Looking for some of the country’s most epic waves? Our guide to South Australia's surf spots will have you riding the greatest sets of your life.
BY MARK CHIPPERFIELD
Mention South Australia and vineyards, the Flinders Ranges
and maybe Aussie Rules football spring to mind. Less well known is the state’s passion for surfing.
Away from family-friendly city beaches like Glenelg, Semaphore and Henley, South Australia offers some of the country’s most challenging surf breaks. McLaren Vale-based surfer and tour guide Ben Neville nominates Kangaroo Island
as the state’s best surf destination, but warns that some of the breaks are only for the most “experienced and intrepid” board riders.
“My all-time favourite is the awesome left-hander of the remote Cape Kersaint west of Vivonne Bay,” he said. “A cracker spot when a big southern swell is on.” Here is a guide to some of South Australia’s most popular surf spots.
Eyre Peninsula is a magnet for serious surfers, but you can learn how to surf in Port Lincoln.
This laid-back holiday destination is just an hour’s drive from Adelaide and offers plenty of surf breaks, deserted beaches and camping sites. Surfers should head for Corny Point or Innes National Park, where they’ll find beaches like Chinamans, West Cape, Pondalowie Bay and Trespassers at nearby Point Margaret.
Also worth visiting is the Daly Head National Surfing Reserve – one of only 16 in the whole of Australia. Some of these beaches are subject to strong rips and currents, so always check with the nearest Visitor Information Centre before getting into the water.
One of South Australia’s best-kept secrets, the Fleurieu
(45 minutes south of Adelaide) offers all kinds of outdoor adventure. The mid-coast beaches of Christies Beach, South Port, Seaford, Moana and Sellicks Beach all offer good surfing for both novices and experienced board riders.
Further south are Waitpinga Beach and Parsons Beach. Both enjoy large swells from the Southern Ocean, but Waitpinga Beach is notorious for its rips, so be careful. Both Goolwa Beach and Middleton Beach are ideal for beginners - you can also hire a board nearby or book a surf lesson.
With 2000km of coastline between Whyalla and Ceduna, Eyre Peninsula
is a magnet for serious surfers from around the globe. The waters of the Southern Ocean are cold, so bring a full-length wetsuit and keep your eyes peeled for hidden rocks and sharks.
Four of the best-known spots are Fowlers Bay, Cactus Beach, Venus Bay and Blackfellows Beach near Elliston. Fowlers is popular with locals, while Cactus offers left-hand breaks at Castles and Cactus and a right-hand break at Caves. Venus Bay is an exposed reef break that can be surfed in all conditions. There are surf schools in many locations, including Port Lincoln.
You’ll need a four-wheel drive and a ticket on the ferry to reach some of the best surfing breaks on Kangaroo Island
, but it’s worth the effort. The level of difficulty ranges from gentle locations such as Pennington Bay and Stokes Bay right up to the rocky points at Hanson Bay.
Vivonne Bay is the island’s surfing jewel and suits all abilities. The main surfing breaks are located in the Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park on the south coast. Surfing here is only for advanced surfers because of its reef banks, channels and rips. Nearby D’Estrees Bay is more sheltered.
For up-to-date information on surf beaches, events and surf schools visit Surfing Australia while Surf South Oz publishes charts, tidal information and weather forecasts.