It’s not hard to see where the Gold Coast gets its reputation for fantastic surf culture. Pretty much anywhere along the coast there’s a bevy of great beaches, both public and hidden, where you can catch some of the best waves that the Sunshine State offers.
Coolangatta is no exception. There’s a whole bunch of fantastic beaches filled with endless barrels and some of the most consistent waves in Australia. Sometimes those beaches will be right out the front of your door, but there’s a couple tucked away that you might not know about without some help from the locals.
If you’re in town from near or far, you’re probably going to want to get in on some of that action, but where to start? Luckily, we’ve compiled a short list of beaches around the Twin Cities that’ll get you off to a flying start.
Let's start off with a recovering great. Kirra Point was once a much bigger beach, and home to some truly legendary pipelines. Unfortunately, the groyne at Kirra was reduced when the government started shifting sand from the Tweed River to allow fishing boats to pass safely. This ruined Kirra’s reputation for a while, and it’s only just clawed itself back into the good graces of surfers again.
You won’t see nearly as good a wave here as there used to be, but it’s still absolutely fantastic in a large swell. Catching Kirra on a good day is a reminder that the old warhorse still has a kick to it, and on those days you won’t find a better spot in the world.
2. Currumbin Alley
Currumbin Alley is recommended by locals as a great beginners surf break. Plenty of right-handers, and a beautiful big wave nicknamed Lacey’s Lane across the channel that’ll carry you far (around 250 m).
Much like Duranbah (more on that later), Currumbin Alley is a consistent beach, due to its proximity to the Currumbin Creek opening - but it lacks the rips and sharks of Duranbah. A great place to learn the ins and outs of surfing, or for groups that have experienced surfers and novices combined.
Newbies can surf in the easy conditions, while pros can go out across the channel in hot pursuit of Lacey. There’s a great surf school there if you’re looking to dip your feet into the sport, too.
3. Snapper Rocks
With the sand taken away from Kirra accumulating at Snapper Rocks, a man made Superbank was born, giving rise to one of the best surfing spots in the world – Snapper Rocks. Known as the most competitive wave in Australia, Snapper Rocks is home to the Quiksilver Pro World Surfing Tournament, so there’s definitely a few people in the surfing world who can vouch for it.
The beach itself is a 2-kilometre stretch of long waves and clean breaks. The conditions are perfect for just about everybody; simple enough for a beginner to get their feet wet, whilst the greatest of the greats come here every year to compete.
In fact, the quality of the surfing to be found there might be the biggest downside of the beach; people flock from all over the world to come surf here, which can leave the crystal clear waters a little crowded on a particularly packed day.
When the right swell rolls from the deep water behind the rock at Snapper, something magic truly happens. The Superbank gives rise to a powerful wall of water – an endless wave – that you can ride all the way down to our next listing, at Greenmount.
Sitting not too far from Snapper Rocks is Greenmount. Less popular than Snapper Rocks, but also much less crowded (within reason - the whole of the Superbank attracts big surfing crowds).
The conditions of one affect the other, and on a great day you can take your pick, as either will to be fantastic, and both will be packed to the absolute rafters. Greenmount is the perfect spot to head if you’re after world class surf with a little less competition, and Snapper is too crowded.
Known as D-Bah by the locals, this one isn’t for the faint hearted (or beginners). While it’s favoured by a few world pros such as Mick Fanning as the place to surf, it’s a dangerous beach for anybody who isn’t 100% confident in what they’re doing.
D-Bah’s main advantage is that it isn’t seasonal, so you can enjoy good swell all year around due to the proximity to the Tweed River and general good conditions. However, that consistency comes with the price of a large amount of rips and a sizeable shark population around the area. It’s safe enough to surf in, but if you’re a relatively new to surfing you should probably leave it to more experienced boarders to take the plunge.