Drive Thru: Northern Beaches

Stu Nettle
Surfpolitik

As of this month I've been living on Sydney's Northern Beaches for six months. In that time I've surfed every wave from Winki to the Joey and therefore I'm in an excellent position to cast judgement on the region and its many famous waves.

It is an area that offers so much and delivers so little. South swells, by far the most prevalent direction on this coast, are treated with disdain by Northern Beaches surfers because so few places handle them, and those that do have a hundred out at daybreak.

North Swells send the local surfers – all 134,598 of them – into a rabid froth. And so they should get excited, for the Northern Beaches pumps in this direction and those three days a year should not be missed!

So then, here is my directory of Northern Beaches surfspots, sourced from my own field research and objective observations:

When is a wave not a wave? When it breaks just once a year? Or when the only reason it gets ridden is the conspicuous absence of quality waves nearby? Don't spend too long thinking about it because Deadmans, the southern-most spot on the Northern Beaches, is both. Calling it a wave is arguable and I'm not the arguing kind.

Just north of Deadies is Winki, which breaks very similar to a wave in Cronulla called The Patch. But whereas the Patch is a low-orbiting wave used only as a warm up for Shark Island, Winki is the centre of it's own bodyboarding universe. It's limited and fickle, but the prone crew are fiercely attached to it.

Fairy Bower was a wave that I always wanted to surf when I was growing up. The voice of the old boys travelled long and loud and I was regaled with stories of Snowy McAllister, Bob 'Surge' Evans and Nat Young taking on the big ones at the Bower. Yet to ride it now is to understand how far surfing has progressed, for the Bower is a museum piece. It is a majestic, south-swell dodging, longboard-loving relic of history. Remember, the old boys once considered Crescent Head a performance wave too.

Then there's Manly, my new home beach. Manly is the promised land for climate refugees from the northern hemsiphere who ditch longboards with aplomb and buy property by the pound. It's lively, cosmopolitan and an excellent place to perfect your closeout floater.

Curl Curl picks up a lot of swell...and doesn't know what to do with any of it. Like an overladen waiter it wobbles this way and that until something has to give. Usually it's your left knee as a three foot high backwash hits halfway through a reo. Down at the south end there's a young cadre of bodyboarders who claim ownership of the reef. In an endearing display of optimism they call it a 'wedge'. But it ain't a wedge, it's a wobble.

Dee Why Point is the go-to spot in a south swell, apparently. It is also the most dependable reefbreak on the Northern Beaches, apparently. Well, let me tell you that if Dee Why Point was located outside of city limits Mark Warren would never have included it in his Surfing Atlas. If Dee Why Point was in, say, a country town the locals would simply drive straight past it on their way to somewhere half decent. Dee Why doesn't handle a south wind and once it gets over six foot it washes through. When it does break it's as jumpy and unpredictable as the heavies that call it home. You go to race and the wave backs off, so you back off and it goes to race.

Long Reef looks great on a map, jutting eastward as it does and offering wind protection on both the north and south sides. Lovely. If the Gods were really smiling on the Northern Beaches there'd be Lennox Head on one side and Black Rock off to the other. Instead there's White Rock and bloody Butterbox.

Butterbox! When I first moved to the Northern Beaches a fella said to me that Butterbox was the northside equivalent of Voodoo. After surfing Butterbox a few times, even at some size, I can only deduce that the fella was suffering an acute and incurable case of delirium, or he had never surfed Voodoo. Butterbox isn't an answer to anything. Butterbox is a problem. It is the only lefthander I know where you spend more time going right and it wobbles more than half-set jelly. In a good swell the view from the top of Long Reef is incredible, defined swell lines approach the reef...and then they scatter like marbles in every direction.

As for White Rock, well, I've seen many rock shelfs that could do with some human augmentation, you know, just to improve what nature has created. A few rocks placed here, a few gaps filled there. Whiterock is a place that could benefit from construction of this kind. With a bargeload of concrete and landfill you'd have a lovely rockshelf to fish off. As for surfing? Forget it...

Years ago I was surfing at North Narrabeen and got dropped in on twice in a row by the same bloke. After the second time I arced up and was duly sent in. Not happy with sending me in Mr Angry then wanted to blue me on the beach. I walked to my car and tried to drive away. As I did, Mr Angry, who'd dropped in on me, still wanted to fight.

North Narrabeen is full of tradesman. Angry tradesman. Angry tradesman whos last two customers have defaulted on payment and they don't kick dogs around here, they go surfing instead. Peace and love and goodwill has completely passed this suburb by, and even though Terry Fitzgerald starred in Morning of the Earth he is the King of the Angry Tradesman.

