La Nina On Her Way To Oz

The Gold Coast of Australia, the first stop on the 2008 ASP World Tour, has been hammered by large swell in recent weeks. Unfortunately, the abundance of waves has also adversely affected the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast main event site at Snapper Rocks.

"Since New Year's we have had multiple swell, storm and even flood events which have ripped the sand out of Snapper," ASP President Wayne "{{{Rabbit}}}" Bartholomew said. "Two weeks ago I was still concerned, but desirable conditions have since cooperated in streaming sand back into Snapper and with another week's pumping I think we will be okay."

“Early forecasts indicate that the La Nia* conditions, prevalent on the Coast since January, should stick around and that there could be some serious swell on tap for the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast pres. by LG waiting period, which begins this Saturday, February 23, 2008.”

"If the Quiksilver Pro receives a nice east swell like last year, I'm confident that Snapper will perform," Bartholomew said. "That said there are some quality back-up mobile sites as part of the event contingency, including Rainbow Bay, Super Bank/Kirra and Duranbah, as well as Burleigh to the north."

Burleigh hosted elite ASP World Tour events for years and Duranbah was the back-up site utilized for the Quiksilver Pro in 2006.

Local surfer and ASP World No. 4 Joel Parkinson (AUS) won the event at Snapper Rocks in 2002 and is crossing his fingers that Snapper sets itself up again this year.

"We have had all of this swell and even though it was so much fun I almost wish we hadn't had it because it's wreaked havoc on the banks." Parkinson said. "I surfed Snapper a week and a half ago when there was a solid groundswell and it was really fun, but that's the only time I've surfed it in the last six weeks. I love Snapper so I hope we get to surf there."

Parkinson, like fellow 'Coolangatta Kids' reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) and Dean Morrison (AUS), grew up within walking distance of the famed Snapper Rocks. ASP World Tour surfers Bede Durbidge (AUS), Luke Munro (AUS), Jay Thompson (AUS), Daniel Wills (AUS) and Kieren Perrow (AUS), also live within a short drive of the venue.

Julian Wilson (AUS) and Michel Bourez (PYF) were awarded automatic wildcards into the event and the third and final wildcard will be given to the winner of the Kommunity Project Trials to be held on Friday, February 21, 2008.

The 16 trialists competing are Dale Richards (AUS), Clay Marzo (HAW), Chris Salisbury (AUS), Troy Brooks (AUS), Garrett Parkes (AUS), Alain Riou (PYF), Ry Craike (AUS), Shane Bevan (AUS), Tamaroa McComb (PYF), Jadson Andre (BRA), Trevor Tripcony (AUS), Corey Ziems (AUS), Jay Phillips (AUS), Mitch Coleburn (AUS) and Blake Ainsworth (AUS).

Visit to watch the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast LIVE!

Taj Burrow will be in top form for Round 1 of the Quiksilver Pro

*About La Nia – courtesy of Ben Macartney at Coastalwatch It's worth digressing to give a short lesson on La Nia conditions, which have been prevalent across northern Australia and the Pacific since November 2007.

La Nia conditions are denoted by positive values of the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) which calculates seasonal fluctuations in air pressure between Tahiti and Darwin.

La Nia's opposite, El Nino, is often associated with drought conditions across much of Australia and less than average convection often leads to extended periods of low swell across the East Coast over the summer months.

Conversely La Nia is typically associated with increased convection, higher rainfall and a higher probability of swell growth across our easterly swell window stemming from:

• Warmer sea surface temperatures across northern Australian longitudes
• A greater than average number of tropical cyclones and tropical lows in our swell window
• Stronger than average easterly trade winds across the Pacific Ocean

The short of it is we're now in the midst of a mature La Nia event that's expected to carry through to Autumn. La Nia conditions often equate to good surfing conditions and this season so far is a good case in point.

We've already seen a series of powerful swell events of tropical origins including two tropical cyclones in the Coral Sea and South Pacific, resulting in extended periods of easterly swell throughout January and early February, punctuated by shorter range south and south-easterly episodes originating across the southern Tasman.

Renewed activity over the coming weeks:
Along with La Nia conditions we can also expect a renewed active phase of the northern Australian monsoon leading to increased convection and a higher probability of cyclogenesis across the Coral Sea and South Pacific in the next few weeks.

So far this season the west to east path of these active phases has been tracked as it propagates across the Indian Ocean, Australia and the South Pacific in forty to fifty day intervals.

The focus of tropical convection now lies across northern Australia and in line with this a tropical low off the northwest coast of WA deepened into a cyclone this week.

In the next two to three weeks the focus of this activity should move into the Coral Sea and South Pacific and in light of recent events and the mature La Nia, it's fair to say there's a high chance we'll see a tropical low or cyclone impacting our E swell window late February/ early March.