Considering a move from Melbourne to Sydney, most likely Northern beaches as career wise I’d be working in North Sydney. I’m wondering how it would affect my surf life and if anyone has any experience/tips to share.
In Melbourne, I’m confined to one to two surfs a week, with a minimum 1hr drive for waves (meaning a surf for me is a min. 5hr exercise). But, I’m pretty well covered to get good waves whenever I go down (due to the variety of options and swell/wind combos). Some surfs are very crowded, some can be empty. Wave quality is generally good, but barrels are a little lacking. Variety is good.
In Sydney, provided I live within a few km’s from a beach (we’re look at Dee Why at the moment real estate wise, we’re apartment people) I’d imagine I have a fun surf session within a total time of 1hr, probably 3-5 times a week. Which would work better for me family wise. But I'd imagine crowds, variety and consitency would be problematic.
I guess the real question is, are people living on the NB’s satisfied surf wise? Is quantity better than quality – and are the waves down in Vicco generally better than Sydney (can of worms maybe)? I’m sure Vicco crowds would be lighter, but the surf coast is a circus these days so generally you need to drive further to lose the crowds.
I just re read what I typed and realised it may be a bit of a stupid question. Either way, would like some thoughts!
Also, can't move to a country town, as due to my work I can only really live in cities (which sucks)...also, I'm no fan of super commuting.
Currently my research is this cracking article!
I reckon you'll be getting a lot more surfs in and without having to drive an hour or so to get to the beach.
The Northern Beaches are great for the varied options depending on swell direction and wind and if you've got a decent quiver you can get most days even when small.
I moved nearly 10 years ago from Adelaide and a similar situation and never looked back. Warmer water and climate, better waves day to day and the windswells here are super fun, not like back in the southern states.
Also on the weekend's you can easily escape up or down the coast a couple of hours and get uncrowded surfs in.
Only problem is that the earlies/dawnies are super packed these days if it's good so if you can get a touch of flexibility that would be best.
Opposite to you...I surfed for years on the northern beaches and then moved to Melbourne.
Here's my quick summary. In Melbourne you've got an hour's drive...however usually there are waves over 4 foot with offshore winds about once or twice a week (and usually with say a 14sec interval) if you're flexible....and you can often find uncrowded waves. Unless you surf immediately after school hours...there are generally few kids...or boogey boards. At some of the softer breaks you'll find longboards and some SUPs...but there are plenty of breaks with none of these. In Sydney you'll find about 10x the crowds. You'll rarely get waves over 4 foot with offshores...much more frequently you'll get smaller waves with much shorter intervals (in Melbourne you'd call it slop) and offshores are an early morning thing...rarely will it blow offshore all day. In Sydney you'll share your lineup with all sorts of surf crafts. Hand planes, boogers, ravenous shortboarders, mid length and longboards, sups and other stuff. The best breaks are massively crowded when the surf is on and crowds in general are hard to avoid. You also get blue bottles in summer (along with onshore winds). Its a tradeoff...your small wave surfing will improve and you'll be in the water more often...and its warmer (and much of the time you'll be wishing you were back in Melbourne). (apologies for being biased)
I lived up Sydney for a bit in the worst place possible out near Paramatta, personally id rather give up surfing than surf the Sydney city beaches, the waves are okay and it would have been a beautiful spot 100 plus years ago, but just the whole vibe and scene and crowds i checked it out a few times but never got wet and just hit the pub that night instead.
South and North of Sydney though is much better, just the vibe is much better and gets better the further you drive away from the city.
Stu's article from 2011 was great! No punches pulled.
Northern beaches for me are still quite exciting as I'm up there very infrequently and everything is new to me. Invariably I'll think about the crowds...
But as my mates say, Vicco is cold, and doesn't barrel. Why would you want to surf there.
Stok, you still on the vegan trip?
No but seriously, I think both areas have their pros and cons. No where is perfect.
Basically imo you’ve covered it all I think.
Sydney - often small and shitty, but better weather, more crowds, sometimes pumps.
Melbourne - often large and shitty, colder weather, less crowds, sometimes pumps.
And as VJ says, vicco doesn’t barrel!
Do you know what kind of work hours/roster you'd be working?
Would be a nice bonus on the NB not to be working 9-5 mon to fri every week to get the best out of the non-peak times.
