Surf’s up on the Great Ocean Road! With endless white sandy beaches and sparkling blue waves to conquer, there’s no better place to learn how to surf.
If you’re searching for the perfect wave to hit on your surfing L-plates, these are our favourite beginner spots on the Great Ocean Road. Think safe, sheltered coves and family-friendly beaches with gentle waves.
We’ve also rounded up the best local businesses to rent your gear (you want a wetsuit to keep you toasty warm and a big soft board that’s easy to ride.) Plus our go-to surf schools for all ages. After a wet and wild two-hour lesson in the sunshine, you’ll be carving those waves in no time.
What better place to learn the ropes than the surf capital of Australia? Home to the Rip Curl Pro surf competition, Torquay attracts some of the best surfers from around the world and is renowned for its laid back beach culture. The perfect spot for beginners is a little nook on the front beach called Cosy Corner. One of the safest beaches in the area, Cosy Corner is a sheltered cove protected from big swells. In the middle of town and kitted out with a playground, loos, showers and lifeguards, this spot is a haven for young families. For board hire and lessons, both Torquay Surfing Academy and Go Ride a Wave are located on Bell Street, an easy walk from the beach.
This stunning stretch of beach where the Anglesea River meets the sea is the perfect setting for your learn-to-surf adventure. The shallow waters are perfect for beginners to splash around in and the gentle surf means there’s no fear around wiping out. You’ll also feel safe knowing the surf life saving club is just up the beach. Head to Anglesea Surf Centre to hire a board for the day or hit Go Ride a Wave right behind the beach and get kitted out. Their instructors will have you learning moves on the sand before you hit the waist-deep water and try out your new skills.
Another Anglesea gem where beginners will have a blast is Point Roadknight. This white sandy beach is the perfect launch pad for newbies. It’s a shallow and protected cove with just enough swell to have some fun. Point Roadknight is a short drive south of the main beach, so pick up your gear and organise lessons in town. With surf patrol on hand in peak periods, it’s a ripper family spot and is also popular with stand up paddle boarders.
If you want to devote every bit of your energy to catching those waves, Lorne Main Beach is a dream. You’ve got everything you need within a stone’s throw including surf hire, toilets and cafes to refuel. And did we mention it’s spectacularly pretty? The sprawling beach is patrolled, sheltered from the wind and the peeling waves are beginner-friendly. Once again our go-to crew for all your gear and lessons is – you guessed it – Go Ride a Wave. Sign up for a two-hour lesson and you’ll be channelling Stephanie Gilmore in no time. When the sun starts to set, wander back to the pub or a beachfront restaurant to trade wipeout stories with your surf buddies.
First-timers will love the calm waters of Apollo Bay Beach. Stay close to the protected harbour end of the beach for gentle waves in the bay, with surf patrol nearby. The waves grow bigger and stronger as you stray further north. You’ll be itching to come back year after year to conquer more territory as you gain confidence on the board. Hire a wetsuit and board from Apollo Bay Surf and Kayak. They also offer lessons on the foreshore for everyone from grommets to adults. They’ll have you standing by the end of the session and ear-to-ear smiles are practically guaranteed.
Surfers in Port Fairy are spoiled with over 5km of white sandy beach to learn on. East Beach boasts a long sandbar which creates perfect conditions for beginners, with waves that break slowly. These long rolling waves leave plenty of time for you to steady yourself, pop up and practice your technique. If you need some pointers, you’ll be in safe hands with Go Surf School. The beach is perfectly located in the seaside town and you won’t even have to cross the river to get a bite to eat. East Beach is patrolled right through summer and you’ll find toilets and showers at the beach.
Warrnambool has some unreal surfing and the good news is, there’s a beach for every skill level, even if you’ve never surfed a day in your life. Beginners and young families flock to the white sands of Warrnambool’s main beach in Lady Bay to soak up the sunshine and have a crack at surfing. The long, curving beach has small waves that break over a sandbar. These gentle whitewater and green waves will keep water babies entertained for hours. Book a lesson with the friendly folks at Daktari and jump on that board. What have you got to lose?
Ready to jump on a board for a day of sand, sun and surf? Whichever beach you choose, the most important thing is to have fun and paddle, paddle, paddle!
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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.