The end of Surfers Paradise?

HAVE you been to Surfers lately?

Gone for a dip in the ocean, walked along the beach, strolled through the Friday night markets or taken in the spectacular view from the top of a sky-rise hotel?

If not, you may want to get your hustle on.


The many sensational aspects of Surfers Paradise that we take for granted may have a shelf life, according to Bond University Professor Mike Raybould, who warns that global warning and severe erosion may see the shoreline recede by up to 50m.

Broadbeach is at risk, too.

What’s worse is that there’s little we can do to protect our vulnerable tourism drawcards from being eroded into oblivion.

Raybould says that current efforts to replenish our beaches will do their job for the next 20 or 30 years, but “towards the end of the century when we start to get massive storms every year, the cost to do that is going to become prohibitive”.

“There’s going to come a point where we have to make decisions about which beaches we’re going to protect and invest in and the more reliable beaches are [more protected] places like Burleigh and Coolangatta,” Raybould tells the Bulletin.

“We have to make strategic decisions about protecting these and frankly, sacrificing Surfers Paradise.’’

And then?

We’ll have to find other places to get our recreation on. Raybould believes the Council should focus on transforming Hinze Dam into a recreational wonderland, as an alternative to when “there’s no beach left at Surfers Paradise”.

What a dismal thought. Don’t get me wrong – Hinze Dam is lovely. I’ve been there a couple of times for lunch and a lakeside walk. But it’s no match for the draw of the sun, surf, sand and snacks on offer in Surfers Paradise, and I can’t imagine luring tourists in from as far as Europe and the Americas with the promise of a fun family day out as a giant residential reservoir.

It’s not going to happen overnight, of course. Prof Raybould, who has studied the cost of beach erosion for the last 15 years, expects between 20m and 50m of sand to be stripped from our favourite beaches by the end of the century.

That means we have around 80 years of coastal frolicking in our city’s most famous beach, give or take.

Better make the most of it, then. Beach this weekend, anyone?