King tide makes its mark on region

By Simon Hendery

The beach along Marine Parade in Napier was closed for swimming but not for taking photos. Photo/Warren Buckland
The beach along Marine Parade in Napier was closed for swimming but not for taking photos. Photo/Warren Buckland

A combination of king tides, heavy swells and high winds made beach life a misery for many at the weekend.

But the heavy conditions were a boon for some, who took advantage of the pounding being unleashed on the region's coastline.

The "no swimming" signs went up on Napier's Marine Parade yesterday to ensure bathers stayed away from the dangerous beach, but just around the Port to the north, surfers and board riders were enjoying unusually good waves off Hardinge Road.

Further south, predicted 4m waves at Ocean Beach on Saturday forced the cancellation of the Junior Surf Carnival.

At Clifton, an ongoing seaside erosion troublespot, a new $200,000 80m-long limestone sea wall, installed late last year, stood up well to one of its first tests against strong seas.

Water swamped part of the southern end of the Clifton motor camp but camp manager Bob Pollock said despite the high seas, the new wall was doing its job effectively.

"We've done alright. As far as damage, we've come out virtually unscathed. I slept okay [on Saturday night]."

Coastguard duty officer Keith Nicoll said the service experienced a quiet weekend with the swells and wet weather keeping people out of the water, although they had noticed more surfers than usual off Hardinge Road.

The seasonal king tides occur when the gravitational effects of the sun and moon are in a particular alignment that causes higher than usual tides.

A Metservice spokesman said the impact of king tides could be intensified by a low pressure system, such as the one that had been affecting Hawke's Bay's weather over recent days and was also responsible for the winds in the region.

The weekend's wet weather had a mixed impact on events in the region.

Turnout at the annual Valley Vibes music festival was just over 500, event organiser Greg Miller said, well down on the maximum of 1000 the Linden Estate Winery venue, at Eskdale, was licensed for.

Mr Miller said attendees came dressed for the wet weather enjoyed the line-up of artists despite a deluge of rain at the end of the night as P Money was performing.

The annual Pask Winery Great Late Long Lunch was moved indoors and away from its traditional Marine Parade outdoor venue for the third time in four years on Saturday. Pask operations manager and winemaker Russell Wiggins said the change of venue did not dampen the event's atmosphere.

The regional forecast was set to improve over the next couple of days with a high pressure system bringing fine settled weather to the Bay.

Other North Island surfers were forced to wait before hitting the surf yesterday as king tides overwhelmed some shores.

Large tides brought the tide in so high some lifeguards had no room to put their flags up.

Whangamata Beach closed for an hour in the morning, while Waihi Beach was also temporarily off limits.

Mt Maunganui Beach head lifeguard Sam Shergold said they had a quiet day despite the sunny conditions.

A northern coastguard communications spokeswoman said there had been several incidents on the water, but none were related to the king tides.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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