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The shape of things to come.
General conditions of the banks along the Metropolitan beach breaks are very average for this time of year and have been continuing to deteriorate over the last ten or so years caused by changing weather patterns, while in the Margaret River region unseasonable winds and southerly swells have not been satisfying the hoardes of crew, days like the day Eastaugh won the big wave awards.
While crew who have started surfing in the last few years have not experienced what some of our breaks used to be really like (especially the beach breaks in the metro area) going off can sometimes have a different meaning to what the older surfer rembers when it comes to shape and conditions.
The howling North West winds for days on end that we used to have during the winter season and are of crucial importance of forming banks and depositig sand along the beach breaks are rarely seen now. In the Rockingham and Mandurah area things are just as bad with most of the beach breaks having no banks. While some will argue black nd blue that developments hve caused the problems, this is far from the truth.
At Surf Beach (Secret Harbour) in Rockingham the dunal system is starting to return and build up. Around 15 years ago surfers and 4wd drives used to frequent these dunes on the beach front with some of the dunes exceeding 30 feet in height. When the developers stepped in, the dunes were flattened to near on sea level, but nature has slowly been replenishing them and they are starting to get larger. The lack of shape there, again is due to the lack of frontal systems we are getting and the lack of Nor Westers. The quality of the surf (just like every where else) has been poor due to the fact that our swells are more Southerly orientated.
For the last 30 years and more the actual high tide water mark has seen the width of the beach grow, shrik, grow and shrink through natural occurrences and will continue to do so for years to come.
As we head into May we will see above normal average temperatures combined with fronts that will brush the South West corner of the state with not a lot of ramping in the swell, very similar to last year, but more constant.
Few and far between will be the huge swells that usually have the purple centers on the swell maps that used to hit us around the 30S degree mark. Instead (as we have been seeing) most of the swells that have been hitting the coastline are from systems hanging around closer to the 45s degree mark. These systems end up slipping underneath the South West of the state with usually the wrong swell direction associated with them (South swells) and not huge in swell size, ecuase of the lack of intensity in them.
Sounds grim, but the fact is the weather patterns are changing and what it holds for the future may seem uncertain, but if the last ten years is anything to go by and the trend continues then it is looking pretty lean on the large wave front o the waves with shape department in the Metro area. The problem is not only confined to Western Australia, but also nationally and internationally.
Some surfing events Hawaii, Bells, Snapper and the Margaret River contests that are held around the same time every year, because of their usually guaranteed swell consistency during the period have seen a major lack of swell and conditions over the years forcing organisers to hold lay days or even run them in less than ideal conditions.
While some weather records have only been available over the last hundred years, we, you and I hope that things will change (preferably during our lifetime) and surf conditions improve.
For now though, it's a case of improvise, overcome and adjust to the surf we have on offer, if it means riding something different in shape or thickness to give you some satisfaction, then try it.