Surf culture is integral to the Gold Coast. Nearly every morning for 56 years, Denis Lowe of the Burleigh Longboard Club has paddled out into the surf. And at 71, this passionate surfer has no intention of stopping any time soon. “Surﬁng is like a bug,” he explains. “Once you start, it’s hard to imagine not doing it.”
Anecdotes and archived photos show Gold Coast locals using body boards and wooden surf boards at Greenmount Beach and Main Beach as early as 1912. Famous shortboard surfers such as World Surf League champions Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson were raised on the Gold Coast, but the surf spots in the area suit longboarders too.
“Longboarders ride a more relaxed wave and shortboards are more aggressive,” explains Denis. “Longboarding is like riding in a limo and shortboarding is like driving a sports car.” Whether you’re a longboarder, shortboarder, or just keen to watch other people surf some waves, there’s no shortage of beaches to visit and breaks to ride.
In March last year, the 16-kilometre stretch of the Gold Coast from Burleigh Heads to Snapper Rocks was declared a World Surﬁng Reserve, joining an elite list of seven other places worldwide, including California’s Malibu and Punta de Lobos in Chile. You can watch the big guns enjoying those protected breaks throughout the year, or make your way to Snapper Rocks in February/March each year to see legends like Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning and Tyler Wright compete in the annual Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro.
But surﬁng – and particularly longboarding – is about inclusivity, meaning there are plenty of surf events for everyone to join in. “Burleigh Longboard Club runs an Anzac Day service and surf,” says Denis. “Surﬁng is a great way to meet the locals. If you’re interested in surﬁng, it’s a good idea to have a couple of lessons then join a local club.”
“Every time you surf it’s different. The thrill of catching a wave never gets old.”
DESTINATIONS TO SURF AND SWIM
BURLEIGH HEADS BEACH
World renowned for its spectacular surﬁng, the south-easterly breeze provides a long and barrelling right-hander.
The small rocky headland at Kirra Point is known as one of the world’s premier surf breaks and is popular with longboarders.
Not so far from Coolangatta, it’s one of many contenders for the ‘best kept secret’ award. The perfect spot for surfer-gazing.
CURRUMBIN ROCK POOLS
A gloriously shady swimming hole just 15 minutes’ drive from Currumbin Beach. Kids will have a blast jumping in.
The sparkling creek is the centre point for a lifestyle that’s all about the water. Fishing, swimming and kayaking rule.