There are so many amazing things about the south coast of NSW, but without doubt the best 5 x points are:
1 – Still relatively uncrowded away from the main breaks. Jump in the car and head just a couple of hours Sth of Sydney and you can surf alone, even at the height of the summer holiday period in January.
2 – There’s so many waves, so many set ups.
3 – There’s something for everyone. Points, beachbreaks, hectic slabs, rivermouths and fun reefs.
4 – Protected waves in all winds. So many headlands and nooks and crannies facing north, south and east, so if the winds howling NE or Sth you can find a set up that will be sheltered or offshore. Eg The Farm, Bendalong, Green Island and Ulludulla Bombie offshore in prevailing NE winds, whilst Boneyard, Redsands, Golf Course and Bawley are offshore or sheltered in Sth winds.
5 – You can get barrelled. There’s so many hollow, well known spots like Redsands, Black Rock, Potholes and Guillotines, let alone the lesser known and more fickle uncrowded zones with turn offs 15 to 20km’s off the highway.
Whilst there wasn’t any big solid groundswells this summer, if you were extremely on top of the swell forecast and weather patterns there were plenty of fun sized wind swells in the 2-4ft range and if you had the time and inclination to drive around for 30 to 50 mins you could easily find your share of uncrowded and often even empty peaks in a protected corner or two, whether the swell was from the NE, Sth or E.
The typical scenario this January was a couple of days of NE wind pushing up 2-4ft of short period NE windswell followed by a southerly change. (If you hit a Nth facing beachy just after the southerly hit, you could usually score some fun, clean peaks for a day or so.)
Similarly, after a day or two of cooler south winds, inevitably winds shift warmer NE and there are so many Sth facing beaches and reefs sheltered from Summer Nor Easterlies.
This year it was all about windswell, other than 1 or 2 brief longer period south pulses on Tuesday Jan 8 and Friday Jan 11, but they were fleeting pulses only, delivering some 3 to 4ft Pipe, but Ulludulla Bombie barely broke.
In summation most life long surfers that i have spoken to agree this Dec/Jan has been the worst in decades on the East Coast. There has not been 1 x cyclone swell to date, January was the hottest month on record and at this point it seems we are stuck in a similar weather pattern with blocking high entrenched in the Tasman and only brief windows of windswell to keep our tribe temporarily sane.
Words Ben Horvath.
Photos Cruz Horvath.