Aside from karri forests, family owned wineries, fields of wildflowers, active wildlife, adventure activities, delicious food, friendly locals, and untouched beaches, Margaret River is one of the best places in the world to find an unridden, perfect wave. If you’re visiting for the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, here are a few waves to surf when you’re not watching the competitors.
To strike a balance between being informative and not pissing off the local surfers of Margaret River, I’m going to be hitting surf spots that are easily accessible by the average surf travelers who know how to do their research. Usually, you won’t find a large crowd at these spots (except for Cowamarup Bay or Surfers Point). However, if you want something even more remote that’s accessed by 4×4, a long walk, or wave runner, it’s best to consult a local and see if they’ll share their secrets, buy a comprehensive guide, or shoot over a private message.
Best waves for beginners: Redgate, Contos, Boranup Beach, Gas Bay Beach, Point Picquet, Huzzas, Smith’s Beach on a small day. Best waves for the intermediates: Surfers Point (when it’s 4-6 ft), South Point, Yallingup Main Break, Moses Rock – but check for currents. Best waves for the crazies: Boatramps, The Box, Surfer’s Point (when it’s over 6-8 ft), Bombie, Southside.
All Margaret River Region surf spots are listed from north to south.
Surf Spots in Yallingup
Point Picquet, Geographe Bay
The basics: Left hand point break over sand covered rock. Swell: 12-16ft+ SW-W and S winds. Tide: Low to mid tide.
It needs to be MASSIVE everywhere else for this spot to work, so it’s best in giant winter storm swells. When the surf is flat, this is also a prime spot for whale watching in Geographe Bay. On the occasions that Point Picquet does work, it’s a fun, easy wave that can draw a crowd when the conditions are just right.
The basics: Left-hand reef break. Swell: S-SW swell and NE-E winds 3ft+. Can handle huge swells. Tide: All tides.
Three Bears is a spot with three varying reef breaks of different sizes. Care to guess the wave sizes that Baby Bear, Mama Bear, and Papa Bear correlate to? Ding ding! Baby Bear is a friendlier wave while Papa Bear can have you eating more than just porridge. You will definitely need a 4×4 to get to the parking lot. Be prepared to scratch it.
The basics: Hollow right-hand wave over sandy reef. Swell: SW-W swell, E winds, 4ft+. Tide: All tides
Rabbits is one of the local Yallingup hero, Taj Burrow’s, favorite wave. When it’s good, the wave is very hollow, shallow, and fast. Rabbits can be fun for mere mortals on a smaller day, but even then it’s still very heavy. If for some reason Yallingup Main Break isn’t your thing, check out Rabbit Hill.
Yallingup Main Break
The basics: Right and left-handers over reef. Can have a few shallow spots that you will have to navigate around. If nothing is working anywhere else, check here. Swell: S-SW swell. E/SE winds. Best 6ft+. Tide: All tides
Yallingup Main Break is a good all-around wave that is usually working in all conditions. There’s not a really friendly way to paddle out – you will have to brave walking over shallow reef straight ahead from the staircase. Though it can be friendly for beginners, always check for currents. On a big day it’s better left to the experienced.
Yallingup Beach is also a great place to spend the day swimming, snorkeling, and lounging post-surf.
The basics: Left-hander breaking over sandy reef. Be careful when paddling in or out, the reef is sharp and hidden under a thin layer of sand. Swell: SW-W swell at 7ft+. SE winds. Tide: Low to mid tide
This entire stretch of beach has a few spots to choose from. Smith’s is a great spot for beginner/intermediate surfers when it’s small. When it picks up in size you will understand why the two neighboring spots are called Supertubes and Torpedo’s. It’s possible to walk out on the wooden platform in the parking lot and scope which wave suits your fancy.
Injidup Beach Car Park
The basics: Left and right-handers over reef with a steep takeoff. Swell: SW-W swell starts working at 6ft+. SE/E wind. Tide: Low to mid tide
Easy to access, Injidup Beach Car Park has a small take off zone that can draw a competitive crowd. Since it’s in a bay, it needs a bigger swell to start working. When the Injidup Beach wave is small, it’s suitable for all levels. On a big day, expect heavy barrels.
The basics: A long left over shallow reef. Can get heavy. Swell: S-SW swells 2-8ft. E wind. A swell magnet, check here if nothing is breaking elsewhere. Tide: Mid to high tide.
Moses Rock has a steep takeoff at the point and a friendly takeoff on the shoulder. The paddle out through the rocks can be tricky, especially on a bigger day. Strong currents and rips can pick up very quickly so take note of changing conditions. Reef booties recommended. Fortunately, it’s a swell magnet that works when everywhere else is flat. If you’re very lucky, the local pod of dolphins surf the waves right next to you! Beware of cheeky drop-ins!
Friendlier neighbor to spots like The Gallows and The Guillotine.
Surf Spots in Gracetown/Cowaramup Bay
The basics: Right hander over shallow reef. Swell: S-SW Swell. NE/E winds. Starts working from 5-8 ft depending on swell direction. Tide: Mid to high tide.
This wave handles huge swell and can get very heavy. On a good day (8 ft+), it attracts professional surfers from all over Australia so beginners should check the other spots in Cowaramup Bay. When small, North Point can be fun and advanced-intermediate friendly as long as you’re comfortable taking off in front of rocks.
