A freelance writer with an interest in just about everything.
Published January 26th 2015
Tame the ocean at these five great spots for learners
When travellers from all over the world visit Australia on holiday, many of them have one thing they'd love to tick off their down under bucket list: learn to surf. With our beautiful beaches, warm weather and rich surfing culture, where better in the world to catch a wave or two?
No matter whether you're here as a tourist or whether you've lived in Australia your whole life, there are beaches all over the country offering perfect waves for beginner surfers. Happily, plenty of them are right here in NSW. Here's five of the best.
Many tourists looking for a surfing lesson tend to head to Bondi, but Australia's most famous beach is not the best place to learn to surf. Manly is just a short ferry ride away, offers gentle waves for beginners, and there's much less chance of mowing down a swimming backpacker when you catch your first wave.
From South Steyne up to Freshwater Beach, this stretch of coastline has produced some of Australia's best surfers, and there's ample opportunity for you to follow in their footsteps. Both Manly Surf School and Manly Surf Guide run a range of classes to suit just about anyone. You can take part in group lessons, private lessons and even stand-up paddle boarding tutoring.
The water is far less crowded than Bondi and it's just a short journey from Sydney, making Manly ideal for beginners.
Byron Bay It shouldn't come as any great surprise to see Byron on this list. A must-see location for many tourists who visit our shores, Byron Bay is home to some of the most spectacular beaches in the world.
It's also a great place to catch your first wave, with a heap of breaks to choose from. The Pass is typically the most popular with surfers, although Main Beach, Clarke's Beach and Watego's Beach can also churn out excellent beginners' waves in the right conditions.
There's no shortage of surf schools in the area, such as Byron Bay Surf School and Soul Surf School, so there are plenty of options at your disposal when you want to harness the power of the ocean.
A few hours south of Byron and nowhere near as well known, Crescent Head is a sleepy village on the NSW Mid North Coast that's well known by surfers across the country. About 20km from the regional centre of Kempsey, Crescent Head boasts enviable surf breaks at places like Main Beach, Back Beach, Delicate Nobby and more.
Crescent Head is home to one of the longest right-hand breaks anywhere on the coast, perfect for malibu riders and beginners, with stories of dream rides lasting more than 200 metres.
Along with less than 20 other locations across the country, Crescent Head has been declared a National Surfing Reserve because of its significance to surfing. And with learn to surf companies like Crescent Head Learn to Surf and Surfaris offering their services, you've got everything you need to paddle into the next set.
Despite its reputation as an industrial city, Newcastle is also home to some of the best coastal scenery anywhere in Australia. With so many great beaches, it's also produced plenty of big-name surfers, most notably four-time ASP tour champion Mark Richards.
Newcastle's beaches offer waves to suit everyone from beginners right through to advanced boardriders, with Nobby's Beach perhaps the pick of the bunch for those who are just starting out. A safe town beach, Nobby's generally churns out good waves for learners at its southern end.
This beautiful South Coast town sits at the northern end of Seven Mile Beach, one of the longest stretches of sand in this part of the world. Also known for its status as a national park, Seven Mile Beach is another great spot for learners.
While it can get big in dangerous conditions, get a small swell here on a good day and you'll love taking off on the gently rolling waves. Land's Edge Surf School and Surf Camp Australia both offer experienced instructors to show you the ropes.
Once you've mastered the smaller waves you'll be able to head out and experience some of the bigger swells the South Coast has to offer.