Surfer, Manly Beach, Sydney Australia.


Surfer, Manly Beach, Sydney Australia. These photos give you an idea of what good surf looks like in Manly.

It's not like this all the time.

If you want great surf more frequently in Sydney go to North Narrabeen. There aren't that many beach breaks in the world as good as Narrabeen. Watch out for the locals, you'd better be good.


Surf in Manly can be very good more often than a lot of people realise.

It never seems to be really good when they hold a contest. Except maybe that Coke Classic at North Steyne (was it 1978?) where Wayne Lynch returned to form and Larry Blair got that amazing (was it really 8 seconds?) tube. Manly has produced four World Surfing Champions, Barton Lynch, Pam Burridge, Layne Beachley and Stuart Entwistle (longboard).


Surfer, Manly Beach, Sydney Australia. It was here in 1964 that Midget Farrelly won the first World Surfing Contest. You'll still find him surfing here occasionally at sunrise before he heads off to the board factory. He is still as fluid and functional as ever.

It was around the headland at Freshwater in 1915 that Duke Kahanamoku is credited with bringing board riding to Australia. However locals had been riding various types of boards for a number of years before that. Some of the best known were members of the "Boomerang" camp at Freshwater. At a surf carnival at Freshwater in 1912 W. H. Walker from Manly put on a display of board riding that included doing headstands.

view Film Australia's video about Duke


It was at South Steyne in 1902 that William Henry Gocher defied the "no daylight bathing" law and the freedom to swim and surf when and where you liked was won.


Manly is the first of Sydney's 18 Northern Beaches.

The beach itself is a crescent of yellow sand about a mile long, the centre of it faces northeast. The northern most end is called Queenscliff, the centre, North Steyne and the southern corner South Steyne.

The best surf appears with the arrival of the offshore winds betwen April and October (the colder months). It is very protected from the south and so when a southerly storm arrives Manly is one of the few spots in Sydney with a decent wave.

It is home to the Manly Malibu Boardriders Club.

Surfer, Manly Beach, Sydney Australia.


Surfer, Manly Beach, Sydney Australia. The main beach is a beach break and therefore the quality of its surf is dependent on the shape of the banks which are formed during storms. If the banks are good it can handle a swell up to ten feet.

When the swell gets above this the Bombora (a reef half a mile off shore) will break. This can handle a swell of any size, however the shape of the wave is not exactly legendary.


Right at the southern extremity in Cabbage Tree Bay is a point break called Fairy Bower. This too can handle almost any swell the storms can throw at it. It works on a south swell above six foot and a south to south west wind.

It is really four breaks that on very big swells can join together as one. Way outside is "Deadmans", a tow in take off, then "Winkipop" a suck up over a shallow reef that leads eventually to "Surge" rock which sucks up the wave about two thirds of the way around the point. The next section was named the "Racetrack" by past legend Snowy McAlister (1904-1988), it is also sometimes referred to as the "Bower".

By now the south swell has bent almost 180 degrees around the point.

Surfer, Manly Beach, Sydney Australia



Tow-ins at Deadmans, Fairy Bower (from IanZ)



 Winki and Deadmans, great tubes (from Bullfrogging)

surfers at various beaches on the northern beaches (sportsinfomedia) 

Big surf at Freshwater (benofharbord) 


more photos


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