Foam the only legacy as Cronulla beaches escape destruction

A mass of thick foam covered the Esplanade, rock pools and beach at Cronulla following Sunday's extreme weather.

A few early morning swimmers on Monday attempted their normal routine, but it was heavy going.

Cronulla beaches were pounded by a big swell, waves of four to five metres and powerful winds.

On Sunday, waves were breaking over the Esplanade between Cronulla and North Cronulla, causing the council to close the walkway.

Zimzala restaurant, on the Esplanade at Cronulla beach, prepared for the worst, moving equipment to higher levels early Sunday.

But high tide at 9.08am passed with no repeat of the situation in 2016 when waves broke over the Esplanade and washed heavy, unsecured wooden benches into the walls of the restaurant.

Zimzala owner Ray Nelson said they made a decision at 9am to close for the remainder of Sunday.

"The swell is still threatening and we could get some freak waves, but the situation is not like 2016, thankfully," he said.

"At high tide, we saw a couple of backwashes that went into the outdoor area of the restaurant, but that's nothing really."