Surfing in Western Australia
The West Australian coastline is home to several of the world’s most iconic surf breaks and travel destinations, including Margaret River and Gnaraloo. That’s what happens when you combine a population of 3 million people, a 10,000km coastline and massive swells rolling in from the Indian and Southern Oceans. From Broome to Esperance, for beginners and big wave surfers, there’s something for everyone.
Perth’s relaxed city surfing vibe and smaller waves make this fragment of coast line perfect for beginners. During the summer months there is very little surf with beaches all remaining relatively flat however, as we draw closer to winter the waves begin to pick up and it all comes down to the swell and wind directions. Seabreeze and Swellnet are two of the best websites and apps that offer reliable and up-to-date weather and surf forecasts throughout the day.
Trigg Point and Beach are both exposed beach breaks with relatively consistent waves during winter. The stretch of coast offers multiple peaks with a range of left and right-handers perfect for beginner to intermediate surfers, depending on the conditions. Optimal conditions include offshore easterly winds with swells from the west south west.
Cottesloe is home to the Cottesloe Longboard Club and when the conditions are right, you’ll find south Cottesloe packed with long boarders cruising along the waves. When the swells pick up, it’s also a popular beach break for shortboarders, with left and rights on offer near the groyne.
Rottnest Island gets the waves Perth should with at least seven decent breaks on offer. Strickland Bay, located on the south side, is considered the highlight of breaks around the island, offering a short right-hander and a longer barreling left-hander, perfect for the intermediate to experienced surfer. Other popular breaks around the island include Cathedrals, Salmon Bay and Transits. The surf is unpredictable so be sure to check the latest surf forecast before heading across.
The South West
From Mandurah all the way to Esperance, WA’s South West has over 100 renowned surf breaks as well as plenty more that the locals like to keep a secret. There’s waves all year round but the best surf hits in winter and spring.
Cape Naturaliste (Yallingup & Dunsborough)
The Cape Naturalise region offers a collection of classic Western Australian reef breaks with a variety of left and right-handers suitable for the intermediate to advanced surfer. The eastern side of the cape has several breaks on offer including Castle Rock, Meelup and Point Picquet all of which require a bit of swell to get going but are perfect for the intermediate surfer. Across to the other side, Rabbits and Yallingup Main Break, the birthplace of surfing in the southwest, offer some heavy, challenging waves that can be serious fun for the experienced surfer.
There’s a long history and strong surfing culture in Margaret River and when the surf is really pounding, there are plenty of work sites and businesses that start late. Surfers Point and Margret River Main Break are considered the pinnacle of breaks in the region and are home to the annual Margaret River Pro that forms part of the World Surf League World Championship Tour. It’s an awesome ‘surfing playground’ with different personalities of waves offered all year round, keeping things interesting. No matter the conditions, you’re sure to find a wave somewhere.
Great Southern (Albany & Denmark)
Further south Albany and Denmark offer a variety of beach breaks, which, in the right conditions can produce an epic surf with the waves all to yourself. The conditions are often unpredictable, and some breaks will only work for a short period of time however for those wiling, it is often worth the search. Optimal swells roll in during Autumn and Winter but as air and water temperatures drop, so do the crowds.
West Beach, Chapman’s Point, Second Beach, Fourth Beach and Twilight Beach are all located along Great Ocean Drive and are the best Esperance has to offer. Each of these breaks works best in northerly winds and south-westerly swells, with the optimal conditions varying slightly for each location.
The Northwest is a whole lot of coastline without a whole lot of surf, but there are a couple of world class gems and as winter approaches, surfers from around the world make the journey.
Lancelin & Wedge Island
For less experienced surfers just outside of Perth are Lancelin and Wedge Island, both popular beach breaks for beginners. Both breaks are perfect for a day trip however, be prepared to get up early with the best waves being in the morning when the winds are light.
Gnaraloo & Red Bluff
What was once a well-kept secret is now one of the most famous world class surf locations in Australia. For the well prepared, experienced surfer, adventure and the chance to ride some of Australia’s greatest waves awaits. Gnaraloo and Red Bluff are located between Exmouth and Carnarvon. With flawless, powerful left handers peeling around the rock bluffs over shallow reefs and finishing in deep channels infamous for sharks, it’s a region strictly for the experienced surfer. For first timers, be sure to talk to a local to get the run down.
There’s not a whole lot of surf on offer in the Kimberly region but the incomparable location certainly makes up for it and when the conditions are right, Cable Beach in Broome has some surfable waves on offer. The beach break is perfect for beginners and works best during the cyclone seasons with easterly winds and west-north-west swells.