Surfing perfectly encapsulates the laid-back lifestyle that Sydney is all about: getting out and enjoying the sun, spending time with friends and family around the ocean and the simple pleasure that is the thrill of a great wave in a beautiful setting.
If you catch a big one here in Sydney you’ll glide towards some of the most spectacular golden sands in the world. There are great communities around many of the surf spots here that will help show you the ropes, too, so you’re sure to feel right at home.
Whether you’ve never got up on a board before or you’re a firm lover of the surf lifestyle, there are options to suit all levels in this fantastic harbour city.
Legend has it that this is where Aussie surfing was born. Around 100 years ago, beachgoers reportedly looked on baffled as a Hawaiian called Duke Kahanamoku carved out a surfboard from local timber, took it into the waves and began riding them standing up. It wasn’t long, of course, before everyone wanted a piece of the action, and you can take to the clear blue water here yourself via Surf Skool.
As surfing spots go, it doesn’t get much more iconic than Bondi. This legendary beach is a wonderful place to spend an entire day when the sun is out. From the wilder middle section of the beach to the more protected northern corner, there is lots of variety to keep you on your toes, but surfers particularly flock here when there is a northerly wind.
If you haven’t surfed before, it could be a bit of a shock to the system if you head straight out into the swell in some of the more notorious spots. Much more sensible for beginners is Umina Beach, where the layout seems designed specifically with apprentices in mind. You won’t get hammered by rolling waves here: the location is perfectly protected and the gentle slope of the sea bed sets you up nicely for a smooth surf.
Even the trip out to Manly on the scenic ferry across Sydney Harbour is a delight, and once you get there you’ll enjoy surfing for all abilities on what is a great day trip from the centre. Testament to the quality of the waves is the crowds who come on weekends, so if you can, it is best to pay your visit on a weekday. Once you’ve enjoyed the water, head to one of the many attractive bars and cafes for a well-deserved cocktail!