The Ultimate Guide to Surfing WA

by Razz Simpson

Surfing WA will take you out to the western end of Australia, where legendary names like Margaret River sit next to goofy meccas like Kalbarri.

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!

Surfing WA at a glance

The good

  • Reliable swells almost all year (in most places)
  • North WA is the land of the Aussie left-hander
  • Warm weather and warm seas (for the most part)

The bad

  • Everywhere is really far apart
  • Sharks and snakes
  • Swell dips around the Perth metro area (shame – it would be a top surf city otherwise)

This guide is just one part of our complete guide to Australia surfing

What’s in this guide to Surfing WA?

An introduction to surfing WA

Look, Western Australia is massive. Like really MASSIVE. It encompasses roughly a third of the whole of Australia. A THIRD! Most countries would fit inside comfortably, and you get everything from the dusty Outback to the salt-washed scrub hills of the Cape Naturaliste in these parts. The good news is the size means there’s tonnes of coastline to go around, and actually a lot of it is pretty epic surf territory…

Margaret River usually rules the roost with its perfectly tubular river mouths and neat point breaks fed by an unending swell of the Southern Ocean. But there are also northern breaks that feed off the west swells of the Indian Ocean up in Kimberly and beyond, along with powerful reefs around the central coastline of Geraldton and the like.

But there are reasons that surfing WA hasn’t managed to achiever the same heights as surfing in Queensland or NSW. Perth, the most populous city, sits in a huge reef shadow, with Rottnest Island cutting off most of the swell it gets. On top of that, it’s a pretty hard ask getting from break to break – did we mention that this one’s MASSIVE!? Oh yea, and there are shed loads of sharks about.

Surfing WA

Where is WA?

WA stands for Western Australia. That should give you a clue about where to find this region. It’s actually the whole western half of the country, running from the Kimberly region up north, where it joins with the Northern Territories to the border with South Australia just outside of the town of Eucla. The geography adds up to give a whopping big coastline of over 12,895 clicks, which soars to over 20,000 when you throw in all the islands and reef islets of the coast too. Crazy numbers.

A guide to the WA surf spots

If you read the intro you’d know that WA has over 12,000 kilometres of mainland coastline. If that doesn’t scream surf haven then we don’t know what does. And, sure enough, there are all sorts of breaks to go around. No guide to surfing WA could possibly include them all, but we’ve picked out the most famous of the lot below to help you get an idea of what’s on offer in this corner of Oz…

Margaret River

Occupying nearly 100 miles of prime WA surf shoreline south of Perth, Margaret River is the piece de resistance of the state. It’s where most of the pro competitions will go when they’re around and it really does live up to its reputation. There are too many spots to list here but the most famous include the colossal Cowaramup Bombora (the largest wave in Australia) and Surfers Point (the home of the Margaret River Pro and a left-hand reefy with oodles of personality). There are also beginners beachies in the mix, so it’s not all Fitzes and Carissa Moores.

Check out our complete guide to surfing the Margaret River area (coming soon)

Perth

The main city of Western Australia is a fun place with white-sand beaches running its whole western side. But it’s not the best for surfing. A long dash of reefs lie just offshore and culminate with Rottnest Island, blocking much of the dominant SW swell. It’s a shame because we reckon this place would offer beach breaks to rival anywhere on Earth if it pumped. There is action if you travel north or south of town though.

Check out our complete guide to surfing in Perth

Geraldton

On the number 1 coast highway about 4.5 hours north of Perth, the vibrant town of Geraldton is probably best known as Australia’s windsurfing mecca. But there are waves for those who prefer to power it with good old biceps, too. You might need to get in early to dodge the onshores, though. Highlights are Back Bay and the fat, ripable peak up at Drummonds.

Read our complete guide to the surf in Geraldton right now

Kalbarri

Kalbarri – known affectionately by its locals as Barri – is famed for its left-hand point breaks. They form thanks to S swell systems and faraway groundswells hitting the bluffs of the Oz desert as it curves disjointedly inland towards the Kunbun Brook. The best of the bunch is surely Jakes Point to the south of town, a consistent left hander off a rock shelf that can handle lots of size and power.

