FRUSTRATED by a month of no waves, surfers on the North Coast are only on the verge of what's expected to be an 'endless summer without waves'.
Scientists studying sand erosion at local beaches, say it could take up to 10 years for sand bars to rebuild on the shoreline.
Research has found that millions of tonnes of sand has been sucked out to sea from our local beaches, dragged all the way out to the continental shelf.
On shore the storm damage is visible in the form of heavily eroded sand dunes, but the real toll scientists say has been suffered beneath the waves with usually exposed reefs systems now covered completely.
“After a major storm and the kind of erosion we have seen recently, it may take several years for the beaches to recover back to their original shape,” Southern Cross University Oceanologist, Professor Bill Boyd said.
“This can take even longer if we get major storms following each other.”
Professor Boyd said overall the long-term forecast looked grim for board riders, as deep gutters on most beaches would remain a feature for some time.
“When the sea is calm that sand is gradually moved both slightly northwards by the prevailing in-shore current and westwards back onto our beaches.”
“On the North Coast, beach erosion is normally an annual cycle. Typically, erosion happens in winter and beach building happens in summer, so we can usually expect to see the beaches start to rebuild after the winter. But it may take beaches several years to recover,” he said.
In the short term, the ocean has given surfers some optimism this weekend in the shape of some increasing swell.
In the first time in almost a month, waves today are predicted to rise above two foot.
For many board riders it's the end of a lengthy lay-up and the chance to dust off the board and ready the roof racks.
But according to locals in the know, any hope of a decent ride remains doubtful due to that lack of sand banks.
“There haven't been many waves to speak of because of a lack of swell and that lack of banks out there,” Garth Mackie of Coopers Surf said.
Former pro surfer turned instructor, Lee Winkler, says local surf breaks are in the worst state he has seen.
“All the sand that was eroded from dunes about six weeks ago shifted out to sea, making large gutters on the beaches. Now the waves are breaking further out and with no banks it makes for a lot of close outs,” Lee said.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.