LEARN TO SURF AROUND THE NORTHERN RIVERS
Surf History from Byron Bay
There’s not many more famous surf locations in Australia than Byron Bay. Byron as it’s fondly known, has grown from a small community into one of the country’s top destinations for tourists and surfers alike.
Since 2010, Byron has established its own Surf Festival. Known as the Annual Byron Bay Surf Festival, the focus is on surf-culture and is a non-competitive event. It is all about innovation in the industry as well as creativity, sustainability and the environment.
Byron local and board shaper Barry Regan can still remember when you could surf anywhere around Byron Bay and still have the waves to yourself.
“Back then it was really slow, like a country town. Forty years ago you might go out to The Pass and be the only one surfing out there”, he said.
Now that Byron has well and truly been discovered, a real surf culture has developed and it’s no surprise that people keep on moving there. In the early days it was predominantly surfers looking for great breaks, but as time went on people fell in love with the culture and lifestyle.
Byron continues to grow every year and with the amazing conditions for surfing and chilled out culture, it’s no surprise to see why.
Famous Surfers from Northern Rivers
Jenny Boggis is born and bred in Byron Bay and her family have been a part of the community for more than 60 years. She managed to transition from a life as a professional surfer to being one of Australia’s top high-performance surfing coaches. Jenny works with surfers of all experience levels, including juniors and weekend warriors, all the way to elite athletes on the professional tours.
As a pro she won the Junior World Champion in 1995 and the Billabong Pro Junior Series Champion Australasia in 1996 before taking out the, Australian Open Women’s Competition in 2008.
Surf Beaches in Byron Bay
Byron features a number of great surf beaches for all levels. Main Beach is north facing and is great as it has both right and left-handers and for the most part they are pretty reliable.
You’ll also find Clarkes Beach down the eastern end of Main Beach but the great thing is that it is a little less crowded as well as offering a bit more protection from the sea breeze. It’s a nice little right-hander, with a sandy bottom and is ideal for those beginners out there.
The Pass is probably one of Byron’s most iconic surfing locations. It’s known for its long right-handers that peel off beautifully. The Pass is the perfect spot if you’re a longboarder, and even for beginners. But just be careful in the larger swells as it can get tricky at times.
You’ll find “The Wreck” at Belongil Beach, giving off a powerful and hollow right-hander. It breaks hard on the sandbank right in front of the ship, which is where the beach got its name. The SS Wollongbar sank in a storm in 1922 after it came adrift from the old Byron Bay Pier. It’s now a feature of “The Wreck”.
If you’re a longboarder then you’ll have to check out Watego’s, which is just west of the Byron lighthouse. It’s north facing and protected from the big southern swells. It has a lovely gentle right-hand point break that is ideal for surfers.
Things to do when there is no surf
There is plenty to do in Byron Bay when there is no surf to be had.
Be sure to take a hike up to the incredible Cape Byron Lighthouse. You can take the lighthouse trail and check out the surf from right up high. You’ll get some of the best views of Byron and you can clearly see everything this amazing coastline has to offer.
If some shopping is on the agenda then take a trip into the town centre. Byron features a range of boutiques and there are markets on all year round.
Located at the Butler Street Reserve, The Byron Bay Markets run from 8am until 4pm, on the first Sunday of every month. The markets are well known for having a great atmosphere and there are acres and acres of stalls that feature produce from all around the Byron area as well as cultural foods, crafts artworks and many unique items. They even roll out the live entertainment most of the year.
And if you just want to check out some great shopping from local designers and artists, be sure to take a stroll down either Shirley Street, Jonson Street, or Lawson Street and you’ll be sure to find what you’re looking for.
The Farm Byron Bay is quickly becoming one of the favourites amongst locals and tourists alike and is definitely worth checking out. The Farm, features a number of different micro-businesses, all working together to run a working farm. The Farm is all about growing food, and is an 80-acre community of producers, growers, eateries and educators all with a passion for one thing – food! The focus is on traditional farming and sustainability, that are organic and chemical and toxin-free. Their goal is to support the environment and be a part of both a healthy world and encourage a healthy lifestyle. And don’t forget their incredible coffee! Whether you’re surfing or not, don’t miss out on a trip to The Farm, next time you’re in Byron.
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