Winter on the Northern Beaches of Sydney offers the best months of the year for die-hard surfers. Writes Alex Marks from Bluesnapper. Although the water and air temps are down a bit the waves are usually amazing. This is the time of year we get solid swells, longer periods and westerly offshore winds. The water's clear, the skies are often bright blue and the summer crowds thin out slightly. This year we have been lucky, with some amazing swell patterns pushing in to us. The two stand-out swells so far have been the 25th April (Anzac Day) swell, which was a solid 8-10 foot swell from the North East. And the 13th May swell, which was from the South-East with a long 12 second period, lighting up many of our southern corners. Here's three months of the east coast's action.
Empty Perfection at Narrabeen on April 25th. Long period North East swell with offshore wind. Narrabeen is in the middle of Sydney's Northern Beaches and thrives in swells from most directions. Since early March this year Narra has been pumping, with amazing conditions for most of the past three months. The crowds have been just as solid, with everyone wanting their turn inside one of the above.
North Av absolutely pumps in a North East swell like this on April 25th. The numbers in the water were high, but the waves were of a long period and consistent, giving everyone a chance for an epic ride. This was one of the best days in a long time at this left hander. It continued to pulse for the entire day, sunrise through to sunset.
North Av can also handle a fair amount of size, with the sets pushing 8-10 foot, super solid.
Kai Otton at South Narra on the same day - 25th April. Solid sets, with only a couple of experienced surfers paddling into the bombs. This swell, as you can see was awesome.
Ryan Hayfield at Dee Why on May 5th. Not the cleanest of swell this particular day, but solid enough from the South-East to push into Dee Why Point, providing the surfers with fun 3-4 foot waves for most of the day.
Whale Beach, May 8th
Hayden Cox of Haydenshapes (inventor of fibreflex technology) at Whale Beach on 8th May surfing a clean early morning swell from the south. Not many places had waves on this day so we ventured to the Northern tip of Sydney's Northern Beaches and found these little beauties. Clean and fun until the wind swung to the South. Offshore for the northern beaches is south-west to north-west - as such west winds are ideal for the majority of breaks.
Whale Beach, May 10th
Kai Otton launching at Whale Beach. The winter months in Sydney usually come with offshore winds and quality, solid swells. Even on the smaller days it is common to find clean inviting conditions. For all you Northern hemisphere surfers, you would find our air and water temperatures quite warm, even in the middle of winter. With the average water being about 15-17 degrees Celsius and the air averaging 14-16 degrees. When the sun is out a short-arm wetsuit is fine.
Up there, May 13th
Some of the waves on this day were up there with the best waves I have ever photographed in Sydney. Incredible conditions on a solid south-east swell.
This bank had so much sand on it that it worked for a 2 week period, without letting up. Rihght at that moment doing its best impersonation of Hawaii and handling sets up to 8 foot.
In winter we get amazing sunrises and when the young guys are out shredding the waves to pieces at the same time, it makes for some incredible photo opportunities. Chuffed to be there capturing that.
Carroll at Avalon
Tom Carroll on June 11th at Avalon. If Tom (ex world champ) is in town, you can almost guarantee you will find him out charging at Avalon. Whether it be on a short-board, stand up paddle board or on a softy, he will be charging and tearing waves to pieces like always. If there is a barrel Tom will find it. This day was a solid south swell, Av is a south swell magnet, you can always find waves here in a south swell with a little co-operation from the wind.
Blues and blues
Backwash at Mona Vale - when the tide goes high most of Sydney's beaches get backwash bouncing back off the sand. This makes it difficult for surfers to negotiate the wave, but excellent for photographers trying to capture the impact.
A day for the bodyboarders, July 4th. A strong rip pushed the sand into a bank, forming this heavy left which appeared for only two days. This is the best of the two days in full swing, throwing out solid slabs all day.
This is a right hand pointbreak which loves a solid south-east swell. Providing surfers with bowly sections and a few walls to put some turns in on.
Final frame, July 13th
North Narrabeen on July 13th. After looking at the dates above, it seems that the best single day for surfing in Sydney is the 13th of the month! This was a sizey East swell, with a tasty long period of 12-13 seconds. So many places on the East Coast were going nuts, but the swell was very inconsistent, making for a long wait. For weekly updates on the Sydney surf scene and some epic waves join: Bluesnapper