The Ultimate Guide to Geraldton Surf

by Razz Simpson

Geraldton surf is consistent stuff, although the town is probably better known as one of Australia’s windsurfing meccas.

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Surfing Kalbarri at a glance

The good

  • Big, spacious beach breaks
  • Some good beginner breaks
  • Excellent windsurfing

The bad

  • Wind
  • Sharks
  • Not the best waves for advanced surfers

This guide is just one part of our complete guide to surfing in Australia as a whole

What’s in this guide to Geraldton surf?

An introduction to Geraldton surf

Geraldton surf

We won’t lie – Geraldton really made its name as a windsurfing destinations. The low shelf on the continent and the vast lagoons here create some epic conditions for those who come with the harness and the sail. But there’s also a consistent hit of SW and NW swells off the Indian Ocean that helps to churn up decent waves for much of the year, although summertime is very windy and demands early sessions to avoid waves getting mushy and messy.

The geography of Geraldton really lends itself to a beginner-intermediate surf destination if you ask us. A little like a WA Peniche, it’s broken up by a long headland that splits the town in two. To the south, you get more powerful breaks that hoover up most SW swells. To the north are more protected breaks that tend to be better for beginners. The style of the waves is similar throughout. You’re looking at crumbly beach breaks that work best going right but are peaky and forgiving for the most part.

We wouldn’t say this is a must of a destination unless your windsurfing, but it’s certainly worth a pitstop if you’re cruising up the coast highways to Kalbarri or the left-hander meccas further north.

Where is Geraldton?

Geraldton is one of the few coastal cities in the Mid West region of WA. About 4.5 hours (or 415km) from the metro city of Perth, it’s a very isolated spot. The Indian Ocean dominates the whole west side of town, which juts out into the swells with a pokey headland. Behind that is where the Outback begins in earnest, rolling for thousands of miles inland to the heart of the country.

A guide to the Geraldton surf spots

You can split Geraldton into two halves. South of the lighthouse are the better surf beaches, with better connections with the SW swells. To the north there are emptier locations that tend to need a little westerly element in the swell direction to work their best.

Back Beach

The best surf beach in all of Geraltdon is the southernmost of the sands. It’s southerly orientation helps it get more swell and less wind interference than the other places here, especially during those summer easterlies. Below the white sands and the dunes are all sorts of peaks, with a main break starting where the bends to run southwards offering a peeling right when it’s about 2-4 foot or more.

Point Moore

Morning wind hits here first so it’s rare that the surfers will be out. Surrounded by a little reef, there’s sometimes a small wave that’s rideable on something hefty but we wouldn’t count on it too much

Sunset Beach

Works on the bigger swells, so try this either side of the main summer season, closer to the spring and autumn pushes. Can get big but is often disturbed by wind easily because it’s so exposed, so expect lots of whitewash. Again, it’s largely overtaken by the windsurfers, so you’ll need to get in there very early before the gusts start firing.

Drummonds

A fat wave shapes up nicely off the beachfront at Drummonds, shouldering into a wide A-frame that’s always mushy right in the middle. Pick one side and go for it becuase dropping in on the whitewash will land you in th boils. We’d say the left is best, offering a wide and shallow-banked face to rip at. Best with little wind in the winter months.

Coranation Beach

The reefs protect the main beachfront here so there’s a very chill lagoon to get past before you hit any waves. Then there’s usually a secondary break that gets to about mid-to-chest high on good autumn and spring days, followed by a few deeper peaks that come of other sandbanks and peaks.

Where to stay when surfing in Geraldton

Geraldton is a pretty popular destination on the way up the WA west coast. It’s vibrant, artsy, and famed for its beaches and waves. For that reason, there shouldn’t be any shortage on accommodation options for surfers…

Sunset Beach Holiday Park ($$)

Surf-hotel-top-pick

These cosy little coastal cottages sit just one step over the dunes from Sunset Beach, close to the rivermouth where there’s usually a decent beginner break. They offer unrivaled proximity to the Indian Ocean, along with an on-site swimming pool and games room.

Geraldton Backpackers ($)

Budget dorms with a good vibe are the offering at Geraldton Backpackers. It’s the top-rated hostel in town and has single-sex dormitories ranging from triples to 6-person. The atmosphere is very casual and it’s only a short walk to the beach. Check the Thai restaurant right outside when it’s dinner time!

Zebras Guesthouse ($$)

Zebras Guesthouse is close to the southern beaches of Geraldton, where the waves are often a touch bigger. It’s a quirky spot that reminds us of a South African safari lodge. There’s a shared kitchen and even a lounge with its own fireplace.

When to surf in Geraldton

Beaches in Geraldton

Western Australia is blessed with pretty consistent SW swells the whole year. Things will be way more powerful in the winter months between June and August, though, when the southerly beaches past the lighthouse – Back Beach especially – gets the brunt of the main Southern Ocean storm swells. But, as any veteran windsurfer will tell ya’, the real enemies to clean waves here are the gusts. Great for those with the sail in tow, the winds are often simply way too strong to surf. They get stronger in the summer months and can mess even the smallest of waves up into nothing but froth. You’re best off getting in very early and waiting for more offshore directions, which do come in fall and winter.

Be sure to check out our gear guides:

Surf shops in Geraldton

Don’t expect an overload of places to shop for surf gear in Geraldton. Truth be told, most surfers passing through choose to do their inventory checks back in Perth, where there are more places to grab whatever. But there are one or two good options, especially if you’re in need of windsurf gear…

Corner Surf Shop

Sat on – you guessed it – a corner in central Geraldton, this compact little surf boutique might not be a warehouse of gear but it covers the basics. They stock Super boards and Roxy gear, along with a host of other well-known brands, along with sunnies and wet bags and more. Owners are super nice, too.

Willocks Surf

Willocks Surf is the bigger of the two main surf shops in Geraldton. It’s set over two large shopfronts in the town center and has a host of big-brand gear from Quiksilver, Rip Curl, and Billabong. They’re great for quiver shopping, what with NSP, Firewire, Rusty, JS and Modern boards all in stock.

Where to eat and drink in Geraldton

Here’s a look at just one or two spots where you can head for a post-surf bite to eat or a pre-dawnie coffee in Geraldton…

Cafe Fleur

We’re gonna just go out an say it: Cafe Fleur is the coolest damn cafe in Geraldton. Na, it’s the coolest for miles and miles around. A touch of French charm combines with boho-cool interiors to create somewhere relaxed yet edgy. The outdoor space is stunning in the sunshine and the coffee is curated from bean to bean. It’s a must-stop for surfers.

L’Italiano Pizza Pasta & Gelato

Post-surf pizzas are a bit of a routine in Geraldton. Come and join the windsurf rippers at this top-rated joint. It’s got the best pies in town and beers imported from Italia!


We might use affiliate links in this post. Basically, you click em’ and we get a little something from your booking or purchase. They help us keep offering more and more in-depth surf guides to awesome places all around the globe. So, thanks for that!

This article is just one part of our complete guide to surfing in Oz

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