Read our full guide to the surf in Kalbarri right now

Red Bluff

Talk about off-the-beaten-track – Red Bluff is a whopping 550 miles from Perth as the crow flies and it will take you the best part of two whole days to get from one to the other. The reward? What’s considered the heaviest left-hand break Down Under, which is saying something. To us, it’s an Aussie Ulu’s with peeling shoulders that roll from a big headland right into the center of the bay. Camp out at the beach for extra experience.

Real our full guide to surfing the epic lefts at Red Bluff (coming soon)

Where to stay when surfing in Western Australia

Margaret River WA

The creme-de-la-creme of surf hotels in WA are all in the southwestern portion of the state. That’s not so much because it’s the area with the best surfing – although it is – but more because the rest of the state is super inaccessible. Here are just a few of the top hotels that you should be able to reach within a few hours of Perth CBD.

Surfpoint Resort

Surf-hotel-top-pick

Surfpoint Resort is nestled between a handful of Margaret River’s very best surf breaks. It’s not expensive but has comfy rooms with comfy beds. There’s also an on-site pool for your post-surf chilling and an excellent communal area for cooking and hanging out. It’s just an all-round great stay for surfers.

The Roozen Residence

Best for: Groups

The Roozen Residence sits just a short walk from Surfers Point, the most famous sport for surfing WA can muster. It’s a deluxe west-coaster villa with a colossal deck that overlooks the Indian Ocean and a sumptuous interior design. You can’t go wrong if you’re coming as a group!

Salty Kiss

Best for: Beginners

Salty Kiss will let you hang out in Perth and hit the beginner-friendly beaches of Scarborough and Trigg when you want to hit the waves. It’s a clean-look condo hotel with front-row views over the sea, not to mention excellent reviews.

When to surf in Western Australia

Western Australia waves

The best time to surf in Western Australia is the winter between June and August. Autumn is also pretty epic, with the months of May and June proving the best of the bunch in our opinion. Really, it’s all down to the wind…

Winter (June to August)

The main season for surfing WA comes with the strong SW and S swells that hit in the winter months. It’s a great time to be alive on the left-hand points of Barri and the barrels of Margaret River. Even Perth will get some good swells that manage to make it through the barrier islands and into the urban breaks – Trigg, Scarborough.

Spring (September-November)

Early spring tends to be great in WA, but late spring not so much. It’s really down to the winds, because swells stay good until about late November so waves shouldn’t be a worry.

Be sure to check out our gear guides:

Summer (December-March)

Summer can be very windy and that’s actually the main enemy of quality surf in these parts. Offshores will start around 8am and won’t drop again until the evening. You’re best bet is a dawn patrol. Sadly, summer winds also couple with slacker swells, so there’s not so much action to go around.

Autumn (April-May)

The winds will die down a lot in Autumn, especially in May. That helps shape up the breaks all up and down the WA coast, especially with those exposed beachies north of Perth and the estuaries in Margaret River. It’s generally a fantastic time to surf, with warm water and consistent swells. The Margaret River Pro capitalises on all that by hitting town around May.

Surf shops in Western Australia

Sessions Surf Shop

One of the highest-rated surf outlets down in Margaret River, the Sessions Surf Shop has a great rack of shortboards from big-name brands, along with lots of surf fashion, sunnies, Hydroflask bottles – you name it.

Kalbarri Surf Shop

Kalbarri Surf Shop is a good pitstop for gear if you’re heading up to the land of the left-hander further north in WA. They stock lots of well-known brands like Rusty and Bilabong, and even some cool Kalbarri branded surf gear.

Where to eat and drink when surfing in WA

Margaret River Farmers Market

Get local stuff for good prices at the regular Margaret River Farmers Market. It takes place every Saturday all year round just off the 10 highway. From wines to honey to fruit from the WA tress, there’s all sorts of interesting chow on offer!

Hooked Up Fish & Chips

Hooked Up Fish & Chips have been fueling the surf spectators during the pro comps down on Surfers Point for years. It’s a hearty, solid, go-to food choice for both onlookers and surfers – think thick-cut chippies, burgers, fish tacos, paellas and more.


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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