Want to hang 10 but don't know where to start? No worries. Australia has a surf school that will get you standing up in no time.
By Katrina Lobley
Get ready to wriggle into a wetsuit and learn to surf Australian waves, which come in all shapes and sizes.
Australia's best surf spots for beginners
Learn to surf for just $17
Reef2Beach's $17 surf lessons at Agnes Water, next to the Town of 1770, 120 kilometres (75 miles) north of Bundaberg in Queensland, have become legendary on the backpacker circuit. These three-hour surf lessons are renowned as Australia's cheapest. Agnes Water is home to Queensland's most northerly surf beach, with great waves that are suitable for beginner and intermediate surfers.
Conquer Australia's most famous beach
With its postcard-perfect sweep of golden sand and sparkling water, Sydney's Bondi Beach attracts visitors from all over the world, and many hope to make Bondi the first place they ride a surfboard. The good news is that it's easy to surf Bondi's waves, thanks to Lets Go Surfing's range of lessons. Sign up for a two-hour beginner's lesson or a private lesson for one-on-one instruction.
Where consistency rules
Sydney’s Manly Beach, with its pretty shoreline shaded by Norfolk pines, is renowned for its consistent breaks. Manly Surf School offers group and private lessons from 9am year round that show how best to catch these glorious waves. To reach Manly from central Sydney, take a ferry from Circular Quay. It's one of the world's prettiest commuter rides.
Surf the New South Wales North Coast
The Yamba-Angourie Surf School, a 1 1/2 hour drive south of Byron Bay, conducts surf lessons on Yamba's most northerly beach, Turners. One of 13 surf beaches in the area, Turners is renowned for perfect, entry-level waves. After getting tips and advice from former surf champion, Jeremy Walters, you might even graduate to surfing the world-famous Angourie Point break just down the road.
Surf lessons with roommates
If you're part of the backpacker set and don't mind bunking down in a dorm, sign up for a Surf Camp Australia. It buses wannabe surfers 130 kilometres (80 miles) from Sydney to Gerroa's Seven Mile Beach on the New South Wales South Coast. The surf camp is a short walk from the beach where Australian surf champion Sally Fitzgibbons learned to surf. The friendly instructors come from around the world. Camps range from two to five days and you can add a trip to Byron Bay to test out your newfound skills.
Take tips from a pro
Want to see Surfers Paradise live up to its name? The Cheyne Horan School of Surf, in the heart of the Gold Coast, guarantees you'll get on your feet during the first lesson. Head instructor, former world champion surfer Cheyne Horan, believes in getting the basics right before moving on to more advanced techniques. Beginners learn in waist-deep water chosen for its safe, easy-to-surf waves.
Join the jet set at Noosa
Noosa, in the heart of Queensland's Sunshine Coast, is known as a ritzy playground, but all things are equal once you paddle out into its gentle waves or take on its famed point breaks. Noosa Longboards, on Hastings Street, offers group and one-on-one surf lessons. You can also hire longboards, stand-up paddleboards, and bodyboards.
One cool experience
Victoria's Great Ocean Road, which stretches more than 243 kilometres (150 miles) from Torquay to Allansford, is an epic drive, filled with sights such as the Twelve Apostles and London Arch, and world-class surf breaks such as those at Bells Beach near Torquay. But no one would claim the water here is warm. Prepare to climb into a full wetsuit for a surf lesson with Go Ride a Wave surf school, which operates from four locations – Torquay, Lorne, Ocean Grove and Anglesea – along the Great Ocean Road.
Surf the Indian Ocean
Scarborough Beach Surf School in Perth has been around since 1986, so it knows how to get beginners popping up on their boards as though they're pros. The school's morning surf lessons run for 2 1/2 hours and are available from October to June. From June to October, the lessons move south to Leighton Beach, where surf conditions are perfect during these months.
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