Surfing in Australia

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Governing bodySurfing Australia
National team(s)Australia
National competitions
Club competitions
International competitions
Bells Beach, Victoria surfers
Mick Corbett riding Cowaramup Bombora, Western Australia, 2014

Australia is renowned as one of the world's premier surfing destinations.[1] Surfing underpins an important part of the Australian coastal fabric. It forms part of a lifestyle in which millions participate and which millions more have an interest.[2] Australian surfboard-makers have driven innovation in surfboard design and production since the mid-1960s. The country has launched corporate giants such as Billabong, Rip Curl and Quiksilver.[3]

Bondi Beach surfers, 2000

No surfing is possible in many parts of northern Australia due to coral reefs subduing waves. Modern surfboard design has been shaped by both Australian and Californian developments.[4] For many years the sport was closely associated with the surf life saving movement in Australia.

Governing body[edit]

Surfing Australia is the national sporting body which guides and promotes the development of surfing.


Major Australian tournaments include the Men's Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour,[5] Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast (Gold Coast, Queensland), Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach (Bells Beach, Victoria) and the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro (Margaret River, Western Australia). Other tournaments include the Australian Boardriders Battle, Australian Open of Surfing, Beachley Classic, Breaka Burleigh Pro and the Noosa Festival of Surfing.


Merry Beach, New South Wales, 2013

Surfing was brought to Australia in 1915 by Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku.[6] He demonstrated this ancient Hawaiian board riding technique at Freshwater (or Harbord) in Sydney, New South Wales. Kahanamoku's board is now on display in the northeast end of the Freshwater Surf lifesaving club, Sydney, Australia.

In 1956, a team of lifeguards from the US introduced Malibu boards to Australia.[7]

In the 1960s, Australian surfboard designer Bob McTavish invented the V-bottom surfboard, which is considered instrumental to the development of shortboard surfing.[8]

Australia has produced multiple ASP world champions,[9] such as Wayne Bartholomew, Tom Carroll, Barton Lynch, Damien Hardman, Mark Occhilupo, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Stephanie Gilmore, Layne Beachley, Wendy Botha, Pauline Menczer, Chelsea Georgeson, Sally Fitzgibbons and Mark Richards.[10]

The World Surf League incorporates three major championship titles held in Australia: the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, and the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.

One of the most successful Australian surfers, Mick Fanning, has won four titles at Bells Beach, earning him the number one spot in the surfing ranks.[11]


Duranbah Beach in northern New South Wales

The culture of surfing has grown dramatically from just being a relaxed way of living to a mainstream sport. The progression has led to research on the health benefits of surfing. The sport promotes cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and balance. These physical benefits come from the constant paddling through the water, increasing arm and back strength whilst also increasing the heart rate. Surfing also gives one a chance to think and relax in an environment that decreases stress and relaxes the muscles.[12]


There are approximately 2.5 million recreational surfers in Australia, 420,000 annual surf participants, 107 surf schools and 2,292 accredited surfing coaches. Over 1 in 10 Australians surf as a recreational activity.

Australian World Title holders[edit]



Australian surfboard shapers[edit]

Australia is a leading country in surfing and surf board design. Shaping is an important part of the innovation and progression of surfing. Australian shapers include Darren Handley who is shaper to world champions Mick Fanning and Stephanie Gilmore.[13] Mark Richards (four times World Champion) is an Australian surfing and surfboard shaping legend who shaped his own boards during his time on the world tour.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Australian Geographic". Australian Geographic. 2014. Archived from the original on 2015-02-03.
  2. ^ "About Surfing Australia". Surfing Australia. 2015.
  3. ^ Warren, Andrew (2013). "Making things in a high-dollar Australia: The case of the surfboard industry". Journal of Australian Political Economy. 71: 26–50.
  4. ^ Ford, Nick; David Brown (2006). Surfing and Social Theory: Experience, Embodiment and Narrative of the Dream Glide. Taylor & Francis. p. 52. ISBN 978-0415334334. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  5. ^ World Surf League, World Surf League (2015-04-15). "Men's Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour". World Surf League. World Surf League. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  6. ^ Wendy Lewis, Simon Balderstone and John Bowan (2006). Events That Shaped Australia. New Holland. p. 115. ISBN 978-1-74110-492-9.
  7. ^ Vertinsky, Patricia Anne; John Bale (2004). Sites of Sport: Space, Place, Experience. Psychology Press. p. 117. ISBN 978-0714682815. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  8. ^ "History Of Surfing Innovation Part 5 - Disrupt Surfing". Disrupt Surfing. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  9. ^ DiMartino, Jay (2015). "Australia's surfing history". about sport.
  10. ^ "Australia's Surfing History". about sport.
  11. ^ "Mick Fanning wins men's title at Bells Beach". ABC News. 9 April 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  12. ^ "Surfing - health benefits - Better Health Channel". Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  13. ^ Handley, Darren (2015). "Blog". Darren Handley Designs. © 2015 DHD Surf - Performance Surfboards. All Rights Reserved.
  14. ^ Baker, Tim (2013). Australia's Century of Surf. North Sydney NSW: Random House Australia Pty Ltd. pp. 184–185. ISBN 978-1-74275-828-2.

External links[edit]