Guest post by Alex Johnson
Whether you’re new to surfing or experienced in the art of wave-riding, you’ll still probably understand the importance of finding a beach with a decent break and quality waves. It’s no surprise then that thousands of surfers from around the globe head down under in the search of a catching perfect waves each year.
Australia boasts some of the world’s best beaches for surf, and its combination of white sand, blue water and Aussie heat makes the ideal setting for a strong surf culture. Australia has also birthed world pros like Mick Fanning and Sally Fitzgibbons, as well a number of many other surfing legends, inducted in the Surfing Australia Hall of Fame.
In this article, we look at the best surf beaches across the Australian state of New South Wales, who are holding a number of action-packed surf events and festivals this Australian Summer. The following NSW beaches are all recognised by the National Surfing Reserves as Dedicated Reserves, defined by the NSR as ‘iconic’ places of intrinsic environmental, heritage, sporting and cultural value to a nation (specifically in regards to the surfing world). Check out where you can get your next best surf in NSW below.
Maroubra Beach, South Sydney
Kicking off the list with one of Sydney’s most iconic and historically rich beaches (and no we’re not talking about Bondi), Maroubra Beach is undoubtedly one of the best in surf. In fact, the “Bra” was recognised for its quality breaks and was the first in Australia to be dedicated by the National Surfing Reserve, back in March 2006.
Only a short distance from Sydney’s CBD, as well as many other of Eastern Sydney’s popular beaches (such as La Perouse, Coogee, Tamara, Bronte, and so on), you’ll know you’ve arrived at Maroubra when you’ve spotted the giant Rubik’s Cube on its sandy shore.
Maroubra typically welcomes surfers of any level, from expert to beginner, with its surfing community a strongly advocating for new talent, as well as being home to a number of surfing clubs and two surf life saving clubs. It is the longest beach in the Eastern Suburbs, giving you more room to play and is a great get away spot from the crowds of tourists that you find at other popular Sydney beaches.
Crescent Head, North Coast
If you want to experience one of the best right-hand point breaks in the world, then head to Crescent Head, a beach-side community located on the North Coast of NSW. From Main beach down to Killick Beach, there’s a world of choice for surfers at Crescent Head. Be sure to pack your longboard as well, as it’s Australia’s breeding ground for longboard surfing.
The history of Crescent Head is far from boring, becoming a well worn trail for surfers following World War II. On top of this, John Westaway was the first to use a surfboard at the famous point break in the 1950s, after obtaining permission to use a surfboard from the Kempsey – Crescent Head SLSC.
Surfers at Crescent Head can expect to enjoy a truly unique right hand break and rides with decent lengths. With consistent wave formation, it is also suitable for all levels of surfing. If you want to get in on the action at Crescent Head, you can also attend the Malibu Classic, held every May at Killick Beach.
Merewether Beach, Newcastle
Merewether is one of the most iconic surfing beaches in Newcastle. Its coastline stretches over a mile long, from Dixon Park in the north, to Burwood Beach in the south. It has been ranked as one of the most loved of all Australia’s surfing breaks, with even the Novocastrian surfing crew branding it the undisputed ‘Crown Jewel’.
The surf at Merewether is a must see (and do), with its combination of rock shelves and reefs deeming it surfable at almost any time, on any tide, in any swell, wind or size. Even ask Mark ‘MR’ Richards, the 4 time world surfing champion, who mastered the sport of surfing riding the waves at Merewether.
If that’s not reason enough to visit, Merewether will also be one of the main event locations for Surfest Newcastle Australia 2018, Australia’s biggest surfing festival. Celebrating it’s 33rd anniversary, this is one event you won’t want to miss.
Manly-Freshwater Beach, North Sydney
Located in Sydney’s North, the Manly National Surfing Reserve includes all the beaches that stretch over the 4 kilometers (approx. 2.5 miles) starting from Freshwater down to Shelly Beach, including the famous Manly beach. You might need to catch a ferry to get across there from Sydney’s CBD, but it’s a worthwhile trip if you want to check out the birthplace of surfing in Australia.
This area not only has some of the most popular beach breaks, but has seen some of the most iconic moments in Australia’s surfing history on its sand and water. It was the first site to rid its ban on daylight bathing and established Sydney’s first surf club in 1903, as well as saw the first body surfing & surf boat in 1907.
Other notable moments include Duke’s Kahanamoku’s famous board surfing demonstration in 1915, at Freshwater beach, and the first world surfing championships in 1964 at Manly beach – two events which have inspired many young Aussies to get into surf life.
Cronulla Beach, South Sydney
Cronulla beach is a premier surf spots down in the Southern suburbs of Sydney, known as the “Shire”. It is home to former world champion surfers such as Mark Occhilupo, who learnt his tricks and skills growing up at Cronulla beach. Whether you’re after a soft, easy beach break, or more bigger, world-class waves, you’ll find it at Cronulla.
“Nulla”, as it’s more affectionately called, is known for more than just its famous surf breaks, playing a major part in the development of Australian surf lifesaving. As a result of one fatality caused by drowning in the surf, lead to the formation of the Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club in 1908, and a number of other surf lifesaving clubs followed not longer after.
Like in Manly, Hawaiian Olympic swimming champion, Duke Kahanmaoko, made surfing look easy in his boardriding demonstration at Cronulla beach in 1915. The invasion of Californian surfers at Cronulla Point also paved the way for the popularity of shorter, lighter Malibu boards, where were more maneuverable and easier to carry around.
Lennox Head, North Coast
For more experienced surfers who are looking for a challenge, you’ll want to bring your surfboard down to Lennox Head, just north of Ballina. Thrill-seeking surfers can expect to find a point break at Lennox that is admirable for both its power and size – surf it if you dare.
The famous breaks at Lennox Head have been surfed since the late 1950s, and the impressive area has been shaped into what it is today thanks to the eruption of the volcano “Mount Warning”, some 23 million years ago. Today, locals and visitors alike, have aptly named the area the “Mighty Impressive”.
South of the area lies Flat Rock, with its intertidal rock platform it provides opportunities to ride some seriously big waves, but only breaking on rare occasions. However, many newbies have experienced their first surf at “Flattie”, enjoying normally much gentler waves. On the backside of Lennox point is Boulder beach, which holds a reasonably big swell and isn’t one for the inexperienced with its rocky shore and tricky entry points.
Killalea State Park – “The Farm” and “Mystics” Beach, Shellharbour
Surprisingly close to Sydney, the Killalea State Park features some of the best surfing beaches on the south coast. Particularly speaking, “The Farm” (Killalea) and “Mystics” (Minnamurra) beaches, although only no more than 550 yards apart, the two beaches offer a completely unique surfing experience. Whilst the beaches are not patrolled, the seclusion of these hidden gems allow you to peacefully ride as many waves as you want, all day long.
Once only accessible through a private property farm, “The Farm” offers surfers incredibly lengthy rides with its deep waters, open rolling waves and an extremely long inshore impact zone. The surf at “The Farm” attract surfers of all abilities, from beginner to advanced, and due to its versatile conditions, almost any type of board is suitable to ride.
As described by its first surfers, “Mystics” is where the sea mist meets the land fog, creating a mystical surfing spot. In sharp comparison, “Mystics” is the choice for more intermediate to advanced surfers, seeking faster, tighter swells. With not much time for anticipation, surfers can expect to give it their all and experience a full rush of adrenalin when riding here.
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Guest post by Alex Johnson of Inspire A Better Life
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