Warriewood has the best southerly corner on the Northern Beaches. A place where you can get protection from the prevailing wind and still get a bit of size. The only problem is that when it's blowing south the carpark is full of tradesman's utes, and you know who owns them...

Mona Vale was very good in June 1987. Long lefthanders were running down the beach just like Uluwatu. The legend of Monawatu was born and it's never gotten as good since.

In November I had a session at Mona Vale Basin and was hassled by an unruly pack of lids. Obnoxious little twurps they were, talking-tough in high-pitched voices. A quick lesson: Humans have always fought over land, the concept is as old as religion. And the intensity of battle bears no relationship to the riches of the land. In 1973 over 10,000 men lost their lives in a battle for the Sinai Desert, a waterless, God-forsaken expanse in Egypt. Gimme the Sinai Desert over the Basin any day.

Shhhhh...somewhere around here is a...secret spot. This...secret spot is visible by no fewer than 100 dwellings. It lies just off the main arterial road and has a carpark with a great view right above it. It doesn't barrel, doesn't handle a south wind and every surfer on the Northern Beaches knows of this...secret spot. 

Newport Reef reminds me of a skateboard bowl, albeit one set with lumpy concrete and devoid of vertical sections. It's an ideal wave for longer boards, and when it breaks that's what the locals exclusively ride. Not 'longboards' as in malibus, but 'longer boards' as in guns of the Hawaiian variety, even when it's just six foot. On their ten foot Brewers they pick up waves earlier than the keenest of SUP's and angle never-so-gracefully toward the channel. The rest of the beach is a closeout aside from the Peak where you can do one pump and half a cutback before the closeout.

Last year I was suiting up in the carpark at North Avalon when a middle-aged fella driving a slick, late model BMW rocked up with the Ramones blaring on the speakers. He was sporting a pair of Rayban Baloramas and was catalogue-perfect in his beach attire. This cultural disjuncture pervades the whole suburb where superannuated baby boomers desperately cling to memories of their youth. At the south end, LA has a takeoff area the size of a dinner table and the locals are always ravenous.

Further beyond is Whale Beach and Palm Beach, both a good hours drive from Manly. For the same travel time I'd advise heading to the Central Coast, Cronulla or Wollongong, where the crowds are few, pies are cheap and parking free.

Comments

buzzie's picture
buzzie's picture
buzzie Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 1:33am

You know something......you are so right. I was there on the weekend (Nth Narrabeen) and it was ok, but as far as the whole peninsular goes, pretty ordinary.I think your second last paragraph pretty well somes up the Northern Beaches, a place to be seen, be cool, rich and boring.
Actually its not drive thru its drive straight on past.
The locals will love this feedback it will keep everyone away from their turf. You can only hope that will also encourage them to stay there and not invade other parts of the coast.
Anyway each to their own, waves and beaches are in the eye of the beholder.

bigtreeman's picture
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bigtreeman Friday, 25 Aug 2017 at 8:51am

Last time I was @ Northy (June), got a parking fine, ordinary waves, dropped in on, pushy grommits ... school hols, most tradies had gone to work, flat everywhere else, got off the fine, had some good chat, really fecking nice morning.
Glad to see you didn't mention LN, just drove straight past.

ftl's picture
ftl's picture
ftl Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 1:40am

This may be true, but the same sort of patronising article could also be written for the Southern Beaches
eg. Bondi 99% of time when its over 3ft closes out. Not many southern pockets. Overcrowded, groms who think they own beaches and drop in whenever they like. Etc.
And I'm sure it could be said for many other regions in Australia - I know from travel that the goldie and sunshine coast can really be a letdown sometimes, and they are as famous as!

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 1:45am

Well I'd like to make a claim for the North Coast as the capital of Angry Tradesmen.
Bastards'll beat up anyone who looks twice at 'em.

And the surf is massively over-rated, and often sharky as all hell.

I reckon the Sunny Coast has the friendliest crowds in Aus.

ftl's picture
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ftl Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 1:54am

In response to your comment freeride, the sunny coast crowds in general have been good, but when I was up there during Cyclone Vania at Tee Tree, I was dropped in on by some guy, who I then tackled off the wave. When I got back out to him, he blew up! I guess all areas have their angry bastards.

munkima's picture
munkima's picture
munkima Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 2:06am

This article is totally accurate, especially in regards to anything north of Newport. It really just isn't worth bothering checking past the bends, as every break north of there is total rubbish.

buzzie's picture
buzzie's picture
buzzie Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 2:09am

Well......I guess its agreed, no one can really lay claim to paradise.The one thing that does make a difference is how the crowd accepts each other, if that happens its a little closer to paradise.

