BEST OF THE COAST: Top 10 surf breaks as voted by you
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THE coastline to Byron Bay features some of the world’s best breaks — here are the top 10 as voted by you.
Honourable mentions to The Other Side at South Straddie and Kirra which only had a few nominations — probably because surfers want to keep them from overcrowding.
10. Narrowneck and Fingal
Gold Coast, Fingal Head NSW
Locals are thanking the council for the artificial reef that helps create Narrowneck’s quality wave. When the surf peaks the reef can provide some of the best rides on any open stretch. Fingal relies on the sand to fill in the gaps and prefers a north easterly swell.
This southern end of the Gold Coast boasts the best breaks. World champion locals Joel Parkinson and Mick Fanning are often shredding Greenmount. You’ll get your best ride when there is a southerly swell and south-easterly wind.
8. Surfers Paradise
Passed the crowded sand you’ll find you’ve stumbled across a wipe-out wonderland. It may be the top tourist spot on the Gold Coast, but among the sightseers are keen surfers who can always rely on the Surfers break. Locals and visitors claim the exposed beach break has dependable surf, with waves breaking both left and right.
7. Rainbow Bay
It used to be known as a section of the Superbank where wave faces open up for surfers to carve across but this year Hawaiian surfer Freddy Patacchia struggled to find swell in his heat and rode his surfboard into the rocks on the shoreline before punching the water and screaming.
6. The Superbank
The stretch of sand that encompasses Snapper Rocks, Rainbow Bay, Greenmount and Kirra was nominated in its own category. Sand has been pumped from The Tweed since February 2001 to prevent erosion on Gold Coast beaches, but arguably, more importantly, creating perfect waves.
5. Currumbin Alley
Making up a third of the Gold Coast’s famed point breaks, it sits at the mouth of Currumbin Creek. Quickly fills up with long boarders and other surf craft when small and one of the most ideal spots to learn how to surf. The unique river mouth point break can also hold larger waves in cyclone swells for surfers lucky enough to own a jet ski.
New South Wales
Quiksilver Pro organisers were very apprehensive about moving the competition from Snapper Rocks over to Point Danger recently even though the surf was better there earlier this year. NSW’s most northerly stretch of sand is an east-facing beach with exposed swell creating punchy, technical waves.
3. Snapper Rocks
It is home to the annual Quiksilver Pro World Surfing League competition. As well as being the first leg of surfing’s world tour Snapper is also the first section of the spectacular Superbank. Has been the subject of overcrowding concern of late, with unrelenting crowds flocking to the stretch of beach whenever the surf is good.
2. Burleigh Heads
Set in front of granite boulders and lush national park the birth place of the now standard man-on-man surf competition in 1977 has a soft spot in the hearts of Gold Coast surfers. Prior to the introduction of The Superbank. it was arguably one of the most consistent waves on the Gold Coast. It is a high-performance break that offers perfect waves for surfers who manage to get over the boulders leading up to the break and past the strong current.
1. The Pass
The favourite wave for Gold Coast Bulletin readers is two shires down the road in New South Wales territory — no doubt popular here because all the Snapper fans want everyone to bugger off there for the day. Nevertheless, The Pass is a mostly-gentle, beautifully tapered right wave that can roll along for up to 300 metres along in pristine beach and overlooked by verdant hills.
If the Pass is hit with a large south-easterly swell it has been known to rival the famed Superbank 30 minutes north on the Pacific Highway but most of the time the wave is a haven for backpackers, and locals cruising down the wave that is extremely easy to surf.
“Classic!” president of the Byron Bay Boardrider club Jen King rejoices, when she hears the news that Byron Bay had been voted the favourite surf break of goldcoastbulletin.com.au readers. Her son Kurt says he only ever surfs it when the surf is really good.
“If it’s pumping I’m surfing it for sure but personally I only surf it when it is really good,” he adds. “Otherwise we just leave it to the back packers. They love it because it is quite an easy wave to learn on.”
Kurt says The Pass probably won the number one in this poll spot because of serious overcrowding at Snapper Rocks, even though the Byron surf break is also known for chaos in the water at times.
Jen adds that The Pass probably won because things are a lot more laid back over the border. “It’s a lot more laid-back surfing with us chilled out hippies here because we are probably more polite and the localism isn’t as strong,” she says. “The Pass is also a very beautiful spot.”
Like many coastal enclaves around the NSW/Queensland border, the Byron Bay surf was first ridden in the late ‘20s and early ‘30s by local surf lifesavers American surf filmmaker Bruce Brown gave Byron its first international exposure by filming Phil Edwards and Paul Witzig at The Pass.
The Pass has also been a rich breeding ground for competitive surfers including former pro-surfer and current World Surf League Commissioner Kieren Perrow who was raised in Byron Bay.
The only down side to surfing The Pass is the niggling feeling that monster sharks aren’t too far away — the region has had two deaths and a number of close encounters with man-eaters in the past year.