We have compiled a list of beginner surf spots in Sydney which are ideal for learners. Whether you are heading out on a weekend session or planning a getaway, these beginner friendly spots let you practise new skills without fear of being swept out, dragged on reefs or getting in someone’s way. But remember, surfing isn’t like other sports. Variability in swell and wind conditions can turn a spot from gentle to hazardous. Always check the surf forecast and surf within your abilities.
Bondi North End
Australia’s most famous beach can also be good for beginners on small swell days. Head to the Northern end where there is a gentler slope and smaller waves. Being the closest beach to the city, Bondi is super popular and gets crowded especially in Summer. The amount of people in the surf has resulted in local authorities enacting a “no fibreglass boards” rule to keep things a bit safer in the water. Bondi is patrolled year round by the famous lifeguards of the Bondi Rescue TV series. Watch out for the Backpackers Express, the permanent rip in the middle of the beach.
Lets Go Surfing Bondi provides instruction for all levels of surfing abilities.
You can rent surfboards and equipment from Let’s Go Surfing and Bondi Beach Hire which has a trailer and tent on the beach.
Things to do in Bondi
There is an awesome skatepark by the beach. Bondi has a really happening beach scene with lots of restaurants and bars to choose from. Have a swim & laze around the pool at the Bondi Icebergs establishment.
Read more: Guide to Surfing Bondi
Manly South Steyne
The Southern end of Manly is protected from large Southerly swells and gets smaller waves which is ideal for beginners and longboarders. South Steyne is patrolled year round making it safe beach goers and learner surfers. Manly can get crowded especially in Summer, but the crowd thins out past the corso. There are lots of places where you can hire surf boards and wetsuits near the beach. Alternatively you can arrange a lesson with one of the local surf schools who provide everything.
You can arrange for lessons with Manly Surf School and private lessons with the team at Manly Surf Guide.
Nearby you can rent surfing gear from Manly Surfboards, Drippin Wet and the Rip Curl shop. Summer time, Manly Surf Hire has a rental tent set up on the sand.
Things to do in Manly
Hotel Steyne on the corso has beachside alfresco seating and a nice courtyard. While Harborside, the 4 Pines Brewery serves up cellar door specials, burgers and pizza.
Read more: Guide to Surfing Manly
Freshwater Northern End
The beach where surfing was first introduced to Australia can be a good place to start learning surfing. Freshwater beach is a gentle sloping beach suitable for beginners.
The Northern end is protected from NW swells and gets smaller waves. Big waves break out further producing lines of whitewater which beginners can practise pop ups on. Word of caution. On very big swells, there is a notorious rip on the Northern end of the beach next to the rock pool which can send beginners out the back before they know it.
Chix Surf School regularly conduct female focused lessons at Freshwater beach
Currently no hire facilities around Freshwater beach.
Things to do in Freshwater
The Pocket cafe at the SLC next to the grassy area has coffee and food.
While at the Southern car park, Pilu has coffee and paninis and is a great place for checking out the surf. A short walk away, Harbord Diggers is a modern RSL complete with restaurants, cafes and an outdoor area.
Read more: Guide to Surfing Freshwater
Dee Why Kiddies Corner
When the swell is big at Dee Why, the main beach can be a challenge for beginners. Down in the Southern corner, the beach is protected from big waves by Dee Why point where the rock pool is located. On big South swells Dee Why point is a wave for experts only. But on the inside corner the wave reforms and produces small slow peeling waves suitable for beginners.
There are no surf schools in the area.
Unfortunately, the only place to rent out a board beach side is at the convenience shop and they don’t have a good range.
Things to do in Dee Why
Great food and take away options next to the beach at the Strand.
Read more: Guide to Surfing Dee Why
Palm Beach Kiddies Corner
The Southern corner of Palm beach nicknamed Kiddies Corner is extremely protected from Southern swells and winds by the Little Head headland. When most of Sydney’s beaches are blown out, this spot can still be good. Unlike the rest of Palm Beach which can be dumpy, the slope at Kiddie’s corner is gentle and produces slow peeling waves ideal for beginners. Its a long drive from Sydney so the crowds are usually thinner except on Summer holidays when Palmie gets super packed.
Manly Surf School conducts lessons at Palm Beach. Contact them to arrange lessons.
Beach Without Sand on the beach front has surfboards and wetsuits for hire. You can also hire boards from the Manly Surf School trailer on the beach.
Things to do in Palm Beach
Pack your own food and drinks for a picnic. There aren’t much options near the beach.
Umina beach on the NSW Central coast is situated in Broken Bay and is well protected from big swells. The beach itself has a very gentle slope which produces slow rolling waves which are good for longboards and softboards which beginners use. Its a long beach and you can usually find an uncrowded bank suitable to your level. The NRMA holiday park next to the beach makes Umina an ideal spot for either a weekend surf trip or a holiday surf camp.
Sal’s Surf school and Central Coast Surf School have beginner classes at Umina beach.
You can arrange to hire boards and equipment from the Central Coast Surf School.
Things to do in Umina
Grab a bite to eat at the Beach Kiosk and Umina Beach Cafe. There is also a skate park located behind the beach.
Read more Guide to Surfing Umina.
Seven Mile Beach, Gerroa
One of the best beaches for beginners in Sydney, there is always a wave at Seven Mile Beach. The North end is protected from swells coming from the North and East and there is a broad sandbar which results in gentle rolling waves. The surf is usually small. Even on bigger swells, waves will break further out and reform closer to shore.
You can take lessons with Gerringong Surf School or go on a surf camp with Surf Camp Australia.
There is no on-beach surf hire available but you can arrange to pick up boards with the Gerringong Surf School.
BYO picnic. 7 Mile Beach is known for its isolation. Or you can head to nearby Gerringong for food and drinks.
Mollymook Beach & Narrawallee beach
Mollymook & neighboring Narrawallee beach are two of the best places for beginner surfers in the Shoalhaven region. The Northern End of Mollymook is protected from Northerly winds and NorthEast swells.Likewise the Southern end of Narrawallee is protected from Southerly swells and Southerly winds. Depending on the conditions of the day, you should be able to find a suitable spot with beginner friendly waves. The wide sandbar on both beaches ensure that waves break further out and you can catch rolling whitewater waves.
You can arrange for lessons with Pam Burridge Surf School & Molllymook Beach Surf School who can advise on a suitable location for the lesson.
Mollymook Beach Surf School rent out surf equipment from their HQ at South Mollymook beach.
Things to do in Mollymook
Coffees and takeaway food food from the Beach Hut Cafe on the beach or a more upmarket experience at the Rooftop Bar and Grill at the Pavillion.
Read more Guide to Surfing Mollymook.