirra has its sections that are going bananas too. It’s always hard for a hyped swell to live up to expectation and this one probably hasn’t entirely but the moments Oma has blessed the East Coast with have been mindblowing. As I say that, I’m watching Noosa funnel along for a km plus at least. Many chaffed bodies tonight."
And an update on Oma? “According to analysis from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, at 22:00 AEST on Thursday Feb 21, Oma was located about 780 km east-northeast of Brisbane, moving south-southwest at about 11 km/h. It is a category two storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with sustained winds of 95 km/h gusting up to 130 km/h,” says MSW forecaster Tony Butt.
“The surf is increasing, with wave heights at exposed spots around the ten foot mark and expected to continue ramping up through Saturday and into early Sunday, reaching a lumpy 15 feet at exposed spots, accompanied by gale-force southerly winds. After the weekend, further pulses of swell are due to arrive, with winds backing southeast and continuing strong to gale-force. Probabilities are still pretty low for Sunday and beyond, as the trajectory of the storm is very difficult to predict more than one or two days ahead.”
We're running swell updates over HERE so keep an eye on it for the weekend call.