And in that case, Sydeny is well and truly the last place to surf.

gggiiibbbo's picture
gggiiibbbo's picture
gggiiibbbo Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 2:16am

Shame you didn't critique Palmy - South Palmy = SUP-infested close out & patrolled like a gulag by the puffed up bronzed Boomers who dominate the surf club. Forget parking within several light years during November-April. North Palmy = treated like Desert Point by some misguided retro-throwbacks. They lie in wait for days at a time, dodging angry personal trainers in the sand hills and petulant Labradoodles in the vain hope that their Dickie Van Straalen fishes might glide along a wave for more than 20 metres.

marcus's picture
marcus's picture
marcus Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 2:36am

love it. try doing one on newcastle. it sits somewhere between the northern beaches and port stephens for boringness

you never realise how good cronulla is untill you move.
when i lived in wollongong i missed cronulla.
when i moved to newcastle i thought even wollongong has bomboras.
cronulla is where its at.

clif's picture
clif's picture
clif Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 2:38am

lmao great article. Nothing like a one-eyed reviewed for a good laugh. Yet, it is funny because it's true. hahahaha

oldo-nicho's picture
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oldo-nicho Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 2:50am

baaahahahaha...

I reckon you should write the synics-surf-atlas-of-Australia Stu!

barstardos1's picture
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barstardos1 Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 3:08am

I have lived most of the NB's over the last 2 decades. Mainly Curly, Freshie and Queensie but a few stints further north too.
Left Knee ACL reconstruction due to backhand closeout reo at curly - check!

barstardos1's picture
barstardos1's picture
barstardos1 Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 3:31am

Stu, have to say the last 6 months has been the most crapulous 6 months for surf in recent memory. Apart from a few moments last week, we havent had a decent swell since July. Lets see if La Nina delivers and next 3 months are nothing but ENE swells in all their variations. If that happens you wont be missing the swell starved Nulla.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 3:41am

Hope you're right Barstardos, cause I'm ready and waiting. Perhaps I've still got an instinct for south swells, cos whenever I see one (and we've had a few) I get excited, but somewhere between the palette and the canvas things goes awry.

Willing to be proven wrong on north swells though. And here's hoping that if I am proven wrong everyone forgets that I wrote this article...

trent71's picture
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trent71 Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 5:11am

Do something La Nina and deliver perfect cylinders and i'll be hitting the road north bound. Great read Stu.

pommy-phil's picture
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pommy-phil Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 5:56am

Grass is always greener. Thats local life

maddogmorley's picture
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maddogmorley Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 6:16am

Adelaide is no better. We've got the Mid Coast that has great reef's but never gets any swell and Victor Harbor which gets a heap of swell but has no reefs. You could count on one hand the number of times each one goes off in a year. If we want a decent wave its 3hrs drive to Yorkes or 6hrs to the West Coast. Reckon most city surfing is the same and off the beaten track is where you want to be.

ed's picture
ed's picture
ed Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 6:31am

classic stuff about nth narrabeen. When i was down there surfing sth narrabeen at 17 years of age i was chased in by sum skin head 40 year old, who accused me of being gay. As i was sitting to close to him in the line-up...

etarip's picture
etarip's picture
etarip Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 7:04am

it always makes me laugh that The Shire and the Northern Beaches both claim the vaunted title of "God's Country"... one is blind to the south... the other to the north... Surely God would bless his country with an abundance of options?

bookster's picture
bookster's picture
bookster Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 7:11am

Great read, stu.

stever12's picture
stever12's picture
stever12 Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 8:09am

Tru again Stu. After living in Europe for the last couple of years and before that growing up in Torquay, I was smiling when i heard the words we are moving to the Northern Beaches, I'd seen the photos in the mags as I grew up, I'd talked to people that lived there claiming how good it was yesterday. After living here for the last year I can only smile and be happy I grew up where i had to pull on a wetsuit most of the year, booties and a hood in winter. Torquay has more Quality waves in a couple of Km's than the whole stretch of the Northern beaches. I can also be glad that my days of hassling for the inside are long gone and i just enjoy going for a surf for the pure fun. I also smile at the aggro local and think if they only knew how many quality surfs this old bald guy smiling at them has had with only a few friends to share them. Yes glad I grew up in the cold south in the era before surf became trendy. But I will say surfing in boardies is nice.

johncunno's picture
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johncunno Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 9:44am

well that just leaves Queensie as the pick of the crop as it did not even rate a mention, maybe that was on purpose!!!!!.

dial's picture
dial's picture
dial Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 10:49am

You have seen the NB's at there worse but it's always been average at best. The way it used to be was residue winter banks through the beginning of summer with a build up of sand in the northern corners ready for a few NE swells late summer. Then early winter a huge S swell would rip out the summer banks and form some nice winter banks.

