30 January 2018
The World Surf League caught up with some of NSW’s top talent during their home break in NSW. Now they’re high in the big leagues, Connor O’Leary, Ace Buchan and Matt Wilkinson talk about the beaches they grew up on and reflect on what makes surfing in NSW so special.
DOB: 10 December 1993
From: Cronulla, NSW
Favourite wave: Mystics Beach & Voodoo, NSW
2012 Murasaki Quiksilver Jeju Open (winner)
2013 GoPro Junior Games (winner)
2016 Ballito Pro (winner)
2017 Fiji Pro (runner-up)
Roughly a one-hour train ride south from Central station, Cronulla is one of Sydney’s favourite beaches. Popular with both locals and tourists, Cronulla is the only Sydney beach to be patrolled by lifeguards throughout the year, including during winter. The beach curves along 200 metres of the southern end of Bate Bay, and typically enjoys a continuous attached bar of waves lowered to about one metre in height. Rips are more prevalent against the northern rocks, while the southern end features a number of reef breaks, including the world-famous Cronulla Point and Shark Island. With good variety and consistent surf at all stages of the tide, Cronulla is one of Sydney’s most dependable surfing spots.
“It’s a nice distance away from the Sydney city. It still has that city-beach kind of vibe. I think NSW has got the most options of beaches in the whole of Australia. From pretty much Cronulla down south, there’s countless amounts of reef breaks and slabs with not too many people out. You go to places like Wollongong or Ulladulla, and down there it’s a bit colder, a bit more rural… if you’re a surfer, you get the best waves of your life down there. I’m really thankful that I’ve grown up [here] and got to surf the waves that Cronulla has on offer.”
DOB: 21 September 1982
From: Avoca Beach, NSW
Favourite wave: Avoca Point, NSW
1997 World Grommet Junior Champion
1999 World Grommet Junior Champion
2000 Australasian Pro Junior Champion
2001 Australasian Pro Junior Champion
2008 Quiksilver Pro France (winner)
2013 Billabong Pro Teahupoo (winner)
About Avoca Beach:
Nestled on the NSW Central Coast, Avoca Beach boasts 1.7 kilometres of golden sand framed on both sides by sandstone headlands. Known for its thriving surf culture and friendly atmosphere, Avoca Beach is a popular holiday destination among families and surfers alike. Avoca’s landscape and conditions make it a great spot for both novice and experienced surfers; average waves sit around 1.5 metres in height, with higher waves found towards the centre and the northern end of the beach. The beach is also home to the popular Avoca Point break – a short but sweet ride featuring swells of up to 3 metres.
“Surfing is part of the fabric of the community there; we’ve had guys on the world tour since the 1970s. It gets as good as any beach I’ve surfed, on its day, and the beach is just really consistent. Just a pretty cool little beachside community; everyone kind of knows each other, and whenever you paddle out there’s familiar faces. For me, it’s been the perfect place to grow up. We are definitely proud New South Welshmen. It’s a beautiful state—I feel very lucky to have been born and raised there. I travel the world—and I guess you make a home everywhere you go—but that’ll always be where my heart is.”
DOB: 29 September 1988
From: Copacabana, NSW
Training ground: Byron Bay, NSW
Favourite wave: Broken Head, NSW
2016 Quicksilver Gold Coast Pro (winner)
2016 Ripcurl Bells Beach Pro (winner)
2017 Fiji Pro (winner)
About Byron Bay:
Byron Bay is one of Australia’s most famous coastal towns. With a relaxed atmosphere that seems to radiate from its beautiful beaches, many visitors to Byron Bay soon find themselves learning to surf here. Highlights include The Wreck, a favourite spot among locals known for nice, hollow waves which result from a shipwreck located just offshore. Just in front of the Cape Byron Lighthouse, waves refract around the headland and run at right angles to produce the world-class tubing right-handers for which The Pass is renowned. With these beaches and many more to explore, Byron Bay is one of NSW’s most loved gems.
“I think Byron’s got a pretty awesome little energy about it. It’s got every kind of person – people that love surfing and love living life. Picture waking up in the morning and it’s a sunny, beautiful day, and I run down the beach with the dogs… it’s a pretty dreamy lifestyle. You head 10 minutes north or 10 minutes south to wherever you want to surf, and winter’s not too cold and summer’s pretty perfect… it’s a pretty hard lifestyle to beat. Everyone seems to be a lot more mellow here than anywhere else you go, so it’s a really cool vibe.”
Visit the beautiful NSW coastline for incredible surf and blockbuster pro-surfing events. Hit the road for a surf-inspired holiday around NSW’s Summer of Surfing calendar and experience the best action from the balmy North Coast to the spectacular South Coast.