Giant wave sets record off the coast

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
The new wave buoy installed by UWA off Sandpatch.
Camera IconThe new wave buoy installed by UWA off Sandpatch. Credit: UWA

A wave taller than a two-storey building recorded during massive swells last month could be the biggest ever off Albany.

The 13m wave, recorded on July 17 about 1.3km off the coast, is believed to be the highest ever reported wave for the town.

It was measured by one of two new University of Western Australia wave energy buoys, which were installed off Sand Patch near the wind farm on July 10.

The new buoys record wave strength and size, which scientists will use to design efficient and strong future wave energy devices.

UWA Wave Energy Research Centre chief investigator Jeff Hansen said knowing how rough the ocean could get was vital in wave energy technology.

“Basically it helps us understand the average wave conditions and what the extreme conditions are, in our collaboration with Carnegie (Clean Energy) so they can design the device to not only optimally extract energy during average conditions but more importantly survive extreme conditions,” he said.

The buoys were purchased and installed using money from a State Government grant.

Dr Hansen said because it was State-funded, the information would be made publicly available online — and it could provide the first real-time information for boat users and surfers.

“Because it’s in real time and it’s publicly available, people can go and see how the waves are right away,” he said.

The website is expected to be live within weeks and will be accessible through werc.uwa.edu.au.

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