What You Need to Know About Surfing the Great Barrier Reef

Can you surf the Great Barrier Reef? Ask most people in the country and they will probably laugh before even answering. With all the coral breaking your stride and 1,400 miles of water to find the right location, most people would rather watch videos of people surfing from the comfort of their own homes than attempt to surf the Great Barrier Reef.


However, what you should know is that people have surfed the Great Barrier Reef before. Look on YouTube and you’ll see some brilliant videos of people teaming up with local fisherman to find the right surfing conditions. Remember, the reef is located some way away from the mainland and you may find it difficult to score. With the right motivation, determination, and planning, however, it might be possible.


What’s the Great Barrier Reef?


Some people will have heard about the Great Barrier Reef without really understanding what it is – as an Australian, you might feel too embarrassed to ask others. While we refer to this UNESCO World Heritage Site as one reef, it’s actually a complete system containing nearly 3,000 smaller reefs. Covering 1,400 miles, there are 900 different islands across the reef, and it all starts off of the Queensland waters in the Coral Sea.


The reason the Great Barrier Reef is so impressive is that the whole thing is made by living organisms and has been seen from space. That’s right – this shows the sheer size of the reef. It’s widely considered to be one of the seven natural wonders of the world alongside the Grand Canyon, Mount Everest, Victoria Falls, and Paricutin.


When choosing to tackle the Great Barrier Reef, you need to first decide whether you’re going to surf or kitesurf. While kitesurfing is easier, many consider surfing to be more rewarding.


Surfing the Great Barrier Reef


If you manage it, you’ll be a legend forever among the surfing community (and also your friends and family!). The reefs are shallow and only the most adventurous will succeed with this mission. If you don’t know the area, you should team up with somebody who does because local knowledge is critical. The reason people struggle to surf the Great Barrier Reef is that it’s hard to determine the best waves when there’s no consistency or predictability to the breaks.


If you want to take on the challenge, know that you’re likely to need a couple of hours alone just to find the right spot. Some people head out for this time and still don’t find anything, so don’t be disappointed if this happens. For those who hit the jackpot, get ready to go on the ride of your life.


Your options for local knowledge include a Surf Shop online, local fisherman, surf clubs, and tour companies. With this last option, you’ll go out with an expert to find the right spot and their experience means that you’ll also get advice before surfing the Great Barrier Reef.


What about kitesurfing? Well, one of the main suggestions you’re likely to see is Yorkey’s Knob. At the creek mouth, you’ll experience strong winds, and this makes it perfect for freestylers. Alternatively, Palm Cove to the south is great in the afternoon because the winds take over. Just as with surfing, you’ll find tour companies and professional services offering lessons throughout the area and Haggerstone Island is one of the best places to start. From April to November, the trade winds create the right environment for kitesurfing, and you’ll create memories that you won’t forget in a hurry.


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