How The Superbank Works

Since the dawn of time, humans have had an eminent knack for improving on what nature has made readily available for us. Nature gave us New York, humans made it a city. Nature gave us sugarcane, humans fermented it into rum and then baked it into cookies when they were hungover in that awful equatorial heat the next morning. Nature gave us a swell-ridden Gold Coast and few points — Snapper, Greenmount and Kirra used to be three different waves — then humans went ahead and finished that project by creating the Superbank.

The Superbank.

It won’t help you with your 401K very much, but it might give you a wave that’ll make you forget about the idea of money entirely and believe that saving for retirement is a giant sham — who constructed that notion anyway?

And more importantly, who built the Superbank? One of Coolangatta’s finest filmmakers — and a man who is very tuned into the ebb and flow of the sand — Simon “Shagga” Saffigna broke it down for us. The explanation is well worth the investment of your time.


It all started with a dredge. They used to dredge out at the inlet of the Tweed River so that boats could safely go out and come in, then they would pump all the sand they took from there out and put it in front of Snapper. So the Superbank wasn’t an intentional creation. With time, they realized how good it was for surfing and tourism so they set up a bypass system where the sand can filter through on its own. They have pipes at D-Bah and pipes at Froggies and whenever the sand is getting a bit funky, they’ll just start pumping the sand and it will all filter around the corner.

It’s good and it’s bad. It’s good because we get great waves but it’s bad because it messed with Kirra for a while. I think that once you start messing with it, you set yourself up for a ton of work. You have to constantly think about it and then try to figure out what to do and when to do it. There have been university studies done to figure out what’s the best method to get the best waves and there are also guys like Rabbit that are on the city council and have some say in it. It’s a lot of effort, man. But I think no matter how much work they put into pumping the sand, Mother Nature is always going to have her way with it and have the final say.

Not satisfied? Need more? Find the full Radical Times Gold Coast experience below.


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