The recent news that some of the world’s best surfers will compete at Rottnest in a one-off World Surfing League event from May 16 – 26 May puts the island squarely on the international surfing map. The competition will be held at Strickland Bay, one of the most popular breaks on the island.
Rottnest is a big draw for local surfers. Heading west, the nearest landfall is Mauritius, giving the island’s swell a good 2-3ft advantage over mainland breaks. So book your ferry, grab a board and hit the waves – here are a few of the best surfing spots along Rottnest’s coastline.
The most consistent exposed reef break on the island, with a short right and long left break over a coral floor. Best surf is in winter, especially in June, however it can be crowded at times. Located on the south side of the island, the ideal swell angle is from the south-south west. Good for body boarders too. Strickland Bay is set to host the World Surfing League championships in May.
Views from the cliff at Chicken Reef, near Salmon Bay.
A real surf-spot setting in the island’s south and a popular choice for both experienced surfers and groms. Consistent clean waves in winter, especially June, although some good early morning surf in the summer months. The best conditions occur with a south-south west swell and sometimes there are some nice barrels. It features a sucking take-off over a shallow ledge. Beware the rocky coral reef. Great views of the surf from the cliff.
Not for the faint hearted and known to break bones and boards, this is a punishing yet rewarding break for the experienced surfer; the waves crash fast and hollow over the reef. Take the bus to the West End of the island to access the surf if you dare!
Rottnest’s only sandbar break is about 500m offshore from Thomson Bay so hit up a friend with a boat or be prepared for a long paddle out. Best when the swells wraps around from the west. Also great for stand-up paddleboaders.
Grab your board and take the Rottnest Explorer bus which provides a hop-on, hop-off service around the island, or ride your bike and hire a trolley from Paddle and Flipper bike hire.