The basics: An easy A-frame point break with mostly lefts and the occasional right. Swell: S-SW swell at 6ft+. E winds. Breaks wide with moving points on huge days. Tide: Mid to high tide.
Huzzas is a mellow, friendly wave that yields a double-edged sword. Because it’s one of the best for learning, prepare to out-paddle armies of groms and beginner surfers.
The basics: Long, peeling left-hander over reef. Swell: SW 8ft + and E/SE winds. Tide: Mid to high tide.
One of Moritz’s personal favorites, South Point is a consistently fun wave for most abilities. Paddle out directly in front of the Huzza’s staircase for a ding-free way to get to the wave. Otherwise, paddle out at the southern staircase for a shortcut, or over at the point if you’re especially talented (or an idiot). South Point is sheltered from the prevailing SW winds, which makes it ideal for bigger winter storms.
Surf Spots in Margaret River
The basics: Extremely heavy right-hander over shallow reef. Emphasis on the shallow. Swell: S-SW swell. 8ft + and E winds. Tide: Mid to high tide.
When the big mamas come rolling through, The Box, Margaret River is where you should be pointing those binoculars. A very fast takeoff over very shallow reef. You should know what you’re doing.
The basics: Left and right-handers over reef. Swell: SW swell at 3ft+ and E winds. Can handle up to 25ft. Tide: Mid to high tide.
Of course, no guide would be complete without, Surfers Point in Margaret River, arguably the most iconic wave in WA. The left tends to be friendlier than the right. Paddle out is located a few steps north of the staircase where you’ll find an easy-to-spot keyhole. With strong currents and shallow reef, it is best to watch Surfer’s Point for a few minutes before heading out. This wave is also a popular wind and kitesurfing spot for when the seabreeze kicks in. It start working at 3-4 ft and holds up to over 20 ft which makes it a go-to spot for grommets and maniacs alike.
This is also the main break for The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.
Walk north for a beginner beach spot, The Rivermouth.
The basics: Left and right-handers over reef. Swell: SW-W swells at 4-10ft and E winds. Tide: Mid to high tide.
Both left and right has a steep, unforgiving takeoff. However, the right is an overall easier wave. Left is long, hollow, and for experienced surfers only.
The basics: Left and right-handers over shallow reef. Experienced surfers only. Swell: S-SW swells E/NE winds. 10-12ft+ and handles big waves. Tide: Mid tide is best.
One of the biggest waves in the region, The Bombie is where surfers go to get a nice scrub between the ears during wipeouts. The brave paddle-out and you might spot a few surfers towing-in.
The basics: A big, long, left-hander wave over reef for expert surfers with strong arms prepared to paddle a long distance. Swell: W-SW swell up to 15ft. E/NE winds. Tide: Mid to high tide.
If the long paddle out doesn’t put you off of this wave on a big day, the sheer size of the wave might. I enjoy this wave best from the comforts of the beach with a hot coffee in hand. Don’t go under-gunned. You’ll need the buoyancy of a big board to help you paddle back in after your arms have turned to noodles from the session.
The basics: Steep, hollow, right-hander over reef. Swell: W-SW swell 3-12 ft and E/NE winds. Tide: Mid to high tide.
Yet another “beware of reefs, currents, crowds, sharks, and etc.” with an exhausting long paddle-out.
The basics: Right-hander over shallow reef. Swell: S-SW prime at 4-6ft and E winds. Tide: Mid to high tide.
Some mornings, the beach break at Gas Bay can be synonymous with before-school daycare. The reef break can hold up some size. The bigger it gets, the more square the barrels get.
The basics: Generally friendly right and left-handers over sand. Swell: S-SW swell E winds works at 4ft+. Tide: All tides
Finally, a safe-haven for beginner and intermediate surfers.
The basics: Left-hander peeling over sand and reef. Swell: S-SW swell best around 5 to 8ft, SE wind. Tide: All tides.
A personal favorite wave set in a stunning, secluded bay, Contos can be a friendly wave when it’s on the smaller side. Camp at Contos and explore the beach for a beautiful day in the water.
The basics: Left and right-handers over sand. Swell: W-SW swell N/NE winds working at pretty much any size. Tide: All tides
Turn off onto Boranup Drive and park at the sand dune. Walk over the dune and wander to any nearby working peaks. Boranup Beach breaks further north tend to be bigger and have more rips, so stay south for generally calmer peaks. Even on a bigger day, this can be a good option for visitors learning how to surf or beginners.
I’m not an expert surfer. Hell, I’m not even a good one. I haven’t surfed every wave featured, so keep that in mind when taking any advice. The waves in this region tend to favor surfers who are experienced, strong paddlers, and know how to manage their expectations. The average local is probably better than the best surfers at your home break, so don’t use crowds or other surfers as a factor for whether the wave is right for you. Learn to assess the conditions and your personal limits without relying on others and above all, have a great time! Obviously this post is intended to be a rough guide of what you can expect from these surf breaks. Due to the awesome variability of the ocean, waves may be different from what you’d expect thanks to changing surf conditions. Adventure at your own risk.