Stab Magazine | From Where You'd Rather Be: The World's Best Beachbreaks – Duranbah, AUS

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From Where You’d Rather Be: The World’s Best Beachbreaks – Duranbah, AUS

Before we dive in… Right now, we’re running a contest that’ll gift a lucky reader (and a pal) a trip to one of the locations on Stab and Corona’s World’s Best Beachbreaks list. You should most certainly enter (but, only if you’re 18 or above): ENTER HERE Words by Tom Freed Whenever someone utters the phrase “from where […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Before we dive in…

Right now, we’re running a contest that’ll gift a lucky reader (and a pal) a trip to one of the locations on Stab and Corona’s World’s Best Beachbreaks list. You should most certainly enter (but, only if you’re 18 or above):


Words by Tom Freed

Whenever someone utters the phrase “from where you’d rather be,” Stab’s collective mind’s eye immediately focuses on a sand-bottomed setup beneath a smiling sun. We’re talking beachbreaks. Trunks. Bath water. All the finer things! And, since we so adore such things, we’ve decided to team up with our like-minded pals at to deliver you a new series: The World’s Best Beachbreaks.

We’ll be detailing, visually but also through written text, all our favourite sand setups from around the world. The requirements? Nothing but golden grains beneath, nothing but a warm orb above, trunk temperatures only, and a perfect setup to end the day with a Corona and lime.

No. 2: Duranbah, Gold Coast, Australia

While the true meaning of the place known as Duranbah seems lost in eons and hidden in mystery, the ancients say that it’s derived from the indigenous Aboriginal phrase for “Beachie that gives bitchy goofyfooters rare chance to go left.” Fine…no ancients say that, but Duranbah (D-bah) does have a hell of left-ramp at times. In fact, D-bah is possibly our most summery, most versatile, most quintessentially beachbreaky of beachbreaks, yet. And what the hell constitutes a claim like that? D-bah, like anyone’s midsummer night dream of a beachbreak, is an absolute playground. There’s no need for swell charts, extreme tides or long journeys from the nearest airport — there’s always waves and you just park and get to, well, surf. We’re talking playful, random, highly-shred-able peaks, here. No consequence, no constant broken-boards, no stress. Playground, remember? A playground even suitable enough for the bitchy goofyfooter complaining about all those perfect right points around the corner.


Tanner Gudauskas bounces a chlorine-looking ramp. Photo: Simon Muirhead

Lemme break it down for ya:

Go: Feb-April

Land in: Coolangatta Airport, (aka Gold Coast Airport)

Then: Cab it or drive the whopping 8 minutes from there to Duranbah

Stay: The Komune is pretty much right in the thick of it and beachside and has backpacker dorm-room style options, then there’s Calypso next-doorish and if you got a few mates there’s a ton of apartment holiday rentals

Bring a: Couple standard shortboards that you feel the most comfortable ripping the guts out of a perfect beach break


“D-bah… that’s the biggest love/hate relationship in my life,” says Noa Deane. “I hate that place’s guts, but I know how fun it is and how much I need it. I always end up there. There’s nowhere else to go. I don’t like the crowd, I don’t like that south wind.” And yet… here he flings into the south wind, and with just so many of the right things. Photo: Matt O’Brien

What’s she like? Can I be Frank? Fun. Real fucking fun. In all senses of that overused, vaguely poignant three-letter word. And while over the course of this 12-week list we’ve given you beach break after beach break,(which for some equates with semi-closeout tube after semi-closeout tube), D-bah ain’t just a pull-in over soft-grains type of wave. It’s rippable peaks with punchy, pealing walls. Gorgeous sections and runway-ramps. An odd barrel or two — or spitting kegs on the on-days. See: fun. Absurdly consistent, D-bah’s always got a wave, best at 3-5 ft out of the east, and can hold up to 8ft on the outer bar before she washes through. Running rights on a southeast swell to epic lefts draining behind the rocks on the rare northerly swells. A lovely half-mile of dog-friendly beach with warm, turquoise water and waves that keep ya busy and guessing and out there all damn day. Wait, Frank’s back: also really fucking crowded. And, like, always. Frank’s kind of a dick.


If there’s a doggy door to be found, then John John Florence will find it. Photo: Ryan Miller/

What really makes her tick? Swell direction. While many a beach break (cough, Hossegor, cough) need their bars in order and sand juuuust so…that ain’t really the case with D-bah. It’s the bigger east swells ya want that break up the lines and flash those big A-frame peaks. The long period south swells run down the beach too hard and give ya a bit of current, while the straight Easts drive sand into the southern corner of the jetty to give ya them fun rights. Not to mention, the more east, the more peaks there are to break up that crowd. But yeah, a shorter period at 6-8ft, 9 seconds, crossed up and random — ramps galore.

Other options in the area… Ha. That’s hilarious. Bitch, you on the Gold Coast! Round the cornah from D-bah are a few, shall we say suitable right pointbreaks like: Snapper Rocks, Greenmount, Kirra…you get it. Also, even closer are some fun ones at Fingal Jetty.


Joel Parkinson’s not known for his airs, but he should be. And his above-game lip can be largely attributed to D’bah. Photo: Simon Muirhead

For a good time… Real close or on the way to D-bah, fuel up at Little Mali Café for some good coffee and healthy fare. Little Lido Café for some epic breakfast, and the rest of Coolangatta has a new healthy eatery popping up practically each month. As far as nightlife, summertime in Coolangatta is pretty gosh-damned busy, so most bars are easy to chat up a babe in. Komune has the younger crowd, Coolangatta Hotel’s got the older, lil more reckless crowd, Rattlesnake Motel’s a lil all over the place with some wildcard’s too. Take your pick!

At all costs, don’t… Don’t get mouthy with the old local boys out at the bars and clubs. Also, late-night in Coolangatta during the summer, bikeys and some of the youngsters like looking for fights, so have your wits about ya.


It’s not a perfect wave, but it’s a fabulous turn Jack Freestone’s jamming here and this is a real good example of the face D’bah often shows: Playful and pristine. Photo: Matt Tennet

OK, I hear ya, but what’s a local say? Mitch Crews says, “D-bah’s one of the easternmost points in the area, so it just sucks in a lot of swell; I love the place because it’s pretty much a wave magnet that’s never not breaking. Like, if it’s flat there, it’s flat everywhere. What I love about D-bah, though, is that unlike a lot of beach breaks, it doesn’t closeout so much; it’s just so peaky and rippable. In my opinion it’s all around the friendliest, funnest beach break that I’ve ever surfed, really. I mean, look at how many champions come outta that area that surf that wave. Sure, the crowd can suck, so what I personally love are those swells outta the east because then you can use the whole beach because of all those broken-up peaks and maybe have your own little zone.”


Josh Kerr grew up surfing this place. And it made him a world air show champion. Photo: Colin Kerr

Beachbreak number 12, Ehukai Beach Park, right here.
Beachbreak number 11, Bocas del Toro, right here.
Beachbreak number 10, Fernando De Noronha, right here.
Beachbreak number 9, Outer Banks, right here.
Beachbreak number 8, SW Beachies, right here.
Beachbreak number 7, Black’s, right here.
Beachbreak number 6, Peniche, right here.
Beachbreak number 5, Spot X, right here.
Beachbreak number 4, Durban, right here.
Beachbreak number 3, Hossegor, right here.


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