These days we aren't seeing those patterns so even last winter when we got some really nice swells, we didn't have the banks.

Yeah, average at best, getting worse.

keen's picture
keen's picture
keen Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 10:39pm

haha this article is funny as heck! Kinda harsh, but totally on the mark about those ute bandits at NN... But how awesome is the Northern beaches for the fact that you can get some sort of a wave after or before work.. Better than nothing!

rron's picture
rron's picture
rron Monday, 24 Jan 2011 at 11:59pm

Bungan IS a secret. You bastard. No Bilgola either - missing some quality there. And no Queensie??? The backpackers promised land or sideshore in a southerly? Bombie's a just fat shoulder too.

Fish outta water was my favourite Dr Suess.

wade's picture
wade's picture
wade Tuesday, 25 Jan 2011 at 12:48am

Be thankful you don't live in Vicco . There are no waves at all here . None . Never

rasda's picture
rasda's picture
rasda Tuesday, 25 Jan 2011 at 1:04am

nothing at Monawatu either ahahaha thank you!!!

fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21 Tuesday, 25 Jan 2011 at 1:24am

Great read Stu, bought a smile to my face, although I think you need to be in an area for more than 6 months!
After spending the first 26 years of my life growing up and living on the NB's ,although not world class, I have very fond memories of some classic sessions through the area. But now that I live in the warmer climes well north, I have to agree with what you now see.
Maybe my vision and memory is somewhat clouded now, but every time I go back to visit, it sure doesn't turn on like I remember it, and the numbers in the water (with attitude)is out of control. So I really don't miss it since I've left.

pensky's picture
pensky's picture
pensky Tuesday, 25 Jan 2011 at 10:02am

Classic piece. I'll throw this out there - out of interest what would commentators suggest is best location in NSW for balance between wave quality/consistency and crowds.....

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 25 Jan 2011 at 11:28am

Coal Coast pensky?

Not too far south as too miss out on southerly swells wrapping into Sydney and Newy, but also open to NE swells during Summer. Good beach breaks and some classic reefs, also with beautiful scenery.

Even though Stu has put a negative slant on the region, it's a hell of a lot better than the surf around Adelaide!

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Monday, 20 Oct 2014 at 4:13pm

Coal Coast ?!! No chance. Great article Stu. Beautifully cynical. Northern beaches of Sydney are Oz 's very own Huntington Beach - self proclaimed Surf City , despite the most average, overcrowded waves going.
Thank fuck for Sydney.... soaking up thousands of surfers yearly.

karlos's picture
karlos's picture
karlos Wednesday, 26 Jan 2011 at 11:24pm

Great article Stu & too true. I'm just glad nobody's trying to defend it (at least too hard), not that it'd make any difference to the crowd situation...

Manly may as well be a crowded Cornwall I reckon these days going by the accents in the water & elsewhere.

batfink_and_karate's picture
batfink_and_karate's picture
batfink_and_karate Thursday, 27 Jan 2011 at 9:59pm

Closer to the mark than most are suggesting Stu. There are a lot of memories of classic days on the nothern beaches, just you and 300 of your best friends scrabbling for whatever you can get.

Fact is that they are few and far between.

Good thing you didn't bother with Cronulla. One long close out surrounded by two reek breaks, one constantly dominated by boogers, the other the only place for anyone within 20 kms to go to, and watch for the urchins.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Thursday, 27 Jan 2011 at 10:08pm

Good point B&K - can't wait to read 'Drive Thru: Cronulla' :)

brianp's picture
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brianp Friday, 28 Jan 2011 at 11:51pm

Great article, very entertaining! Living away from Syd now, I tend to glorify the few-ish good days and forget the vast amount of mediocrity!

