Swimmers cop spinal and shoulder injuries

There were spinal injuries and multiple shoulder dislocations in rough surf conditions at the weekend.
There were spinal injuries and multiple shoulder dislocations in rough surf conditions at the weekend. John Mccutcheon

ON THE Sunshine Coast, the surf was spectacular, but it was also punishing.

For swimmers braving the water there were multiple reports of spinal injuries and dislocated shoulders.

For Zac Epstein the result was a video equal parts painful and funny - kind-of like an Australia's Funniest Home Videos of surfing.

Zac was out at Flat Rock and Boiling Pot at Noosa at the weekend filming the scores of surfers out to grab their slice of the "swell of the decade".

Unfortunately, for a few of them it was the swell that grabbed them, right before it pounded them into the sand or flung them off rock platforms.

Surfing royalty came from all over the country to get a slice of the action as the epic swells generated by Cyclone Winston pounded the Coast.

But it seems so did almost every other surfer in south-east Queensland.

Local surfers were able to rub shoulders with the likes of Taj Burrows, Julian Wilson, Gary Elkerton and Soli Bailey as they joined the hundreds who flocked to Double Island Point, Noosa and a host of other popular breaks.

Cyclone Winston hadn't behaved like its category five predecessors, which Mr Elkerton said usually whipped up surf along the Coast for about a week.

Instead, the swell had peaked late Friday and early Saturday and dropped off Sunday.

Local expert Robbie Sherwell said the word had quickly spread that Double Island had been the place to be on Friday for the cleanest breaks, leading to more than 500 carloads of surfers arriving on Saturday.

"When they arrived to surf that was only waist height, there was a bitter disappointment for a lot of people who had come up from interstate," he said. "The pro surfers were just devastated."

Mr Sherwell said waves peaked at just over 9ft on Saturday, well short of the swells that had been predicted.

But the dream run had come to an end, with surf dropping back to 5ft by Sunday. The swell steadily decreased yesterday back to a max of 1.5m.

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