Surfing in Sydney
Stretching up the coast from famous Manly Beach to the beautiful and more secluded Palm Beach, Sydney’s Northern Beaches offer some of the most stunning and diverse surfing spots in Australia and here are some local tips on where to find a good wave.
Surfing is one of Australia’s most popular and fastest growing outdoor activities and Sydney is no exception. With this explosion in popularity many local surf schools have emerged offering great deals on lessons and equipment. People from all walks of life now enjoy surfing. First timers will really benefit from a lesson or two and being part of a group is great to help keep your spirits up in the early stages. From beginner to seasoned professional, there is a surf spot for everyone who is willing to give it a try, and it is fast becoming a must-do activity in Sydney.
For beginners Manly is a good place to go for a lesson or two, there are a few different surf schools that run safe and fun lessons and can offer some good tips to get you standing up in no time. The beach is patrolled in summer and is one of the busier beaches in Sydney so there are always people around.
At the northern end of Manly Beach is Queenscliff, this spot can also get busy but if you get in early and conditions are good you can catch some nice waves.
The next beach north, just around the corner is Freshwater beach where Australia’s very first board surfing demonstration took place in 1914. This is another crowd favourite and is a small beach suitable for less experienced surfers.
A good beach for all levels of surfers is Collaroy, the southern end can be a really fun wave to ride. There are usually less crowds and is easy to get to with buses from the city passing right by the beachfront.
Monavale Beach is also easily accessible by bus and has great waves, which are quite regular. Just be sure to respect the fact that at times the waves can be more powerful here.
Further up the coast is Newport Beach where you will usually only see locals. This spot is great for escaping the crowds and working on your tan in peace.
Palm Beach, known as “Palmy” is about an hour away from the City & CBD but well worth the trip, being right on a peninsular it can be a great spot to see Dolphins or even Whales passing by. It is also where Australian soap “Home And Away” is filmed.
Sydney locals are very passionate about surfing and over the years it has become a way of life for many people. In November, Manly plays host to the Manly Festival of Surfing held from the 18th to the 21st, bringing together locals and visitors alike for one of the best events in Sydney. The festival will host over 50 events including daily surf lessons and contests, night surfing under lights, tandem and paddle surfing, disabled surfer sessions and even an inflatable boat race. Watch surfing documentaries presented by filmmaker Jack McCoy at both outdoor and indoor cinemas. The festival's best event is the Kombi Rally, where an expected 100 beautifully restored classic Kombi & VW Beetle models will convoy to Manly to take pride of place on the beachfront. Take in the vibe while you stroll through Manly and experience surf lifestyle through photography, paintings, music, art, food, friends, and of course the beach.
When you are in the water always follow all instructions from the Lifeguards on duty, and do not swim on beaches that are closed or that aren't patrolled by Lifeguards.
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Ben Burton, My Guide Sydney