sunny's picture
sunny's picture
sunny Saturday, 29 Jan 2011 at 7:37am

Classic read Stu...but misguided.
Claiming you are qualified to know a large surfing area after one year is like a one season Hawaiian North Shore veteran.
You have obviously tried to cover too much too soon and fell into every chiched pitfall in the book.
The Path is an interesting and dangerously shallow reef barrel ruled by a stoned Bunghole crew and not to many outsiders get a wave or even know the years of accumilated knowlage of tide, swell & wind conditions which make this wave a jewel of the NB's.
Grovelling your way around Sydney beaches north east and South is all very futile and a nice drive down the Princess is where you will find your satisfaction (and no artical's please).

peterb's picture
peterb's picture
peterb Sunday, 30 Jan 2011 at 12:23am

stu, you are a lovely chap and many of us would like to thank you for such a good job on the peninsula - the places you completely denied mention are safe for another year or two and the ones you derided gave us a chucke - who would ever believe that newport reef has a ledge on low tide @ 10' +?

what nonsense -

pete

radiationrules's picture
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radiationrules Monday, 31 Jan 2011 at 2:45am

Stu,

I love the humour and syntacs in your writing but...seriously, Sydney Harbour is one of the most glorious waterways in the world that exists in a CBD. Likewise the majesty of the northen beaches, less than 2 hours drive from the CBD with 40 breaks to choose from? These breaks may not be prefect but the question to ask yourself in Sydney is "have I got time to go surfing?" not "are there any waves to go surfing?", the second question being the one most surfers around the world have to ask themselves. I spent 15 years in Sydney and never tired of the easy access to surf - most days. Now I am living in Perth, which is a joke as far as city surfing goes. But hey the wilderness trips sort of make up for it but they total about 30 days a year, so you have to balance that up with the possibility of surfing +/- 300 days a year in Sydney. A small scrap of a wave that is all yours, is still a unique experince, never devalue that. That's my view overall.

2000man's picture
2000man's picture
2000man Monday, 31 Jan 2011 at 5:03am

Stu,
...great insight. I agree with radiationrules 100%
I've long since escaped Sydney for Northern NSW, so I can offer the following:
The best wave in Sydney is 'Voodoo'. So named as it's also the spookiest, dirtiest (was), urchin-infested-shark-inhabited powerful beauty/bitch.
The worst: the Bondi to Bronte stretch.
Ironically, the former is the least crowded, the latter... well, you know.
cheers

batfink_and_karate's picture
batfink_and_karate's picture
batfink_and_karate Tuesday, 1 Feb 2011 at 5:10am

Radiation, while Perth is a surfing black hole, if you aren't tied down with family then the world is your oyster over there.

If you are tied down, it's no different to Sydney. The occasions when you're availability and the surf co-operates are so fleetingly rare that you may as well be living in Perth.

While Sydney has an unbelievable number of breaks in short distance, the fact remains that if the swell isn't working then you are grovelling around in 1-2ft onshore mush, which covers around 250 days of the average year.

mick-free's picture
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mick-free Tuesday, 8 Feb 2011 at 4:22pm

Stu, its amazing how NB can be 1 foot and you head North or South and you can find 3 foot uncrowded. Thank goodness most people stay at home guarding their local spot in the lineup. I think the last 6 months hasn't given you a great period of swell for you since moving to NB, but you quickly forget the bad periods. Its hard to forget Anzac day a few years ago and the last Sunday of May 2010. Curly is having a shocker, the sand restoration has flattened the beach. The water quality now is a lot better too than when I first moved there. Also all areas are more and more stretched on scarce resources, so where is the best place?? NB gotta rate for living working and surfing esp if you can chase down swells in other areas. East coast Aus gets 3-4 days average wave action per year. East Coast NZ 5 days. SW gets the most, but thats also being tapped by a growing population. Is Kelly getting his wave pool setup yet or what?? Maybe thats the answer

mick-free's picture
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mick-free Tuesday, 8 Feb 2011 at 4:24pm

sorry comment regarding wave action is per week not per year

rialto-fresh's picture
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rialto-fresh Saturday, 12 Feb 2011 at 2:01am

Yes I must say that Syndey's Northern beaches breeds a certain kind of "SUPER LOCAL". I mean we get a bit of it down in vic but its usaully its dealt with n' you move on, most people are at least polite and there is a good sense of communication in the water, we'll at least by 50% of the surfing population, but thats enough to make it a pleasant experience asside from surfing the waves. I was surfing at Bells earlier this week and there was a guy telling other surfers to go for waves he felt he just wasn't quite going to get! And then, if you didn't make it either he'd tell you that you were right in there, just in the right spot and he was never good for it anyway! I mean how much does that just take the edge off, people actually being nice out there, I mean it is about having fun right? And last time I checked, fighting and yelling at people really isn't that enjoyable - nor vice a versa. And if shit happens it happens right? ...

