Event Update | May 30
Well, what a devastating weekend it was for everyone involved. We know how much time, energy and money has gone into your preparation, so we really do understand how frustrating this cancellation was.
Firstly, I just want to provide you with some background on Thursday’s decision, so you fully understand our position leading into the weekend.
Earlier in the week, the forecast was very favourable for Saturday, so both our team and local authorities were very optimistic. By Wednesday, the swell forecast for Saturday / Sunday was starting to show very little sign of improving, so after consultation with our local authorities, we made some changes to the format and provided the update via our website and email that afternoon.
The requirements in our aquatic event permit to operate the event are very strict when it comes to boating conditions. On Thursday, with the significant swell height already over 1.8m and trending beyond 2.0m, our permit to operate the event was about to be revoked, so we made the decision to cancel the event then, rather than wait until later that day or Friday morning. The conditions that eventuated on Friday were then beyond what we are permitted to operate in, so the decision would have been taken out of our hands with less than 24 hours to go.
This year we had a number of contingency sites, including local lakes, but due to the rainfall in the weeks prior, the water quality ruled these out as an option.
We are aware of several swimmers and paddlers who still attempted a long swim, some of which were successful, however the day didn’t end well for one support paddler who sustained very serious injuries in the surf. Conditions appeared very calm because of the lack of wind, but surf conditions were still extremely powerful along the open beaches.
Some of you have a wealth of surf swimming and boating experience to draw on and are capable of assessing the conditions for yourself, however many aren’t and they rely on us to make decisions that keep them safe. That duty of care and responsibility will always be something we take very seriously.
Below we have outlined the refund process from here.
Although we have strict conditions in our Participant Agreement surrounding refunds when late changes are necessary, we always want to offer you something.
We realise that our refund offer below is not the full entry fee you paid, but when we have to postpone, just days before the event, almost all event expenses are paid for in full and entry fees contribute to these costs. Unfortunately, some of our costs cannot be recovered or carried forward, so a full refund is just not possible.
We realise that many of you will need to see some improvements for 2023 in order to enter again, so we want you to know that a number changes are being proposed that will provide you with more certainty around your swim. This may include the time of year, stand-by days, support boat requirements and new race formats not previously offered.
At this stage, without any certainty around the 2023 event format, we cannot offer a credit or deferral.
Event Cancellation | May 26, 11:34am
This morning we have spoken with all emergencies services and local authorities. Unfortunately, everyone agrees that conditions will not improve enough to stage a safe event on Saturday.
The decision has now been made to cancel the event and we know how devastating this news is for everyone, including your support crews.
We realise that many for you are on the Gold Coast already and this decision comes too late to change any travel plans. As much as we would have liked to make a decision earlier so you were not inconvenienced, we had to wait until today so we could assess actual conditions against the forecast, then compare that with the model expected for this weekend. We always want to give an event every chance to continue, but at this point we know the likelihood of conditions improving significantly is extremely low.
Although the strong winds are set to ease, the swell is expected to remain around 2.0m along the open beaches and coastal bars. This alone makes it unsafe for your support boats and without them, you cannot swim.
Over the next few days we will contact every participant and advise of the process from here. It is unlikely the event will be rescheduled for 2022.
Thanks again for all of your support for this event and we really do feel for everyone who has worked so hard to prepare. We hope we can make it happen for you in future.
World Series Swims
Event Update | Wednesday May 25th, 2:45pm
Like everyone, we’re watching the forecast closely for this weekend. There is currently a strong swell hitting all Gold Coast beaches and coastal bars and this is unlikely to change much before event day.
Fortunately, the strong winds are set to ease, so we expect swimming conditions to improve significantly along the coast.
At this stage, our greatest consideration leading in Saturday is the ability of each Skipper to participate safely. There will still be a strong Easterly swell and this may produce potentially hazardous conditions on all coastal bars.
Based on current conditions and the forecast, we feel it will be extremely challenging for inexperienced skippers, this includes those that are unfamiliar with local conditions. We urge every Skipper to evaluate their own ability and discuss scenarios with their swimmers now that may prevent them from participating.
Our partners, Maritime Safety QLD, will provide further direction for Skippers at our Safety Briefings on Thursday and Friday evenings.
Based on current conditions and the forecast for Saturday, conditions at Surfers Paradise will not be suitable to offer a beach finish as planned.
The decision has now been made to use our Contingency Finish (offshore). Please read our Event Handbook which provides basic directions for this. We will provide more information on this at our Safety Briefings on Thursday & Friday evening.
Solo swimmers – you will need to make arrangements with your Skipper to have a change of clothes and personal belongings onboard when you complete your offshore finish. Any bags dropped at the start will be transported back to Surfers Paradise by event staff for you to collect when you return.
Our Event Shuttle will run continuously from Seaworld Drive Boat Ramp to Surfers Paradise Surf Club form 12pm – 5pm.
We will also continue to assess conditions for our Start Lane at Coolangatta Beach. Kirra Beach is our Contingency Start location and this may be necessary. This will be determined before the Friday evening Safety Briefings.
We’ll be posting further updates to this website page and also our Swim the Gold Coast Facebook page – please check both for regular updates.