Stab Magazine | The Essential* Guide To Surfing Sydney

The Essential* Guide To Surfing Sydney

Jamie Krups gives some sound advice on how to tackle the worst our country has to offer. 

style // Nov 18, 2018
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Hans Schneider from Germany walks down to the beach and smiles as he sees crystal blue water and pearl white sand. For the majority of us however, we walk down and see a shitty 2ft closeout with 37 middle-aged men out the back and 19 horny groms on the inside.

These two perspectives accompany Sydney’s coastal paradox: wonderfully scenic, horribly wave-sparse. This is the reality of Sydney Surfing.

We humans are an adaptable bunch though, and if we can’t adapt to our environment, we make our environment adapt to us (see, wavepools). For those of us who aren’t at liberty to create our own artificial surf-sanctuaries, it’s the prior. We must adapt to the 2ft slop and the ominous crowd on a regular basis. To make it a touch easier on your sorry soul, we’ve constructed an eight-rule guide that, when paired with a relentlessly optimistic mindset, may aid you in conquering the quest that is Sydney Surfing.

But who are we to say this works without giving it an old fashioned test run. The three stretches of Sydney sand chosen to partake in this satirical study were none other than Manly, Bondi and Tama. Nothing more archetypal than the tourist mecca’s of the Northern Beaches and Eastern Suburbs.

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There’s always more talent on the sand in Sydney.


Hunter Manuel

The golden rules to Sydney Surfing

Rule No.1 – Don’t Do It

Swimming’s a great substitute, easier on the body and the kinder bank account. Kayaking seems quite tranquil too.

Rule No.2 – If you have to break rule no.1, be sure to follow rules 3-8

Rule No.3 – Equipment Is Key

You’re not Mick Fanning. You never will be. You won’t even be Wilko. Don’t go buying that rockered-out, high-octane, 8-cyclinder, team-light knife. It’ll be blunt as fuck in the surf and sharp as hell on your ego. The waves here are bad, be smart about what you ride and they’ll be mediocre. Foam is your friend, and epoxy your uplifting grandmother. Jumping on the twin-fin bandwagon isn’t a bad idea either. 

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Bondi’s little yet somehow shiftier sister, Tamarama Beach.


Hunter Manuel

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Rule no. 1 broken.


Hunter Manuel

Rule No.4 – Surf With Friends

Ignorance is bliss and distraction is the key to ignorance. Surf with a friend and you’ll be too busy listening to their textbook weekend recap or how hard they just “ripped that wave” to notice the distinct lack
 of waves there is at present. Distracted, ignorant, all blissfully.  

Rule No.5 – If You Don’t Have Friends, Extend Upon Rule 3

Riding something fun is like surfing with a friend, but better. It distracts you from the dismal waves and the dystopian crowd. You’ll be enjoying yourself so much that you wonder how you ever lived without it, and the great thing is you don’t have to listen to it talk. Much like a dog actually.

Dogs foam boards are a man’s best friend. 

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Even a boog could be a healthy option out here.


Hunter Manuel

Rule No.6 – Wear Boardshorts

Surfing in boardshorts is a wonderful thing. Surfing in boardshorts in Sydney is a strategically wonderful thing. The water isn’t warm enough to last more than an hour, and you’ll be more inclined to paddle around and catch waves you’d normally let go in neoprene comforts. Less time, more waves.

Efficiency is the key to success is it not?

Rule No.7 – Go Soft

Softboards are so hot right now. No longer are you bound to a 6-ton, 8ft, waterlogged piece of foam you borrowed from the local surf school. Free yourself of your harsh glass confines and embrace the diversity that is 2018. 5’2” twinnies, 7’0” finless, 9’0” core single fins, they’re all out there and wrapped in bountiful foam that will withstand even the worst summer wave drought. I hopped on the bandwagon a few months ago and it’s been the greatest surf-hack of my life.

Believe the hype.

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When John Cale said “fear’s a man’s best friend” we’re sure he meant foam.


Hunter Manuel

Rule No.8 – Fuck rule no.1 #justdoit

Yeah, it’s Sydney. The waves suck. The crowd’s bad. The motivation’s elusive. But who knows, 10 years from now you might be sitting in a turquoise chlorine pool with such meticulous perfection that might just make you miss the nostalgia of trying to make something out of nothing.

In review, this guide was intended as a satirical prod at the ironic nature of surfing in Sydney. It is not a static, 5 step, business success guide to methodically follow, but with a light-hearted approach, some school-camp-leader like optimism and the incorporation of a few of these rules, you might just be surprised at how well it worked. I was. So who knows, maybe it is a success guide.

Good luck out there my wave-starved brethren. 

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Fuck it, it could be worse, at least we’re not living in California.


Hunter Manuel


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