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This Bay is usually a deep-water cove, but every so often the sand fills in and the magic happens. All Photos: Bill Morris

A Different Spin

The introduction to our new mag.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Issue 594 is on stands now, available to purchase online or click here to subscribe and read all of Tracks premium content!

It’s generally accepted that we have now switched from a La Niña weather cycle to an El Nino pattern. For Australia that typically means warmer, drier conditions, and different swell patterns. However, according to scientists, El Niño also flips the spin cycle of water on east facing beaches from anti-clockwise to clockwise. One by-product of this reversed ocean rotation is a massive build up of sand on certain east coast stretches.

There is plenty of hard-packed evidence for the phenomenon. Shortly before our print deadline there were reports of dry sand fringing the notoriously difficult-to-negotiate Lennox Head Rocks. The infamous filmer behind schadenfreude-fuelled Instagram account, ‘Lennox Rocks’ must have been distraught. No longer could he film unschooled rock hoppers spilling blood and snapping fins as they tumbled into the Lennox lineup. Instead they had an inviting stroll into the shallows of one of Australia’s best waves. Alongside a photo of dry sand hugging the Lennox boulders the filmer, who finds pleasure in the misfortune of others quipped, “Lennox Rocks is currently on hold due to unfavourable conditions.”

On Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Narrabeen received a serious visit from The Sandman. According to a story in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ Narra’s beach had grown – 60 metres in less than a year. Perhaps a a welcome supply of golden grains for Narra’s fabled banks but that’s also a long, foot-blistering dash to get from the car park to the shoreline.

Across the bridge on Sydney’s Southside an innocuous cove had been transformed into a wedging wonderland thanks to a giant slug of sand. This particular nook provides a startling reminder that our coastlines can undergo radical transformation. Most of the time the bay is a dormant surf break, too deep for gravity to bend a swell into a a breaking wave. However, every few years the capricious Pacific decides to deposit megatons of sand in its rocky crevasses and create a beach where before there was only six feet of salt water. Surfers revel in the ephemeral slabbing left while the sunbaking masses frolic on the sand. The ever -present-threat that the whole enchanting scene might be washed away the next day seems to make the experience for both parties all the more precious.

Grayson Hinrichs capitalising on an ephemeral sand-bar in his Sydney backyard (same location as above).

These new frontiers of sand create impromptu stages for regular beach goers to parade upon, but in truth it’s the surfers who are at the coalface of all this ebb and flow. Beneath the surface, just beyond the shoreline, the shallow fringes of the continent are in a constant state of flux. Most of it is invisible to the naked eye, but when a swell grips the bottom and tosses violently over a sand-packed bank it’s the surfers who really have a visceral connection to the shifting bathymetry. To most others all this talk of El Niño, clockwise- rotating oceans and sand flow is just like a chapter from a high school geography book, but to surfers it’s a living reality, something felt in every bottom turn as a wave hugs a newly-formed bank. Maybe it’s a proud boast but to me it’s further evidence that surfers are more connected to the fluctuations of the earth, which also include wind, swell and tide. That’s my spin on it anyway.

Issue 594 is on stands now, available to purchase online or click here to subscribe and read all of Tracks premium content!

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A bi-monthly eclectic tome of tangible surfing goodness that celebrates all things surfing, delivered to your door!
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HAPPENINGS
Your portal to cultural events happening in and around the surfing sphere.
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