GALLERY: South Coast surfers relish storm swell 

Big swells kept the majority of Illawarra beaches closed this weekend – but that didn’t stop intrepid surfers from diving in.

Surf Life Saving Illawarra duty officer Lachlan Pritchard said  by lunchtime on Saturday, all the region’s beaches had been closed due to dangerous conditions.

‘‘At most beaches there’s four to five foot of south-easterly swell, which is causing a lot of water movement and plenty of rips,’’ he said.

‘‘Conditions are very bumpy and there’s also a bit of sea foam about due to the size of the waves, while visibility is very poor in the water.

‘‘People have mostly kept out of the water – apart from very experienced surfers – and so there have been no rescues required.

‘‘But we are out in force, trying to educate people and get those surfers and others who decide to get in the water to stay close to shore.’’

Mr Pritchard said conditions had been pretty dicey for the past week, as the weather system that was formerly tropical cyclone Oswald lashed the coast.

‘‘Beaches are closed for a reason,’’ he said.

 Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Tim Constable said  showers should continue on Monday and Tuesday, before mostly sunny conditions midweek, and then showers again into the weekend.

‘‘We are in the middle of the eastern NSW thunderstorm season so there’s more wet weather and storms to come,’’ he said.

The massive swells are  caused by persistent easterly to south-easterly winds that have travelled over quite a large distance across the Tasman Sea.

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