Surfing on The Tweed
If you ask any salty sea dog where the best spots to paddle out along the north coast are, there’s no doubt they will mention world-renowned breaks The Pass or Broken Head at Byron Bay and Snapper Rocks, Coolangatta. But not all of us crave a coastal getaway are as agile as Kelly Slater, yet we still want to feel the rush of gliding along the waves and the saltwater on our skin. Learning to surf at The Pass and Snapper Rocks can make you feel like an L-plater learning to merge on an 8-lane highway. The good news is, sandwiched between the two East Coast surfing Meccas are an abundance of hidden gems perfect for novice surfers and a slew of fabulous surf schools to guide you and build your confidence in the water.
The most complicated part of surfing is the lingo, once you get that covered, you’ll be hanging ten in no time. When you hear someone referring to goofy, they aren’t talking about the Disney dog, it refers to the stance a surfer takes on their board. If you have no idea which stance is yours, stand with your feet hip-distance apart and get a friend to gently push you from behind, whichever footsteps out first is your dominant foot that you will use as your front foot when you get up on your surfboard. Right foot forward is known as goofy and left foot forward is natural, when learning a good rule to go by is that it is easier when you are facing the wave; for goofy footers, it's easiest on what are called left-handers and for naturals right-handed breaks.
Just south of Snapper Rocks and the Queensland border is Duranbah Beach or D-bar to the locals. Though it is a popular wave for skilled and professional surfers, the protection from the northern break wall of the Tweed River provides cleaner and more friendly waves closer to the shore with a bit of protection from the wind. D-bar is a beach break that often provides one to three-foot waves with a light offshore wind which can be the best conditions to learn to surf. Walkin’ on Water is Southern Queensland’s leading surf school, located just a five-minute drive from Tweed Holiday Parks Tweed Heads. They offer lessons for beginner to intermediate, in both group and private lessons, can cater for ages 4 to 80 and frequently set up for the day at D-bar. Spend the morning getting salty then watch the pros perfect their tricks from the Point Danger Headland above.
Fingal point juts out from the coast enough to offer protection from southerly winds. The waves are very dependent on the ever-changing sandbars, but the swell breaks both left and right in the warmer months with the gentle north-easterly breeze. There is a protected corner on the southern end of Fingal Head Beach just to the right of the Tweed Holiday Parks Fingal Head beach access trail. This corner is perfect for those who like to stay a little closer to shore and aren’t a fan of exposed beaches. If you’re travelling with a friend or partner who fancies themself a skilled surfer, they can head up to the southern break wall of the Tweed River or around the headland to Dreamtime Beach to chase some larger waves.
Less than 15 minutes south of Tweed Holiday Parks Kingscliff Beach, Cabarita Beach is situated beside the picturesque Cabarita Headland and is the Tweed Coast’s answer to The Pass in Byron Bay. Cabarita Beach is a right-hand break that is protected from the southeast winds, perfect for natural footers learning to surf. In2Surf Surf School located in Kingscliff is a Destination Tweed indorsed company and has won multiple TripAdvisor Tourism Excellence awards. Not only do they offer 1.5hr lessons for individuals, groups and groms but if you’re an intermediate surfer they offer surf tours where they will guide you to the breaks that best suit your ability along the Tweed Coast. Surfing with one of their guides offers expert critique and guidance to help take your surfing from intermediate to WSL ready.
Hastings Point is where Cudgera Creek meets the ocean, deep gutters and the rocky outcrop of the headland makes it a favourable location for novice surfers on small days but provides a challenge for experienced surfers when deep ground swells roll through. If you’re travelling with young girls, Salty Girls Surf School is Australia’s first all-female surf school. They host group and private lessons but also offer 5-day holiday programs if you’re spending some decent time in the area. The holiday programs are designed to help your little Steph Gilmore build a comprehensive understanding of the ocean to build on their technique at any level. Tweed Coast Surf School located just over the bridge from Tweed Holiday Parks Hastings Point cater for beginners through to intermediate, also offer holiday programs. Tweed Coast Surf School coach Sasha stocker is one of Australia’s more experienced surf coaches and offers person-centred programs for people living with disabilities. Sasha will cater to each individual surfer and provide clear technical and skill development goal setting while making sure no one leaves the water without a smile on their face.
From newcomers’ to Mick Fanning there is a wave out there for everyone, time to book, suit up and paddle out, we’ll see you in the lineup!
Hastings Point @hunter.vision