THE TEN BEST WAVES IN THE WORLD:SUPERBANK

posted by / Magazine / January 6, 2004

OK, this is weird. Five years ago the place wouldn’t have made our list — not because nobody had ever seen it, but because it literally DIDN’T EXIST. To comprehend the Superbank — a mile or more of almost dead straight sandbar stretching from the lava outcroppings of Snapper Rocks down to the artificial jetty of Kirra’s Second Groyne — is to appreciate a work of Nature accidentally enhanced by the work of Men. The Bank had its genesis in the decision by the local city fathers to “redirect” (i.e., dredge) drifting sand away from the Tweed Rivermouth a half-mile south of Snapper, in order to keep the river open for boating. The sand was given a free ticket straight to its natural destination — which meant that instead of an irregular, fragile {{{200}}} yards of sand off Snapper, there appeared a vast, hard, long and endlessly replenished runway to Heaven, down which poured the clean, green walls of southern Queensland water with . . .well, at times staggering perfection. Forever. Tuberides beyond 10 seconds are commonplace on a nice day. You can hit the lip and cut back. And more than any other of our Top Ten, the Superbank is rideable. Thanks to that sand bottom and warm water, the stoke factor of its line and length isn’t diminished by any horrible consequences. It’s a wave for you and me — and if you can bear to count the crowd — seemingly everyone else, too.

LOCATION: Just north of the NSW/Queensland border, eastern Australia
FIRST SURFED: Surfers were riding waves in southern Queensland in the 1920s; the Superbank took shape in 2001
MILESTONES: 1999: A ferocious challenge is mounted to the idea of dredging the Tweed rivermouth, led in part by (irony!) the Surfrider Foundation; 2001: With dredging a couple of months old, the first signs of the Bank are seen during a massive east groundswell; March 2002: The Quiksilver Pro focuses national and international attention on a till-then merely local phenomenon — Snapper boy Joel Parkinson wins; July 2002: Local Damon Harvey makes the Superbank official, riding a wave for four minutes from outside Snapper through to the beach at Kirra Point over a mile away — the mythical achievement makes national TV news; November 2002: Older longboard riders and swimmers from Rainbow Bay, mid-Bank, publicly protest against the sand which has turned their gentle rollers and swimming-pool zone into a rock-hard sand-bedded barrel section; March 2003: The Bank gets better, hosting another Quiksilver Pro and crowds of up to {{{300}}} surfers at a time; July 2003: The Bank peaks in brilliance during a flawless, 6-foot east groundswell.
HALL OF FAME: {{{Rabbit}}} Bartholomew, Mark Occhilupo, Joel Parkinson, Mick Fanning, Dean Morrison
LOCAL HEROES: Peter “Mont” Bryant, Michael Peterson, Sean “Reg” Riley, Jay Phillips
DID YOU KNOW? Rainbow Bay Surf Club, {{{100}}} yards from the takeoff, serves cold beer all day long.
Nick Carroll

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