The most pathetic wave rage I ever did see was a packed day in Noosa. Old man Mal got in the way of young - gun shortie and they both went balls up. Then what happened? All hell let loose and verbal assualt of cussings and prissy little splashes and they both practically called each other out, or in -whatever. The whole situation would have been avoided if old man mal admitted he was in the wrong, but then a gain young shortie really didn't help by provoking the situation more or by doing what I like to say 'poking the bear!'...From an onlookers perspective it was a little amusing, but a bit sad and painful, maybe they both should have just gone to work that day!

tutlesbum's picture
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tutlesbum Tuesday, 15 Feb 2011 at 4:55am

Stu, I got a good laugh out of this, partly just from imagining how many people you'd be pissing off. I think you could apply similar assessment to many areas, surfing being an addiction fuelled by unreasonable optimism, where actual conditions so rarely meet our hopes. Tell me, in what other sport do you spend hours (even days) in return for a minute or two total actually doing the thing you're there for (riding on the face of a wave) !?
You mention Central Coast, where I live, as an uncrowded alternative - I assume you're joking. I think half those tradies now live up here, though generally less of the anger, so it would've been worse down there otherwise. Mind you, if you're up here on a Sunday & pining for some serious aggro, try straying 5 mm into comp area for Avoca Boardriders (that'd be the 1km stretch with the good breaks).

Over the years I've had good surfs at Fairy Bower (crowded like south Avoca or Copa point when they're on), Queenscliff, Newport Reef, the Wedge at Whale Beach, so I think you've had bad luck so far. Don't wait too long to pen another similarly caustic piece !

ACB__'s picture
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ACB__ Monday, 20 Oct 2014 at 2:43pm
mick-free's picture
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mick-free Monday, 20 Oct 2014 at 4:59pm

Epic photo!

Been 3 poor winters in a row I reckon northern beaches.
On average there's waves 3 days a week here and its good one of those days....fair play??

Compare that to East Coast NZ (using Gizzy & Dunedin) and there are waves 6 days a week with 2 good days. But you are looking for people to surf with over there. Here you always have friends in the water haha

wellymon's picture
wellymon's picture
wellymon Monday, 20 Oct 2014 at 7:32pm

No Norfolk trees to climb like that
Awesome stuff

A few pinus radiata but the branches are some what spaced apart and ugly;)
Maybe 45 degree Macracarpas down in Invers

inzider's picture
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inzider Sunday, 26 Oct 2014 at 8:20pm

SLight difference in water temp between dunners and skidnee, only about 20 degrees.

daltz's picture
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daltz Monday, 20 Oct 2014 at 6:40pm

Oh my......quite antagonistic aren't you Stu :-)

I really tried not to take the bait you so beautifully presented, though my resistance was futile. Tongue firmly in cheek.

Weather its Deadies, Mantown, DY, Longy or any other of the rock shelves you have and have not mentioned up the stretch, it is a place full of wonder. Sure, it doesn't stack up like corduroy, ala Superbank but that's part of its mystery. In amongst the junk are some absolute pearls.

There are waves around here that continue to blow my mind, with their thickness, hollow form and picture perfect shape. Its just a matter if knowing where the bank is, what the winds are doing and when the tides right (possibly more critical on the NB).

Making the drop and getting a showercap at Deadies is very satisfying indeed. Watching QB unload, while in a pit at Winki is quite surreal. DY, Longy, Newport, Av and the rest of the reefs you have and have not mentioned, absolutely cook on their day (quite recently actually). As for the beachies, as fickle as any other place around the world (I mean D'bah just got through a month drought) but they are slabbing, spitting and moist many other days of the year. Blink and you'll miss it I suppose.

The last two swells (south) have been uncrowded and slabbing in places, go figure.

I can assure that Deadies, Winki, Bower will tear you a new one, behind the pool is a great wobble to backdoor, DY delivers solid pits, Longy has so many options its a joke, blah blah blah.
Dont get me wrong, I'd prefer to be at the end of a dirt track down south, up to my nuts in pits any day. I'm just sayin

Cant help but think its a case of the wrong place at the wrong time Stu.
Put down Warrens atlas, forget the folk lore and have a look around.
The fact you were surfin the basin says volumes bahawh :-)

blindboy's picture
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blindboy Monday, 20 Oct 2014 at 8:26pm

I missed that first time around but it made me laugh. I would hate to move to the NB and have to figure it out now that the crowds are so thick but I have had a great time over many years surfing a lot of the places Stu dismisses. Even now it is surprising how often you can jag a reasonable uncrowded session and how weird and narrow some of the windows of opportunity can be and how some spots can be great fun in completely the opposite conditions......faces south, known to be quite often good in a howling south easterly and so on. And, if I had the arms I once had, I wouldn't go short of a wave most places. The average NB crowd is pretty soft and the aggro is generally skin deep, once you are a familiar face you can go out, go hard and most get out of the way, but yeh, if you want classic line ups and predictable conditions you are on the wrong stretch of coast. And as for Avalon, it has always been a worry.

Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
Halfscousehalfc... Monday, 20 Oct 2014 at 8:33pm

La Niña equals e/ne ground swells and El Niño equals shit swells, guess what we're heading to? Welcome to shitsville northern beaches

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blindboy Monday, 20 Oct 2014 at 9:21pm

True but more offshores in an El Niño, cute little beach breaks here there and everywhere, less serious but can still be fun as long as it doesn't stay at half a metre for too long ....... And I don't think you ever did answer....Red or blue? The scouse half.

Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
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Halfscousehalfc... Monday, 20 Oct 2014 at 9:49pm

Red and red only, old mans brain washed me bb, ha

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Halfscousehalfc... Monday, 20 Oct 2014 at 9:59pm

When was the last proper north east ground swell over 4 ft on the central NSW coast? I'm talking proper north east, not dead east or east south east but north east. My memory is short but I can't remember one this year. Those bigger swells in march were east south east so they don't count

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blindboy Monday, 20 Oct 2014 at 10:09pm

YNWA. I was born within walking distance of the Mersey.....not many north east swells there either!

Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
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Halfscousehalfc... Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 at 7:50am

Good to see another red bb!

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kerry1 Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 at 3:22pm

I look at all these critiques of surf spots and wonder how all these so called comments come from. It is logic that every man has his day and every surf spot has its day, some more than others. I have live on the Northern Beaches, Sydney's Eastern Suburbs and after so many great sessions on the Northern Beaches over a 15 year period have to say I have surfed every spot on the Northside and every spot during each session was flawless. Especially south Narrabeen, Northy, Curl Curl, Winki and Fairy Bower. You try to tell me Fairy Bower is a long board wave well yes it can be, but drag your guts out there when we have a ESE pumping 6-10ft swell with light SSW winds and you will be in for a epic session. As for South Narrabeen I have had some incredible hollow barrels that on it's day would make a pipeline local smile. I moved away from the Northern beaches 14 years ago to Camden yes Camden. Peaceful great little town and only 45 mins from the Coal Coast. I can tell you now the Coal Coast is less consistent than the Northern Beaches but I would not swap the South coast for the Northern Beaches as I have had just as good and LESS CROWDED on the Coal Coast and the South coast than the N/Beachers. EVERY SURF SPOT HAS ITS DAY AND ON ITS DAY IT IS GREAT. So all this whohaa! about each region being better than the other is rubbish.

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Blowin Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 at 3:53pm

There's not much difference between the Northern beaches and Indo when you really think about it.

ACB__'s picture
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ACB__ Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 at 9:22am

Lol

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uplift Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 at 4:37pm

'As for South Narrabeen I have had some incredible hollow barrels that on it's day would make a pipeline local smile.'

They'd be more than fucken' smiling if they heard that shit... try rolling around on the ground dry reaching and laughing their fucking heads off.

Imagine another pumping pipeline day.

'Hey guys this is awesome, its breaking like souf nazza!!! Lets all move there, its insane, we can have the souf nazza masters too!!! Who needs this shit?'

No kezza, some regions totally shit all over others. Try putting a resort in souf nazza and lie your guts out, luring everyone from cloudbreak, whilst slugging them the same rates. Body found floating face down in nazza shorey... 'due to the numerous knuckle marks and dents and footprints all over it, police are treating it as suspicious.'

In Ballina I constantly used to hear that shelleys was breakin' like ulus. No it wasn't and no it doesn't. Drugs.

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evosurfer Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 at 4:38pm

Just remember Cronulla has shit waves and only shit waves and nothing but
shit waves so stay where you are and enjoy your great waves.

maxe's picture
maxe's picture
maxe Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 at 10:22pm

I take it the author surfs at Freshwater a lot, why else would you of forgotten to mention it!

BTW, we just had another shark attack the other day on the Central Coast and we all love to SUP up here so I wouldn't bother coming.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Thursday, 25 Jun 2015 at 3:13pm

Cause he wants some discount on Cdrive fins.

