Surfing in Tasmania: here’s a few points of interest. Living in Tasmania presents you with many opportunities to go surfing. It’s an island. There’s lots of coastline! So in practically any direction, you can travel to a beach with waves to challenge your ability to stand on a board while the ocean rocks and rolls beneath you.
Surf Life Saving Tasmania
It might be fun, but be cautious. Swimming between the flags on a patrolled beach is one thing, but it’s still a great idea for kids to learn about keeping themselves safe. Big swells, rips and rocks can end in drama for the unsuspecting, so a little education is a very good investment. One place to get that surf training is at Clifton Beach in southern Tasmania.
Surfing in Tasmania: Clifton Beach
The Clifton Beach Surf Life Saving Club is about 30kms south-east of the state capital, Hobart. Led by a dedicated band of volunteers, they practice and promote water safety awareness on Sunday mornings during the summer months.
The kids paddle on boards and get tuition about swimming in the ocean environment. Combined with activities on the beach sand, the club members definitely get a good workout in terms of fitness. And judging by the smiles and general banter between the group on the day of my visit, they clearly enjoy the experience.
Surf Schools: Learn from Experts
In a state like Tasmania where the waves are a-calling, you might like to get some tips from a surfing expert. There are numerous surf-schools based around the state, and they offer instruction to all ages and abilities. I don’t know if there’s any guarantees about getting you shredding, but they can supply wet-suits and boards with a bit of advance notice.
Gift certificates for a surfing class are popular at Christmas, when the weather is at its warmest in Tassie. But I did mention wet-suits, and you have to be prepared for the water to be cold. Tasmania is way south of the equator and a lot closer to the Antarctic, remember.
Surf Forecast: Make Your Own Way
Ok, so now you’ve had lessons? Check the surf forecast, grab your surfboard and drive off to the beach that suits you. It always amazes me that the grapevine is so efficient for the surfing community. When the waves are on, the word goes out, and the dudes roll up. How cool is that?
An internet search will give you more than just a surf forecast or weather report. You can actually find web cameras posted at beaches around the island. I guess that’s handy if you have a day off. But torture if you’re stuck in the office, watching an awesome beach break on your computer!
Shipstern Bluff: For Those That Dare
Now, I did mention seriously big waves. Southern Tasmania is home to Australia’s heaviest wave. That’s a good thing if you’re an advanced surfer, apparently. Also known as Devil’s Point, Shipstern Bluff is accessed near Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula. Riding the massive waves involves either a long bushwalk or a boat, and some serious deep breathing, I’d imagine.
Proving that Shipstern is not the only killer break in Tassie, the front page of The Mercury (Hobart’s local newspaper) recently published a photo of a professional surfer taking on the mountainous seas near Bicheno, on the state’s east coast. Unfortunately, the seas won that particular battle, dumping the surfer onto his back on the rocks. His bones might have been broken, but his spirit wasn’t and after a good, long recovery, he’ll be out there again.
Surf photos that emerge from Shippies are spectacular, and even if you’re not into surfing in Tasmania (or anywhere else), you can’t help but be impressed by the photography. Check out some samples from Samuel Shelley: Surfing in Tasmania. His collection really highlights the majesty of the wild ocean.
So that’s my introduction to Surfing in Tasmania. Something for everyone, from kids with a foam board, to daredevils with a death wish. Which option would you choose?