Going Surfing in Sydney? 11 Top Tips for Beginner Surfers

Sydney is one of the most popular destinations for Holidays and surfing. It has so much to offer, especially for beginner surfers. Here are must-know tips for surfing In Sydney.

Top 5 Beaches Suitable for Beginner Surfers In Sydney

To be suitable for beginner surfers, the beach needs to satisfy 5 things.

  • Not too crowded
  • No localism
  • Sand Bottom for low-impact
  • Long sandbank for longer rides.
  • Gentle waves.
  1. Manly Beach. It’s not only easy to access from Sydney city, but also has great beginner waves. Its only downside is it’s overly crowded and parking is exceptionally difficult.
Easy Acess from the City centreCrowded (in and out of water)
Gentle wavesParking difficulty
No Localism in the surfCrowded surfing
Many other activities to doMany beginners making unsafe at times
Family Friendly (not many topless sunbathers)Expensive parking
Great Food and CafeBusy Traffic

2. Freshwater Beach. It has no surf school or surfboard hire facility, but it ticks all the bucks to be one of the best beginner surf beaches.

Best Size1ft – 4 foot
Swell DirectionNE and N
WindN, W, and NW
Tide Mid tide going low to high
CurrentSlow to moderate, becomes strong when bigger than 4ft
General Level of SurfersBeginner to Intermediate.
CrowdVery Crowded especially on weekends.
Riding DirectionLeft and Right. South Corner provides the consistent right.
LocalismDoes not exist or Rare
Summary of Ideal Surfing Conditions for Freshwater Beach

3. Bondi Beach. It’s the most crowded beach of all, but it has great vibes and lots to do in the proximity to the beach.

Types of WavesBeach Break with rocks on the south end
Best Swell Direction SE, NE and E( Will have the most size from S)
Best Wind Direction W, SW, NW
Current/RipIt can be strong with large waves.
Best Swell size 1-5 ft
Surfers’ LevelBeginner-Intermediate with some advanced surfers
Crowd density High
Localism Low – visited by many different levels of surfers.
Bondi Beach’s Best Surfing Condition

4. Maroubra Beach. Crowds slightly thin out and it does tick all the boxes to be great beginners beach. It has during school and a place to hire surfboards.

Types of WavesBeach Break with rocks on the northern and southern end
Best Swell Direction NE and E( Will have the most size from E)
Best Wind Direction W, S(cross offshore), N(cross offshore)
Current/Rippermanent rip on the south and north end near the rock. The current can be strong with larger waves
Best Swell size1-5ft
Surfers’ LevelAverage – Advance. Fewer beginners compared to Bondi.
Crowd density Medium to High.
Localism Low, some claim the northern end has localism but I have not experienced it.

5. Dee why/Long Reef Beach. There is a surfing school, but need to contact a private company to provide the lesson. No surfboard hire facility. This does not stop making Dee Why Beach suitable for beginner surfers. The only downside would be lots of seaweed during the summer months.

Dee Why Point Dee Why Beach
Swell direction NE, Also works well on South and Easterly swellNE
WindW, NW, N W, NW, N
Wave Size Can hold up to 8+ feet. Max 6 foot
TideMid tide, going from low to high Mid tide, going from low to high
SeasonAutumn / WinterAutumn / Winter

Surfing Schools In Sydney

If you’re new to surfing, taking a lesson is a great way to start. Surf schools provide everything you need, including a board, wetsuit, and sunscreen. All you have to do is show up and learn!

Many surf schools in Sydney offer group and individual lessons. Lessons typically cost around $90 for 2 hours, and there are discounts for package deals.

Here are some of the best beaches for beginner surfing lessons in Sydney:

  • South of the Harbour Bridge: Bondi Beach, Maroubra Beach, and Cronulla Beach
  • North of the Harbour Bridge: Manly Beach, Dee Why Beach, and Long Reef Beach

Here’s what to expect in a beginner surfing lesson:

  • Your instructor will start by teaching you the basics of surfing, such as paddling, standing up, and catching a wave.
  • You’ll then practice these skills in the water with your instructor to help you.

Wondering how much you can surf in one lesson? Read Here

Sydney Surf Breaks: Which One is Right for You?

Sydney has three main types of surf breaks.

Sand breaks are the most common type of surf break, with a sandy bottom that can produce waves of varying quality. They are a good option for beginners, but the waves can be inconsistent due to shifting sandbanks.

Point breaks break over a point of land, such as a headland or reef. This type of break typically produces long, consistent waves that are popular with experienced surfers. However, point breaks can be crowded and competitive, as everyone wants to catch the best waves.

Reef breaks break over a rocky reef. This type of break can produce powerful, well-formed waves, but it can also be dangerous due to the rocks. Reef breaks are best for experienced surfers who are comfortable surfing in challenging conditions.

