A male surfer drowned 500m north of the patrolled area at Sunshine Beach. Police and surf lifesavers at the Sunshine Beach SLSC. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily
A male surfer drowned 500m north of the patrolled area at Sunshine Beach. Police and surf lifesavers at the Sunshine Beach SLSC. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily Brett Wortman

Lifesavers issue warning to beachgoers after surfer death

DUMPING waves on the Sunshine Coast shoreline are expected to continue catching swimmers off guard for weeks to come.

The long weekend had beachgoers out in force, but with increased crowd numbers came more injuries in the surf - most from dumping waves.

Tragically, Brisbane surfer Jack Cranstoun died at Sunshine Beach on Sunday.

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The 26-year-old was knocked unconscious while riding waves on a shallow sandbank 80m offshore, between the surf club and the flagged area.

At least three people suffered a dislocated shoulder, others suffered neck pain and were taken to hospital as a precaution, and at least 25 rescues were performed over the three days.

Lifeguards have warned swimmers to know their limits and always swim between the flags, no matter how calm the surf can appear.

Surf Lifesaving Queensland regional manager Aaron Purchase said lifesavers who tried to save Mr Cranstoun's life were still reeling from the accident.

"The conditions haven't been perfect the past few days, but we've had great weather and things are getting busier as the weather warms up," Mr Purchase said.

"The more people at the beach the more likely it will be to see more drama."

Sunshine Coast Lifeguard Service southern supervisor Rhys Drury said a deep inshore gutter was causing dumping waves to develop close to shore, particularly at Mooloolaba Beach.

He said half of the injuries from dumping waves on the Sunshine Coast occurred at the popular tourist beach.

"Pretty much along the whole Coast there is this really deep inshore gutter break, which can happen from time to time," Mr Drury said.

"Unless there is big swell or a wind shift, this gutter will hang around for weeks.

"People should read the noticeboards to get more information about the conditions and know their limits.

"Just because the flags are up, it doesn't mean it's completely safe. Flagged areas can still be unstable ... but the point is the lifeguards will be watching that area."



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