Complete Beach Guide: Narabeen

North Narrabeen Beach

This is where all the action happens. North Narrabeen produce incredibly high-quality waves despite being a beach break. It works well in most swell directions and frequently sees barrels.

High-quality waves created localism, and North Narrabeen has been one of the unique places where localism exists. True localism has been softened down quite a bit; however, avoiding this beach is generally recommended if you are a beginner especially when the waves are big.

Snapshot of North Narrabeen For Surfing

Types of BreakBeach Break
Best Swell DirectionWorks well in most swell, best in NE
Best Wind Direction N, W, NW
Best Tide Low – Mid
Current/RipThe current can be a strong, permanent rip on the north corner
Best Swell Size2-6 ft
Surfer’s level Advanced to Pro levels
LocalismHas softened but still exists. It can be intimidating with the high level of surfing
Summary Of The Surfing at North Narrabeen

Tips For Beginner Surfers At North Narrabeen Beach.

Localism put aside, if you are a beginner, expect some difficulty surfing at North Narrabeen when waves are around 3+ feet. Sometimes the current can be pretty intense, and it feels like you are constantly pulled out of position like being on a conveyer belt.

North Narrabeen produce barrelling waves fairly consistently compared to other Beaches in Northern Beaches. This might be quite challenging for a beginner surfer: The prettier the waves are, the more powerful it is. The wave requires a certain speed and steep angle to form a barrel. If you do not have enough experience, surfing this wave might be challenging.

Lastly, you must know how to avoid or paddle around surfers when they are on a wave. It can be challenging at North Narrabeen to avoid surfers because of the strong current, and most surfers are moving on waves at high speed.

How does localism show at North Narrabeen?

There are many forms of localism; the most common is dropping in.

Ignoring the priority and dropping in is a sign of aggression and disrespect. Kelly Slater, 11-times world champion mentions this in his book where Hawaiian would drop in on him intentionally because they would not accept him as a worthy surfer.

Kelly Slater said he has slowly earned respect from Hawaiian after charging into big waves repeatedly and this might be a similar case for most beaches with high localism.

Is it Safe to Swim at North Narrabeen Beach?

Always Swim Between the Flag

North Narrabeen Beach is patrolled throughout the year from 9 am-5 pm. The current can be substantial even in places close to the shore. The depth can change dramatically depending on the bank’s condition. Always swim between the flags and do not go in if unsure.

Shark Attacks At North Narrabeen

There was one recorded fatal shark attack at Narrabeen back in 1916.

Please see here for full details of Shark Attacks in Sydney

Parking At North Narrabeen

There are three beachfront car parks around North Narrabeen.

Far north car park is ideal for accessing the rockpool or lagoon.

This small car park is ideally situated for easy access to the beach.

This is the main car park.

North Narrabeen Car Park

All 3 car parks are 10 dollars an hour. It’s free if you have a Northern Beaches Council Permit.

Surrounding the beach, there are free street parking spots. The hours vary, so check the limit before heading to the beach.

Surf Shop Near North Narrabeen Beach.

Rip Curl – Narrabeen.

Rip Curl – Narrabeen

It is located on the main road – Pittwater road with easy parking.

They stock 400+boards of major surfing brands including Channel Island, Lost, Firewire and a wide range of foam boards.

Rip Curl Narrabeen

Staffs are friendly and approachable with a good variety of boards to choose from.

Is Dog Allowed On the Narrabeen Lagoon?

Leashed Dogs are allowed around the lagoon. It’s a great place to take the dog for a walk with an 8.6km long path.

Other Activities Around North Narrabeen Beach.

Narrabeen Lagoon

Narrabeen Lagoon

This lagoon is filled with people like a public pool on good summer days. It’s relatively shallow in most parts, making it the perfect place for families with young children. This lagoon is open to the ocean and attracts all kinds of fish, and it’s common to see fishermen on land or on a small boat trying to land some big fish.

Not only for swimming, but It’s also excellent for stand-up paddle board, kayaking and canoeing. You can hire a stand-up paddle board at Wicks Surf shop (See here for details, scroll down to surfing equipment hire)

It also has an 8.6km flat track around the lake ideal for walking, bike or scooter riding.

North Narrabeen Rockpool.

North Narrabeen Rockpool. It can be closed for cleaning. Check cleaning dates on Northern Beaches Council

North Narrabeen Rockpool is located slightly north of North Narrabeen beach separated by the lagoon opening to the ocean. So, park in the far north car park near a cafe to access the rockpool.

It’s a 50m rockpool with timber frames on the sides. Often, you will find some fish swimming at the bottom of the rockpool, making things more interesting!

Salmon Fishing

If you visit North Narrabeen Beach in the evening/night, you will see a bunch of fishermen with 12ft long rods catching Australian Salmon. You may also score some decent dinner with a simple pilchard and sinker set-up.


If you have young kids and try to keep them happy, there is a small playground next to the main car park.

Cafes and Restaurants.

There are several cafes and restaurants next to each car park. They all serve great brunches and cafe food.

Cafe Next to the North Narrabeen Main Car Park

Surrounding Beach Guide

Mona Vale Beach

Collaroy Beach


I have spent the last 15 years in Northern Beaches in Sydney and loves beaches. I have raised three beautiful children, all loving beaches and waves. I hope you share the same passion.

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