Examples of surf breaks in Sydney:

  • Sand breaks: Bondi Beach, Manly Beach, Maroubra Beach
  • Point breaks: Dee Why Point, The Wedge (Whale Beach)
  • Reef breaks: Shark Island (Cronulla), Deadman’s (Manly), The Bommie (Manly)

Tips for surfing at different types of breaks:

  • Sand breaks: Be aware of the shifting sandbanks and be prepared for inconsistent waves.
  • Point breaks: Be aware of the currents and be respectful of other surfers.
  • Reef breaks: Be aware of the rocks and be comfortable surfing in challenging conditions.

It is always important to check the surf forecast before heading out to the beach.

Beaches Not Suitable for Beginner Surfers In Sydney

North Narrabeen is a popular surf spot for experienced surfers, as the waves can be quite powerful with strong rips. It is important to remember that the prettier the waves look, the more dangerous they can be, especially if you make a mistake.

Reef and point breaks can be even more dangerous than sand breaks, as they often have strong currents and rocks. It is important to use your own judgment and always surf within your limits.

Beginners should avoid dangerous ocean conditions. If in doubt, don’t go out.

Best months for Surfing In Sydney

The best time to surf in Sydney is autumn and winter (March-September). During these months, Sydney gets more consistent southerly swells and larger waves. The wind is also more likely to be offshore, making for better surfing conditions. The water temperature is still warm in autumn, but it does get colder in winter.

You can surf all year round in Sydney, but the summer months (December-February) are the most popular. However, the waves during summer are generally smaller and softer than during autumn and winter.

Do You Need a Wetsuit to Surf In Sydney?

Wetsuit recommendations for surfing in Sydney:

  • Spring, autumn, and winter: 3/2mm wetsuit (3mm in the body, 2mm in the arms and legs)
  • Summer: 1.5mm wetsuit top or no wetsuit at all

Gloves and boots are not necessary unless you have sensitive feet and hands, or if you are surfing in cold winter conditions.

Here is a snapshot of water temperatures and wetsuit recommendations throughout the year:

MonthTemperature (Celcius / Fareinheight)Air Temperature ( Mean Average)Wetsuit/swimsuit
Jan21-25 C / 72-75 F18-26 CWetsuit Top + Boardshorts, Regular swimwear
Feb22-25 C / 73-76 F18-25 CWetsuit Top + Boardshorts, Regular swimwear
Mar21-25 C / 72-76 F17-24 CWetsuit Top + Boardshorts, Regular swimwear
Apr20-24 C / 70-7414-22 CWetsuit Top + Boardshorts, Spring suit
May19-23 C / 68-71 F11-19 CSpring suit / Short arm wetsuit
June17-21 C / 65-69 F9-17 CFull Wetsuit 3/2
July17-21 C / 64-68 F8-16 CFull Wetsuit 3/2
Aug17-20 C / 64-67 F9-17 CFull Wetsuit 3/2
Sep17-19 C / 64-66 F11-20 CFull Wetsuit 3/2
Oct17-20 C / 65-68 F13-22 CFull Wetsuit 3/2
Nov18-22 C / 67-70 F15-23 CSpring Suit / Short arm wetsuit
Dec19-24 / 69-74 F17-25 CWetsuit Top + Boardshorts, Regular swimwear
Water Temperature summary in Sydney and recommended swimmer/surfing wetsuit.

Best Direction

orth-easterly swells generally produce the best quality waves in Sydney, but other factors such as tide, sandbanks, and wind can also affect the conditions.

Pure southerly or easterly swells can often close out (meaning the waves break all at once, leaving no time to ride them) on Sydney beaches. A mix of swell directions, such as southeast, can help to create more surfable waves.

Localism Amongst Surfers In Sydney Beaches

Localism within Sydney surfers is rare and most surfers will not experience it in any beach breaks. Sometimes, as a beginner surfer, it’s easy to assume the anger of other surfers with localism. However, usually, surfers get angry when someone does drop in, snake or do something dangerous.

However, certain spots naturally get competitive. For example, point breaks always have some tension when it gets crowded because taking-off spots are narrow and there is only one direction to ride waves. Dee Why Point, Cronulla Point and North Narrabeen are good examples of where you will need to compete for waves.

Surfing Equipment Hire in Sydney

Surfboard and wetsuit rental is available at many popular beaches in Sydney for around $15-$20 per day. Bondi, Maroubra, Cronulla, Manly, and Collaroy Beach all have hire shops within easy walking distance of the beach.

For more information, please click on the links below:

Beach Parking

Parking availability and fees vary depending on the beach.

Northern Beaches:

  • Beachfront parking: $10 per hour
  • Street parking: 2-hour limit, mostly free.

Eastern Suburbs:

  • Bondi Beach: $10 per hour
  • Maroubra Beach: 4 hours of free beachfront parking
  • Cronulla Beach: 4 hours of free beachfront parking

Second-hand Surfboard Markets

If you’re ready to take the next step, buying a surfboard is better than renting one. Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace have the largest selection of used surfboards. For tips on buying a secondhand surfboard, click here.

Shark Attacks In Sydney?

There have been 27 shark attacks on Sydney beaches since 1791. To learn more about shark attacks and how to prevent them, click here.


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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