Australia’s wild, wild west is a man’s land—rugged, barren, physically and mentally demanding, and stuffed full of heavy slabs. With a reputation for big sharks, gnarly locals, and incessant winds, WA might not be at the top of most people’s list of dream destinations, but for those who enjoy sleeping under the stars and charging consequential waves with minimal crowds, there’s no better place.
The Surf: Although there are a number of softer waves in WA, the well-known breaks are all either slabs or big wave bombies, making this an advanced to expert destination.
Five Waves Worth Surfing:
- Margaret River: A rippable peak when small and a legitimate big wave bombie when the swell is pumping, this wave will feature on the ASP world tour through 2017.
- The Box: The original slab, The Box is a ledgy righthander close to Margaret River that has been dishing up fickle, gaping tubes since the early ’90s.
- Red Bluff: A heavy lefthand reef barrel in the middle of the WA desert that provides the full surf/camp experience.
- Gnarloo: Another slabby lefthander located way out in the desert, Gnarloo is for only the heaviest of watermen and desert-dwellers.
- North Point: One of WA’s best righthanders, North Point is legendary for its long, heavy tubes.
The Water: Aside from urban areas around Perth and other large cities, WA is fronted by some of the cleanest, bluest, sharkiest water in Australia. Surface temps in Perth range between 66–72 F (19 –22 C), with northern areas being warmer and southern areas quite a bit colder.
The Season: WA gets waves year round, but winter (May through August) is the most consistent. Unfortunately, winter can also be quite windy.
The Vibe: The locals in WA are gnarly, and the better spots are well protected. If you come with a good attitude, skills, and respect, however, you should get along quite well.
Things To Do: Camp. Fish. Drink. Surf.
Where To Stay: If you are anywhere besides Perth, chances are good that you’ll be living in a tent.
What To Bring: A shortboard and a couple of step-ups. A 3/2 mm wetsuit, depending on the season. A dependable 4×4 vehicle, spare parts and tires, camping gear, food and water for at least a week, and a good first aid kit.
Getting There: Perth is the main international airport in WA, and is accessible from all over the country, as well as a number of overseas airports. Australian tourist visas can be arranged online before arrival. Airport code: PER.