All beaches on the Gold Coast are closed this weekend.
The remnants of ex-tropical cyclone Winston has caused dangerous weather conditions and massive waves on Queensland’s coast.
Surf Life Saving Queensland announced the decision to close the beaches for the weekend this morning.
“We’re continuing to see some big swell and dangerous conditions and, at the end of the day, it’s just not safe for people to be in the water at the moment,” said SLSQ Gold Coast lifesaving services coordinator Nathan Fife.
“It’s not a decision that we’ve made lightly, but it was a necessary decision given how unstable and dangerous the current surf conditions are at the moment.”
The Queensland Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning early this morning for abnormally high tides and dangerous surf conditions with recommendations to stay away from the coastline.
The peak period is expected to take place today with forecasts of “monster waves” reaching just over four metres (14ft) between 12pm and 4pm with high tide at 11am.
Surf conditions across SEQ remain unstable and dangerous. All Gold Coast beaches and most Sunshine Coast beaches have been closed.
— Surf Life Saving QLD (@lifesavingqld) February 26, 2016
Despite the massive waves, a number of pro surfers are taking to the waters, some of them practising ahead of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast on March 10.
The cyclone hit Fiji earlier last week and was described as the “strongest ever” cyclone in the southern hemisphere.
As of this morning, ex-tropical Cyclone Winston was 660km east northeast of Brisbane and its movements along the east Queensland coast are expected to cause significant beach erosion with water levels on the high tide likely to “exceed the highest tide of the year about exposed beaches of the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast and also Stradbroke and Moreton Islands today”.
Lifeguards will review the conditions on Monday morning and decide whether the beaches will be safe to reopen.
Here’s a look at the swell.