'Powerful And Unstable': Beachgoers Urged To Stay Safe Amid Massive Swells

28/02/2016 8:47 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
Mark Nolan via Getty Images
SHELLHARBOUR, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 20: Large swells roll in off Red Sands Beach at Bass Point, brought about by a low pressure system of the South Coast of New South Wales on June 20, 2007 in Shellharbour, Australia. The Bureau of Meteorology has lifted a severe weather alert that warned of gale force winds across the regions, although it is still predicting dangerous surf conditions. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Beachgoers are being warned to stay clear of the water as big swells continue to batter large swathes of the east coast, causing the closure of more than 40 Queensland beaches.

Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) said all Gold Coast beaches were closed on Sunday due to what it described as "powerful and unstable conditions".

"All Gold Coast beaches will be closed again ... with dangerous conditions set to continue, and we strongly urge everyone to stay out of the water," SLSQ said on its Facebook page.

On the Sunshine Coast, all open beaches are closed save for Coolum and Noosa.

The decision to close beaches comes after a number of rescues in big swells on Saturday including a kite surfer who was winched to safety by helicopter and two people who were treated for spinal injuries at Noosa beach.

The rough conditions, including waves of up to 2.28 metres, have been whipped up by ex-Tropical Cyclone Winston, the destructive storm cell that devastated Fiji last week, killing at least 40 people.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said a severe weather warning remained in place for southeast Queensland due to Winston, which is tracking about 500 kilometres east northeast of Bundaberg.

"Dangerous surf conditions and significant beach erosion is no longer occurring, however large and powerful surf is still expected along beaches south of Sandy Cape for the remainder of today," BoM said.

"The system should continue to weaken today, with waves gradually decreasing along the southern Queensland coast."

Weatherzone meteorologist Tristan Meyers said conditions were easing but care still needed to be taken.

"We'll see waves not as big but still very large, reaching the 2.5 metre range in some areas so you need top be very careful in going down to the beach," Meyers told Macquarie Radio.

Conditions at NSW beaches are also treacherous, with swimmers urged to exercise high caution.

Surf Life Saving NSW's Andy Kent said rock fishermen and those taking coastal walks close to the water’s edge were especially at risk.

Kent urged the public to take the warnings seriously.

“Please if you have any doubt about your ability to handle the conditions it is best not to go out,” he said.

“Even southern facing beaches that would usually offer some shelter could still potentially experience these conditions so we’re advising the public to stay safe by swimming at a patrolled location.”

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