An international surfing destination, the Northern Beaches is considered by many to be the birthplace of Australian surfing.
Many surfers like to keep these spots a secret, but we’re making waves putting them out there. Whether you’re just learning to surf or you’ve been chasing waves your entire life, our beaches and swell are world-famous for a reason.
Palm Beach stretches along 2.3km and caters for many different levels of surfers. The southern end “kiddies corner” is where the little rippers can head to practice.
You can’t really go wrong with Palm Beach, it’s a popular spot because the swell works great with any wind condition. The beach breaks offer lefts and rights, with quality surf at any stage of the tide.
North Narra can be a pretty competitive spot because it pumps out some of Sydney’s most reliable waves due to the sandbank positioned at the entrance of Narrabeen Lagoon.
This left-hander when it is breaking is world renowned. It is the home of the legendary North Narrabeen board riders, Simon Anderson, ex-professional surfer and inventor of the three fin thruster, a number of surfing world champions and much more.
Did you know? “Australia’s, Narrabeen” was even mentioned in the Beach Boys song “Surfin’ USA” – the only spot outside the US to get a mention.
Manly’s a pretty big deal when it comes to surfing, and on many bucket lists. Not that we’re trying to name drop but… Midget Farrelly, Pam Burridge and Layne Beachley are just a few of the surfing legends that used to practice along this stretch.
Manly’s southern headland is home to Fairy Bower, which has both consistent and quality right hand point breaks that handle big swells from most directions.
Moving over to the opposite corner you’ve got Queenscliff Beach. Stay alert, this spot will test even the most experienced with some massive 10ft waves coming out of seemingly nowhere. Ideal swell angle is from the northeast.
In 2018 and 2019, Manly Beach has hosted the World Qualifying Series surfing event the Vissla Surf Pro, where some of the world's best surfers compete for 6,000 QS points up for grabs.
Dee Why Point has been a popular spot for local surfers for years.
This challenging wave is definitely for the more experienced surfer, if you head here on a winters day when the swell angle is coming from the south you’re going to have an absolutely awesome time.
Let’s just say, there’s a reason Kelly Slater lived in Av for 15 years. The reef break off of Avalon rock pool (known as Little Av) has some pretty epic conditions when the winds are coming through from the north east.
On the other side is North Avalon which is also renowned for handling big northern swell with classic big lefts cranking down the beach.
Freshwater has some pretty reasonable waves in the one to two metre mark. It can be busy on a summers day with people learning to surf, and families sticking in groups.
For less experienced surfers, the break at the middle-northern end of the beach is an ideal spot for you.
More experienced surfers may not get the wave they’re looking for but you can try the southern end which can get pumping with the right swell.
Freshwater’s surfing history:
It was the Hawaiian Legend Duke Kahanamoku who introduced surfing to a crowd at Freshwater Beach back in 1915. He plucked a young Isabel Lathem from a crowd and invited her to ride tandem, and Aussies have embraced surfing ever since.
Freshwater Beach is part of a World Surfing Reserve stretching from Freshwater Beach – all of Manly and around to Fairy Bower.
In the right conditions, ‘the wedge’ produces waves like no other.
When the winds are coming from the south east, the waves roll through and bounce off the rock ledge, creating the beautiful ‘wedge’ effect. It’s quick to get going and you’ll be riding quickly down the line.
The wedge is for more experienced surfers, but there’s good beach breaks which can be fun with a north-east or east swell.
Long Reef is home to pretty reliable surf conditions with left and right breaking reefs. The best time to head out is when there’s a howling north-easter which blows across the beach in an offshore wind, making the waves smooth and very rideable.
Known for two breaks: Newport peak and Newport pool.
The peak is a peaking left and right hander with a small take off zone. It can be a competitive spot to catch a wave due to the crowds.
Newport pool is at the southern end of the beach and handles the large south swells. Definitely not for beginners.
Mona Vale can be a little inconsistent, the best wind direction is from the north west.
However, in the right conditions the beach has some great breaks and Mona Vale Basin locally known as “Wamp” has a big shore break loved by many a body boarder.