Combining the skills of water skiing, snowboarding, skating and surfing, wakeboarding, according to West OZ Wakeboarding President Gavin Jones, is now considered the fastest-growing board sport worldwide. “Wakeboarding was once a sport enjoyed by a small group of pioneering individuals, but is now a hugely popular global pastime with its own unique attitude and style,” says Gavin. And with a new wake-park coming to Perth next year, access and popularity will undoubtedly continue to soar.
While Perth’s long-running Bonney’s Waterski Park is available for those with a boat, there are also designated areas on the Swan and Canning rivers, Waroona and Logue Brook dams and Glen Mervyn Dam near Collie. Lake Towerrinning, 240km south of Perth, also provides a great freshwater playground for wakeboarders. For those wanting to try their hand at the sport, a Come and Try Day at the Burswood Water Sports Complex on January 12 will provide a taster. westozwakeboarding.com.
Bodyboarding is another one of those sports that sees Perth aficionados spoilt for choice. While Ledge Point, Lancelin and Yanchep provide some bumper waves for those in the north, to the south of Perth, Safety Bay, Mandurah – and for the bravest of souls, Margaret River – offer excellent bodyboarding opportunities. Around Perth, the best beaches are at Scarborough, Trigg, North Beach and Mettams Pool; at Rottnest, Salmon and Stark bays provide brilliant, consistent waves, with Strickland Bay ranking as one of the world’s top breaks.
Stand Up Paddling
If you never left your house last summer, you may be forgiven for not being
familiar with the acronym SUP. One of the world’s fastest-growing watersports,
it provides an overall workout targeting strength, endurance and balance. What’s more, out on the ocean, there’s no gym membership required, nor a sweaty towel or treadmill in sight!
“SUP is definitely one of those sports that have taken off, as it’s just so accessible,” explains Elemental SUP instructor Caroline Bradley. “It’s a great
workout for most people and it’s extremely beneficial because it targets all the muscles in the body. In fact, it uses muscles most people have never used before.”
For beginners, Caroline says, getting the stroke paddles right is the first priority, along with body posture and balance. She even recommends a yoga workout on the sea, atop a soft, buoyant SUP board. “We paddle out somewhere glassy and calm and practise some yoga moves out there,” she says. “It definitely takes yoga to a whole new level, and as you can’t hear anything out there, it can feel quite surreal.”
Gazing out over the Indian Ocean ten years ago, windsurf sails used to dominate the scene. All that changed with the advent of kitesurfing, a sport that sees some 2000 first-timers take to the waves each summer. If you’re keen to give it a whirl, there are plenty of schools in Perth able to assist.
Action Sports WA (formerly Australian Kiteboarding School) is the longest established kite school in Australia, currently in its 14th season. With a focus on preparedness, Action Sports WA teaches students how to deep-water launch and how to self-rescue, should things go wrong. actionsportswa.com.au.
Just south of Fremantle, operating out of Woodman Point, the Perth Kitesurfing School considers the Fremantle Doctor its best friend. perthkitesurfingschool.com.au.
At Kite Boarding Perth, instructors communicate with students through the
use of waterproof Headzone radio helmets. kbp.net.au.
Elemental Kiteboarding is in its ninth year of operation, and for anyone concerned about the ocean’s largest predators, this school uses electronic shark shields to keep big fish at bay. elementalkiteboarding.com.
If you like the sound of ‘try before you buy’, West Oz Kiteboarding offers your first lesson free, followed by a rebate of up to $500 off your gear. westozkiteboarding.com.au.
HBF Rottnest Channel Swim
With over 2000 participants from WA, interstate or overseas signing up every year, the iconic HBF Rottnest Channel Swim is one of the world’s largest open-water crossings. For 33-year-old Swanbourne resident Ceinwen Roberts (who has done the solo five times), the Rotto swim is just a part of a 13-year annual routine. “If I didn’t have Rotto on my doorstep, I wouldn’t have been introduced to open-water swimming,” says Ceinwen. In March, just weeks after the Rottnest event, she successfully tackled an inaugural, 19-hour triple crossing with good friend Rohan Hollick. “We’re just so lucky to have such clean and clear water here. Rotto is such a good distance and yet it’s so achievable too.” With an increase of 18 per cent of solo swimmers bumping solo entries up to 279 next year, Ceinwen might just be onto something.
Some days you need more than a backyard pool to keep cool. Splash into summer at one of these cool water venues for some serious aqua fun.
Labyrinth Water Fountain
There’s no better way to beat the heat in the CBD than dodging the jets of this city favourite. Forrest Place, Perth.
Perched on the Maylands Peninsula, Waterland offers up four pools – including a splash pool for little ones – barbecue facilities, playground and a bouncy castle, making it the perfect day out for young families. Maylands.
At Naturescape in Kings Park, kids can wade through the creek and pond as they build, climb and discover the wetland habitat. Kings Park, Perth.
Ellenbrook Rainbow Water Park
This is the largest free water park in the Perth metropolitan area, and with 15 interactive water features including fountains, spray guns and bubble jets, it’s certainly a family favourite. Ellenbrook.
Just 4 Fun Aqua Park
With trampolines, water slides, climbing walls, water volleyball and an obstacle course, you may never get the kids out of the water. Rottnest Island and Mandurah.
For thrills and spills, you just can’t go past the water slides at Adventure World. Make an afternoon of it at Kahuna Falls or scare yourself silly as you hurtle through the Tunnel of Terror. Bibra Lake.
Kalamunda Water Park
Formerly known as Kalamunda Wet ‘n’ Wild, this water park provides two slides, an Olympic-sized pool and kiddies’ paddle pool area. Kalamunda.
Top 3 beginners’ surf breaks
Mark Lane, CEO of Surfing Western Australia, gives his pick of Perth’s best breaks for surfing newbies.
Trigg and Scarborough Beaches would be your best bet at this time of year but conditions vary. Low swell months are ideal for beginners, but if the swells do come it can be really dangerous, with big waves breaking onto shallow sand.
Leighton and Cottesloe would be your next pick, but are both swell-dependent. If you push yourself a little further south you’ll find yourself at Secret Harbour which is also ideal.
Heading north, Mullaloo can be a great beginner’s location – but can be a little small at this time of year, or you could take a chance at Mindarie. If you push a little further north you’ll find yourself at Lancelin Backbeach which is another great beginner’s location.
Surfing WA Tips for Beginners
- Get in early to beat the wind
- Always surf with a buddy
- Ensure you read beach signage for appropriate areas to surf
- Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide whenever possible whilst in the sun and out in the surf
Keen to take a lesson before braving the waves?
- Big Wave Surfing School Secret Harbour (08) 9758 8315
- Gone Surfin Secret Harbour (08) 9537 3709
- Go Surf Scarborough (08) 9245 1684
- One Surf School Mullaloo 0403 206 651
- Perth Go Surf Scarborough (08) 9245 1684
- Scarborough Beach Surf School Scarborough (08) 9447 5637
- School of Surfing WA Trigg, Mullaloo, Leighton and Rottnest Island (08) 9448 0004