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paddlepaddleduc... Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 at 9:03pm

Maxe forgot too mention heaps of bogans, bikies, synthetic drugs, fat chicks and footy shorts in the surf only.

NB resident for my twenties and probably saw the last of the best of the place before it has been over- developed, crowded, run, surfed....generally over.

I loved all those reefs round longy makaha, doltons (?), centuries, butterbox etc

So glad to be out of Sydney and if it wasn't for family would never ever go back.

blindboy's picture
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blindboy Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 at 9:20pm

I believe I have the extremely dubious honour of being the first person to surf Centuries, which was named after the lens being used by the photographer I was with!

stunet's picture
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stunet Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 at 9:30pm

Oh, so there are photos of this momentous session?

Out with 'em BB.

blindboy's picture
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blindboy Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 at 9:35pm

Absolutely Stu. I believe one at least was published in a very rare book " How To Ride A Surfboard" published by Jack Pollard sometime in the mid seventies. I no longer have a copy but feel free to publish anything you can find.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 at 9:41pm

Think I might have it in the office. Will check on Friday, and if so will scan for all to see. Might even make it Wave of the Day.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 at 10:18pm

When Stu's onto something, he'll come up with the goods. Can't wait to see!

blindboy's picture
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blindboy Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 at 9:36pm

Oh and a hint. It has a very zen kinda feel to it, it's all about the fingers.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 at 9:44pm

Shit, I thought I had destroyed the last copy! Curse you eBay!

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walter-r-white Friday, 24 Oct 2014 at 9:04am

I'm just going to say Melbourne sucks because its by a bay but for the committed it also rocks because there are two coasts just over an hour away - one more exposed but prone to unfavourable winds, the other more sheltered but prone to favourable winds - and when things get really desperate, if you are committed there are always pumping waves to be had at Johanna provided the winds is anywhere between NNW and E.

Crowds? Nope not really (ok Bells and Winki Pop for sure - but I'm a goofy so I'd rather find barrels are 13th if its pumping anyway). If I'm not at Bells, Winki, Jan Juc (dont mock it, it has its days in winter) or 13th I'm usually just I'm hoping there will be others out (e.g. Point Addis) so I don't feel like its just me and the man in the grey suit.

inzider's picture
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inzider Sunday, 26 Oct 2014 at 8:28pm

Jan JUc are you serious? The only thing that beach has going for it is the rock, now thats a neat little tub.

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gavin007 Saturday, 25 Oct 2014 at 11:08am

Too bad you didn't drive over The Angry Tradesman at Narrabeen!

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Hatty Saturday, 25 Oct 2014 at 1:49pm

As long as Tassie is where it is the NB, and the rest of the East coast, will have inconsistent quality surf options thanks to a huge swell shadow...

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t-diddy Saturday, 25 Oct 2014 at 9:34pm

hilarious piece but as someone who has lived in Hawai'i, the Gold Coast, Sydney, and Perth in that order I couldn't allow myself to complain about the northern beaches.
There can no pain greater than knowing a 5.0m swell is producing 8-10ft waves in Marg River with more reefs, points, and beachies than people and then seeing the same swell produce shoulder high close outs on the city beaches. The 'reef' breaks in the city produce rides about 4m long if they break.
This of course doesn't address the local populace which as far as I can tell consist exclusively of dangerous bogans who seem to think its still ~1954 and that dancing should be illegal and beer only consumed from wooden buckets (although out in the water everyone is quite nice). One saving grace is Rotto which is paradise but cost about $80 return.

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camboboog Sunday, 26 Oct 2014 at 12:53am

Eloquent patriotism by managed misinformation. I wonder how a surf website editor/journalist would have been received if said person gave a glowing report of locations that they relocated to? Suave political manouvering.

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Darryl Menzies Sunday, 26 Oct 2014 at 12:29pm

Written like a true ex shire boy Stu.

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Pedrochap Sunday, 26 Oct 2014 at 7:32pm

Haha nice article, I've lived in the hell hole of surf you described in your article. I guess after getting out of the shitty surf I'll just have to go to the many bars, with many beautifull women and thank god I don't live anywhere near cronulla where the west meets the sea!!
Give me shit surf over a shit hole of a place any day!!

Blowin's picture
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Blowin Wednesday, 23 Aug 2017 at 9:27pm

Still loving this old post.

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lostdoggy Thursday, 24 Aug 2017 at 1:40pm

A lot of extinct usernames from 2011.