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Catching the Best Waves in Australia

By Danielle Montgomery

Posted: 1st February 2013 15:36

Surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans, Australia offers the best and biggest surf on Earth; making it the perfect place to get your board shorts and bikinis’s out and try your hand at catching a prolific wave! Whether you’re a serious pro who lives, breathes and eats ocean life, or a timid beginner who normally associates the beach with sunbathing, Australia has surfing spots to accommodate all levels of expertise.

Best for Pro Surfers – Bells Beach

During the Easter weekend when the most challenging waves present themselves, Bells Beach hosts the Rip Curl Pro Surf competition, the world’s longest running surf tournament first held in 1961.  Sitting just off the Great Ocean Road, this famous beach is an exposed reef and natural point break, which has long been home to some of the best waves and best surfers.  The waves filter up through the south coast and then break over several points in the reef, making for a seriously extreme surfing experience.  Long, fat and fast, the waves here are any pro surfer’s dream, but strength and skill are a must if you dare to ride these fierce waves.  Pre 1950’s, Bells Beach was not recognised as a surfing spot, due to the extensive walk locals needed to make down to the beach from the cliff tops whilst carrying 16ft hollow boards.  However once the lightweight Malibu-style board was invented, the trip to Bells Beach was an easier feat, and soon became a favourite surf spot.  Today, venturing onto the beach on a good surf day, it’s possible to see up to 50 pro surfers in the line up ready to catch a wave; an threatening scenario for the non pro surfer!

Best for Skilled Surfers – Burleigh Heads

The southernmost beach in the state of Queensland, Burleigh Heads offers fantastic Gold Coast swells, however the sheer volume of water pushed to the coast from the southeast winds can be extensive making it a good spot for those with surfing prowess.  This beach has a deep-rooted surf history, originating with the volunteer surf clubs of the 1920’s.  It gradually grew commercially as a surfing destination through the following decades and in 1977 Burleigh was the venue for the first Stubbies Classic surfing contest, which is widely recognised as the beginning of big-league world competition status.  Although the locals attempted to keep Burleigh Heads an exclusive spot for pro surfers and regulars thus creating an intimidating atmosphere for beginners, today you can see people from all walks of life scattered through the waves.  Weekends tend to be overcrowded so for a more secluded surfing experience, venture to Burleigh during the weekdays. 

Best for Surf Competitions – Snapper Rocks

Snapper Rocks in Queensland hosts the Roxy and Quicksilver 12 day competition from late February to early March.  Surfers from all over the Globe venture here to ride and compete in some of the best waves in the world, boosting their statuses as Pro Surfers.  Formerly better known as a fishing spot, Snapper Rocks was always in the shadow of nearby surf spot Kirra, however in 1995, sand was being pumped out of the Tweed River mouth and dumped east of Snapper Rocks thus creating a super sand bank and one of the world’s longest and most consistent point-break points.  The waves here are epic but tricky, making it the perfect place to hold International tournaments to find the world’s best surfer.  When not being used as the primary venue for a surf competition, Snapper Rocks is overall the most crowded surf point, but due to the temperament of these waves it’s not the best for the beginners. 

Best for Beginners – Noosa Main Beach

Although there are many excellent beaches for the novice amateur, Noosa is a quieter and less populated scene, so you’ll escape the sometimes intimidating atmosphere you might endure elsewhere.  Many novices flock to Noosa to try the waves for the first time, as the swells are moderate and easier to catch, so all egos and pretentious attitudes are left in the waters of Bells Beach and Burleigh Heads.  A popular spot for families and children, Noosa has calmer coasts and is highly patrolled for safety and security, ensuring your first time surfing won’t be your last.  Many surf lessons are available at a cost and some even guarantee a stand up on your first attempt.  However if an entire day of being immersed in salty waters doesn’t appeal, be sure to enquire at your hostel or accommodation if they have surfboard or body board hire, as then you are free to try as many or as little times as you please at your own pace. 

Round Up

The Australian East and West Coastlines are heaving with hundreds of beaches, all perfect for a wide range of surfing preferences, so on your trip make time to grab a board and endeavour in the countries favourite sport.  Whether you opt for a week at a surf camp to truly boost your skills, or hire a board from your hostel for an hour, it’s an adrenaline pumping sport played on the Indian and Pacific oceans, something you can’t get down at your local leisure centre.