Sydney storm forces Bondi surfers to take cover under boards to escape hail
Swimmers and surfers at Bondi Beach managed to largely escape injury after getting caught out in Sydney’s hailstorm yesterday, but the boards they used for shelter may be worse for wear.
While residents of the Harbour City ran for cover in the CBD as suburbs were pelted with hail, beachgoers were left with few options.
Spot Anderson, who owns and runs Bondi Fit Training, was out with a teenager for swimming training when one storm rolled across. When the weather appeared to have settled down, the pair decided to enter the water.
But before long, hail began to pound the beach.
Mr Anderson said surfers in the water nearby used their boards for cover.
“We didn’t have anywhere to go,” he said.
“It was either make a run for it up towards the lifeguard tower, or they offered to have us under their board, which was pretty cool.”
The group waited it out in the ocean as Mr Anderson used a GoPro to take photos and videos.
Some Sydney suburbs were hit with hailstones up to 8 centimetres in size, while parts of Surry Hills, closer to Bondi, received hail about half that size.
Mr Anderson took shelter under an accommodating surfer’s board. (Supplied: Bondi Fit Training)
The hail was large enough to smash car windows, but Mr Anderson said nobody in their group was badly injured.
“Most people just scattered,” he said.
“It actually hit my hands, because my hands were on the rails of the board. It hurt a bit, but it was more funny.
“We all got whacked in the head. I’m pretty sure the guy who owned the board would have had some good sized dings in his board.”
Some wildlife was not so lucky.
“I saw a seagull which had pretty much had its wing ripped off, which is a bit sad,” Mr Anderson said.
A NSW Ambulance spokesman said no beachgoers were treated in the Bondi area.
It was also not the first time Mr Anderson — a long–time swim coach who has previously worked with Olympic athletes — was caught in a hailstorm while in the ocean.
He recalled another dramatic storm about 10 years ago during which he used a surf life-saving board as shelter.
“It looked like snow down at the beach,” he said.