Snapper is a point break, which as of 2007, forms the first part of the man-made “Superbank” surf break.
Since 1995 the Tweed River sand bypass system has pumped sand from the Tweed River mouth to beaches to the north to ensure the river mouth is safe for shipping, and to stabilise coastal erosion north of the river. This has resulted in a large build-up of sand between Snapper Rocks to Kirra, which as of 2007, has extended the beaches in this area seawards around 100-200m, and created a new, world-class sandbar surf break called “the Superbank”. A single wave at the The Superbank has reportedly been ridden for a distance of 1.97 kilometres (1.22 mi), all the way from Snapper Rocks to Kirra, although for this to occur on a single wave is extremely rare.
The Superbank extends from Snapper Rocks Point, through Rainbow Bay, Greenmount Point, Coolangatta Beach, and Kirra, for a distance of around 2 kilometres (1.2 mi). Multiple barrel sections can now occur at any point along this length. The quality of the surf in the first 4 of these sections has markedly improved since the 1990s, and is now of legendary quality, creating one of the longest, hollowest and best waves in the world. However, the quality of the last section, Kirra, which has long been regarded as one of the world’s best waves prior to the formation of the Superbank, has suffered. There have been calls to modify aspects of the sand bypass system to attempt to restore Kirra to its former quality, although exactly how this is to be done is not clear. It is possible that an optimum, medium build-up of sand (such as was reportedly the state in the early 2000s) may create the longest and best waves over the entire length, including Kirra.
The sheer quality of the man-made wave has greatly increased the level of surf tourism in the region, which has also resulted in extreme crowding of the wave. On a good day, over 500 surfers can be counted over the 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) distance, with multiple drop-ins, and an aggressive atmosphere.