A surfer’s guide to the Gold Coast’s waves
Count yourself among the surfing population? Then you’ve found yourself in the right place; the Gold Coast is Mecca for board riders. Along the 57-kilometre-long strip of pristine coastline reside waves for every skill level, from the waist-high for blossoming beginners, to one of the world’s most infamous breaks, Superbank, a favourite of the more experienced as well as the Corona Open Gold Coast. Not sure which beach break best suits your needs? Let us help you discover where to surf on the Gold Coast.
The best breaks
This Southern Gold Coast gem may be devoid of the glitz and glamour of northern neighbours like Surfers Paradise, but what it lacks in skyscrapers it makes up for in soul. A local favourite, Kirra Beach is home to many a pro, with the break itself far more welcoming of seasoned veterans than boarding beginners. Regardless, Kirra is considered to boast one of the best righthanders in Australia.
The home of the annual Corona Open Gold Coast competition (formerly the Quiksilver Pro), Snapper is a small, rocky outcrop nestled into Rainbow Bay by the border of New South Wales. The famous point break forms the beginning of the man-made Superbank which reaches back round to Kirra and is considered one of the state’s most consistent places to catch waves.
Wedged between a creek mouth and a point, Currumbin is welcoming of both beginners and more advanced surfers. Head for the waves of Currumbin Alley regardless of your skill set; learners will find solace in the rolling whitewash on the inside, with the district home to a collection of surf schools. Those a little more confident on the waves will prefer the more aggressive swell out back, where a nice right-hand point break resides.
Despite a reputation for its growing cafe culture, Burleigh Heads remains first and foremost a surfing haven. Boasting some of the best breaks in the district, Burleigh Heads is somewhat surprisingly ideal for all skill levels. Beginners best stick to the front of the revamped Burleigh Pavilion, where waves tend to be friendlier. Those not short of skills or confidence can head a little further afield, making their way to Burleigh Heads National Park and The Esplanade.
As its name suggests, Surfers Paradise isn’t short of a wave or two. The most recognised of the Gold Coast’s suburbs, the coastal hub is famous for its nightlife, but it has just as much to offer in terms of swell. Favouring beginners, the waves here tend to be more gentle than not, so the experienced are better off elsewhere. And be wary that Surfers is a popular place to swim; surf only in the designated board areas marked by the blue flags.
South Stradbroke Island
Hidden gem, South Stradbroke Island sits just 200 metres away from the Spit and is one of the most beloved places to surf on the Gold Coast. Getting here is the hardest part; paddle across the seaway or simply hop aboard a water taxi in Southport or Runaway Bay. The exposed beach break you’ll find here is better suited to veterans of the sport.
t’s in sleepy Tugun, sitting down south past Currumbin, that you’ll find waves offering a little solitude. The waves here are refreshingly plentiful in swell but rarely in people. Home to an exposed beach break, Tugun is one of the Gold Coast’s most reliable offerings when it comes to finding surf, and is home to both lefts and rights for those with a preference.
Before you hit the water, a surf check is a non-negotiable to determine where to surf on the Gold Coast that day. Conveniently for those who don’t have direct access to the beach to check the wave conditions in person, you can research online from the comfort of your couch. Coastal Watch and Swellnet are two of the district’s most reliable websites to show you where to surf on the Gold Coast.
The app-happy can instead choose to download Hurley Surf or Seabreeze. It’s through this duo that you’ll be plied with recent surf reports, weather and swell predictions, and photos of a bevy of beaches along the coast, stretching from Coolangatta right up to Southport.
Refuelling after a wave session is easy on the Gold Coast, which is just as bountiful in cafes and restaurants as it is in coastline. The district’s array of surf clubs are just as famous as its various breaks, making a visit to one of these a must-do while in the area. Pub grub is the forte here, often paired with breathtaking ocean views; stand-outs include the Rainbow Bay Surf Club on the cusp of Snapper Rocks, Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Club, and the ever-popular Southport Surf Club.
These beachside haunts also act as an ideal viewing platform for those who prefer to watch the surf rather than partake – grab yourself a front row seat and watch the action with a cold beer in hand.
If a caffeine hit is what you really need post-surf, you’re in luck; the cafes along the Gold Coast are just as plentiful. Cafe D-Bar is a local institution, perched on the top of Point Danger in Coolangatta, you can grab coffee while you take in the surf from both sides. Nearby, the Strand in Coolangatta is littered with eateries serving up coffee and bacon and egg roll combos. But it’s travelling up the coast that you’ll find a gourmet take on breakfast fare; stop off at another of the Gold Coast’s best: Commune in Burleigh, the ever-popular Paddock Bakery in Miami, or Bam Bam Bakehouse in Mermaid for a quality brew and decent feed.