Surfers Paradise beach (1591C) is Queensland's best known beach. A lifesaving reel was placed on the beach in 1921 and the Surfers Paradise Surf Life Saving Club founded in 1924. Today it lies at the heart of the Gold Coast tourist trade and is frequently visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world. This 2 km section of beach is backed by a fenced foredune, with numerous access tracks, The Esplanade and the most highly developed section of the Australian coast. The surf club (Fig. 4.143) and three lifeguard towers watch over this rip dominated beach.
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 16 km of beautiful beach and surf. However the surf is hazardous, so be careful as to when and where you swim.