Moderately hazardous: 4-6
Highly hazardous: 7-8
Extremely hazardous: 9-10
The beach (1591) faces almost due east and receives predominantly southerly swell averaging 1.5m. This has combined with the generally fine sand to produce a wide, low gradient high tide beach fronted by a 150 to 200m wide surf zone containing two bars. The inner bar is usually attached to the beach and, depending on wave conditions, may be continuous with a few rips or, during and following higher waves, cut by deep rip channels every 200 to 250m. A continuous deep trough parallels this bar, beyond which is the deeper outer bar that is cut by more widely spaced rips. In addition, permanent rips lie at the northern end at the Nerang entrance wall and at the sand bypassing jetty just to the south. Deep holes and a permanent rip run out by the wall, while there are strong tidal currents in the inlet. Toward the southern end, both the smaller North Nobby and larger South Nobby headlands also produce permanent rips to either side.
The eight surf lifesaving clubs and sixteen lifeguard towers attest to the potential hazards along this long beach. Rips are present whenever waves are breaking and deep rip channels may run out from the shoreline. Swim only in patrolled areas and avoid the rip holes and outer trough. Stay close inshore and on the attached portion of the bar.
Beach breaks extend the full length of the beach. Conditions are best on the outer bar, with a moderate swell and offshore winds. The Nerang entrance wall can produce some better quality bars and breaks. There are plans for Queensland's first surfing reef on the beach at Narrow Neck.
Beach fishing is a very popular pastime along the length of the beach, with conditions best when there are rips across the inner bar. The Nerang jetty and entrance wall are very popular spots to fish the channel or surf.
This is undoubtedly Australia's most heavily developed and utilised beach. It offers a huge range of accommodation, attractions and facilities, together with the surf lifesaving clubs and lifeguard towers, as well as 16km of beautiful beach and surf. However the surf is hazardous, so be careful as to when and where you swim.
- Formal parking area