For Gold Coast surfers hoping to get a taste of the picture-perfect rights that Kirra used to produce, the dream was over before they could even wiggle into their wetsuits. Barely two weeks after surfing icon Rabbit Bartholomew and Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate addressed media representatives at the site of the new Kirra groyne, the $800,000 project has been put on hold due to the Gold Coast City Council’s failure to secure the necessary approvals. Brett Glosko, acting Regional Manager of the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, confirmed that the rebuilding of “Big Groyne,” which was instrumental in producing Kirra’s famed point waves, is being postponed because the city council dropped the ball on the approval process. Mayor Tate, on the other hand, is blaming the government for unnecessarily holding up the popular rebuilding project which was originally scheduled for completion by December. In Tate’s mind, further approval for the rebuilding process doesn’t make much sense.
While heavy machinery and building materials sit unused at the construction site, local surfers will have to wait to see if the rebuilding project is successful in returning Kirra to its legendary status. At its best, Kirra was known for producing leg-burning barrels that would sometimes stretch 400 yards from Big Groyne to Little Groyne. Of course, this type of perfection also draws a crowd and Kirra featured a line-up as packed as any. On a good day, it wasn’t uncommon to see 200 surfers or more in the water, jockeying for position and dropping in on one another with reckless abandon. However, since the removal of about 30 meters of length from Big Groyne in 1995, Kirra has never been the same. Adding insult to injury in 2001 was the Tweed River sand bypass project which eventually led to the complete burial of Little Groyne in 2003.
What once seemed to be a cause for celebration among Queensland surfers now feels more like a cruel joke and a tease. For the sake of surfers everywhere, let’s hope that Kirra is returned to the flawless barrel machine it once was. Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later.