If you have to live in Sydney then I reckon the Northern Beaches is where you want to be. I grew up there and reckon if long reef was located anywhere else in the world it would have countless world class waves either side, yet somehow, it’s not even close. Yet, here and there the NB can range from trash for months to epic for days depending on so many factors. Hope you enjoy. As for the crowds, if you are keen enough you will get enough.
Dee Why is quite localised Stok and you will find it hard to get the better waves at the point unless you are pretty good. There are a lot of very good surfers who have been surfing there for a long time. A lot of days at First Rock it is all on a first name basis. That said if you are patient, respectful and keep turning up people will start to recognise you and give you a bit more of a chance. The beachbreaks are highly variable and, if it is any good, they are intensely crowded on weekends as well as before and after work hours. It is easier to get waves on the beachbreaks as the line up is usually not well defined and the standard of surfing is much lower.
DYSF is the oldest boardriders in Australia and is a very tight group. Unless you are really serious about competition it probably doesn't offer much except to the groms. The club has great junior programs and a healthy family atmosphere (well most of the time) if you have kids.
That's what I'm worried about! Missing the large, long rights, or the uncrowded powerful beachies....!
Also not to keen on the localism/club aspect of it. Quite like the lack of structure that is surfing to me.
And Freeride, yep, still vegan.
Just read that 2011 article again, forgot how fair and impartial I was...
I spent around three years on the NB and have mixed feelings of my time there. I found it very hard to get good waves and to dodge the crowds, though I have some fond memories of big sessions at Queensie Bommie and Winki (we were living in Manly).
As mentioned above, if you've got some flexibility in your job then you've got a headstart. Also, Dee Why Point, Winki, and LA aside, there's really not many good reefs - you surf over sand the vast majority of the time.
If that's a major concern then Cronulla may be an option, it's better aligned for the prevailing south swells and has a heap of great reefs, though working in North Sydney means you'd be commuting 45 mins each way.
I don't know, moving to the NB was a bit like the old army saying: best thing I did was join, the second best thing was leave. Even if you don't stay that long there'll be some aspects of the NB you enjoy.
Large long rights and uncrowded beachies in Sydney?
No waves in Cronulla just slabs and closeouts.
Hey Stok, the other thing about Cronulla is if you move there you'll see the world famous Jack Russell who surfs. Been on a few covers, not tall, or even of average height, got a buggered back, and he barks all day long.
Goes alright but.
I guess if you're not into surfing onshore waves then it's not quite for you, but as I said onshore surfs here are way better than back in Vicco and SA as the beaches love the short period energy.
Weekend's are a no go with the amount of people and chaos, so always head out of town.
Appreciate the thoughts all...think I need to spend a couple of weekends up there to get a feel for how much i like surfing small peaky waves, and how bad the crowds really are!
“Weekends are no go “
Isn’t that the saddest thing ?
In terms of convenience I don't think you can beat it really. Surfing in Sydney is a different experience to elsewhere in that sense - In n' out with a few waves under your belt in time for work at 8:00 and there's usually something going, so it's great if you're time poor. But as others have pointed to already, the crowds are high and quality is low, and as such I feel so much more fulfilled when surfing literally anywhere else, even the beachies 90mins north or south.
Also, there's less options when it gets big, especially on the eastern beaches, which is where I'm relegated to, but also to a lesser extent the NB.
Hey Stok, I did the same move around 8 years ago. Grew up near the surfcoast but moved to Melb for work before moving to Syd - for the same reasons.
For me, I find I miss not being able to make the most out of a good, large swell. In vic there are a number of reefs that will handle swell (and I found once it started hitting 2-3xOH crowds were no longer an issue). On the northern beaches you’ll find a lot of large swells go begging due to bad direction, bad banks, bad winds, etc. The bombies will offer large swells to hook into if you get a big board, and it’s a great atmosphere out there, but it’s different to surfing perfect large points. I make sure I get down to Bells for a swell or two each year to get a fix.
That said, I have never looked back. Convenience here is incredible. You can surf just about every morning if you want and still be in the office by 9. As others have said, wind swells can be really fun up here, a lot more punchy than in vic, so even 1-2ft days can be enjoyable. Water is warmer, lifestyle is great and personally I find that I surf with less people here than I would on the surf coast - however I’ll clarify that by saying I am mostly surfing the beachies, not the best breaks. Opposite to what I would do in vic. The best do get incredibly crowded, and the surfing standard is generally quite high on the good days.