It might be the belief of many that Bondi is the only beach in Sydney that offers great waves and nearly perfect surf, but that's entirely untrue. Throughout Australia, there are many beaches that offer that perfect set but in Sydney, specifically, there are plenty that offers that and more. Bondi might be one of the best, but there are definitely others that are competing for surf fame.
According to Sydney.com, the city has 70 beaches alone that surfers can use, each one offering a different level of difficulty. This is part of the reason Australia's east coast has become so iconic when it comes to surfing, and these beaches are part of why it remains that way today.
Manly Beach For Hefty Surf
A well-known beach when it comes to catching those perfect southwestern wind-induced waves, Manly Beach is not for the faint of heart. However, it does cater to all levels of surfers, including beginners who are just looking to get their feet wet (literally). The distinction between the northern and southern ends of this beach help to keep novice surfers and experienced surfers separated, for their own safety. Toward the southern end of the beach, beginners can take their time practicing on waves that aren't as unforgiving. Much of the southern end is well-protected which means that catching an overpowering wave is a rarity (but, obviously, not entirely impossible). The northern end of the beach catches the clip from the northern winds, which create bigger, more powerful waves. While this might be something that an intermediate surfer can handle, when those winds whip up, it's best to leave it to those with the most experience.
The only downside about Manly Beach is that it does get crowded thanks to its short distance from Sydney. A short ferry ride gives beachgoers and surfers access to its shores, which means weekends are particularly gnarly when it comes to the crowds.
A great alternative to Bondi is Maroubra Beach, which is known for its clutch barrel waves that rival that of its neighbor. Aside from that, the beach also has great consistency in its waves, in general, which makes it a prime spot for surfers. In terms of crowd control, it sees far fewer beachgoers than the others which also makes it a great Sydney surf spot.
Similar to Manly Beach, the southern end of Maroubra sees smaller waves that are easier to handle for novice and intermediate surfers. The northern end should definitely be kept off-limits for novices since northern winds also whip up the most monstrous surf. Those visiting Maroubra Beach will likely notice the separation of the two, and the fact that only surfers with the most experience intentionally head to the north end of the shore.
Cronulla Beach is able to claim the title of being the longest beach in Sydney which also makes it one of the best places to surf, as well. As such, it also reflects the crowds that head to the beach due to its prime surf. On weekends, the only downfall is the crowded line of surfers waiting for that perfect swell, which is something surfers might want to consider before heading out on a Saturday. With that being said, the northern end of the beach is better for novice surfers, as the winds create swells that are smaller than that of the southern end.
In the northern end of the beach, there are no sandbars which mean no shallow ground to break up the swells. Therefore, it can be more challenging for novice surfers to tackle waves on this end with south-facing swells.
North Narrabeen Beach
North Narrabeen Beach is considered world-class simply due to its beauty and consistency in regard to its waves. Out of all the beaches in Sydney, this one pumps out some of the most beautiful, and reliable, sets. This is also known as the beach where the pros go surfing, making it a great spot for novices to watch and learn, as well. Speaking of which, being an onlooker might be the only thing that a newcomer does their first time at North Narra - it can get crowded with experienced surfers, and not every novice will have the chance to paddle out.
This is one beach where beginners will need to show their respect to those who have been catching waves here for years, and it's a worthy place to do so. The surf out on this end can be competitive which is also something to keep in mind if you're an experienced surfer looking to catch the best set of the day.