How to Surf In Sydney

Navigating your way through Australia’s largest city can be intimidating, so we asked one of our favorite locals, former CT surfer and founding Awayco team member, Blake Thornton to share the best way to approach surfing in Sydney. Blake was raised on Maroubra’s beachbreaks, and knows the ins and outs of the region.

From the Northern Beaches down to Cronulla, there’s no shortage of options (and Awayco locations) to surf, eat, drink and enjoy yourself. And what Sydney may lack in wave quality it makes up for in quantity and accessibility. It’s well worth the trip. 

Surfing in Sydney at a Glance

Fly into: Sydney International Airport (SYD), 15-minutes from Maroubra
Drive from: Melbourne, 9 hours; Newcastle, 2 hours
Wetsuit: 3/2 in winter, boardshorts in the summer
Best season: April through June
Ideal swell direction: East
Ideal wind direction: West
Exchange rate: $1 USD = $1.46 AUD
Budget for a long weekend: $450
Nearby Awayco locations: Aloha Manly Surf Shop, Cronulla Surfing Academy, STM Bondi Junction, Maroubra Surf & SK8, Haydenshapes Mona Vale, Aido Mona Vale, Awayco HQ Bondi
Sydney Fun Fact: The Sydney Opera House has more than one million ceramic tiles on the roof and 10,000 pipes in the Grand Organ’s concert hall.

Manly
What's black and white and on fire? Manly Beach, apparently.

Where to surf in Sydney

For beginners:
Cronulla’s a great option because it’s less crowded. It’s a long stretch of beach, you can find some space to learn and there are good facilities down there. You can hire from Cronulla Surfing Academy and they offer lessons as well.

 For advanced surfers:
Maroubra probably has the most powerful waves in the area. It’s got a pretty core crowd, so you do have to be a little mindful. But generally, the wave quality is the pick out in the eastern suburbs. From Maroubra Surf & SK8 you can pick up a Hypto Krypto when there’s swell, or ditch polyurethane altogether and try an MF Softboard

For the experts: 
You’re extremely spoiled for options along the Northern Beaches, and there are a bunch of great waves along there. You’ve got Narrabeen, and north from there, it’s Avalon, Whale Beach and more. With Awayco you can get boards anywhere from Manly to Mona Vale

How seriously should we take the Bra Boys movie?

Every beach has localism, and there’s some heavy hitters. Being a part of that landscape, I can guarantee that if you’re respectful and polite, you won’t have any issues. It’s no different than any other beach. Know your surf etiquette, be friendly and you won’t have a problem. 

Maroubra
Maroubra, playing nice.

Where to stay

I’d recommend Airbnb as it’s got the most options. If you’re with some mates you can get an entire house, but if you’re traveling solo you can get a room to yourself. And the beauty of that is a lot of the time you’ll connect with local host with more inside information. 

What to pack in your carry-on

Fly spray and sunscreen. In summer, the flies are insane. 

Car or no car?

You don’t need one. Public transportation is quite convenient and cost-effective, and you can carry your surf equipment on everything. It may take a little longer but you’ll be seeing some breathtaking scenery. If you plan ahead and aren’t in a rush, public transport has a bus, train, ferry and light-rail systems are good. 

(Hint: Get an Opal Card at the airport and download the app, It’s a lifesaver when figuring out public transit)

Awayco HQ Bondi
Awayco's Bondi HQ. That's Blake Thornton there on the right, all bearded and kind.

Best place for a coffee?

Everyone has to check out Bondi, and Awayco HQ is next door to the best coffee shop / breakfast cafe in the Bondi area, Porch and Parlour. Great coffee, great views.

Best place for a post-surf beer?

The Bucket List is located in the middle of Bondi Beach. It’s as close as you can get to being on the sand, and it’s not inflated pricing. For that outdoor evening with the sun setting, North Bondi RSL is unbelievable.

Where to eat

You’re so spoiled for food choices here in Sydney. For Maroubra, try The Bay Bakehouse. It’s a Vietnamese bakery, and they do great coffee, Vietnamese rolls, soups and bakery treats. 

If you’re in Cronulla, try Pilgrims Cafe. It’s a vegetarian cafe owned by surfers, and the food is good portions, not overpriced and you’ll feel good afterward. If you’re at Bondi looking for a grab ‘n’ go option, Beach Buritto Company is a short walk from our HQ and it’s a great big burrito that surfers love and crave. 

Blake Thornton surifng Bondi
Our local guide, Blake Thornton, surfing in Bondi.

Good hole in the wall

In Manly, Verd salads. It’s a vegan cafe and they do unbelievable salads. Hearty, healthy, it’s insane. You don’t even know you’re eating vegan. 

Recommended reading/viewing 

Learn Australian slang.

There are no waves: what do I do?

If it’s flat, you have to do the Coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee. You can take your time, stop at one of the beaches for lunch. 

More to explore

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