Everyone knows windsurfing in WA is all about hitting the waves spots to the (far) North and South of Perth, however if you’re stuck in the city for some reason and want to do some freestyle sailing, Perth has a lot to offer. Al Bentley guides us around some of the local spots.
The best thing about Perth is that wind is always from the same direction (Freo Doctor from SW) and there is minimal change in tide. So all these spots will be working when its windy, its up to you which one to sail. Kit wise a freestyle board and a 4.7m will be ideal for the average dude.
This video is a collection of shots over the summer, mostly from Woodmans Pt, but also some other spots thrown in. We didn’t have a very windy summer, apparently due to La Nina, but the bitch is gone now so let’s all hope/pray next summer is full power again.
The video features a collection of the local crew.
I mention this one first because it is hands down the best spot overall; the downside is the location (about 45 mins from the city).
Woodmans is one of the few land masses that sticks out near Perth amongst a fairly straight West facing coast line, so it is the only place where you can get very clean, powerful offshore wind. The spot actually has three beaches (see map), but if you are into freestyle it is the third beach you will be interested in. The second one is good if you like some upwind ramps, so nice for shaka, ponch, flaka etc.
When to go: If you want super sick full power freestyle conditions.
- Very windy (in normal sea breeze you will be on 4.2 or 4.7)
- Dead flat on Starboard
- Less flat on Port but usually there are small ramps to launch off
- Onshore beach if you get bored of kiters and flat water
- Usually good crew to sail with
- Free parking
- You can go fishing if there is no wind
- Lots of hot kiter chicks ‘training’
- Kiters (there are a lot). The high level ones are fine, in control and friendly, the beginners (who should not really be there) think the beach is kiter only (?) and love to drop kites
- Shallow close to shore, which is why there are small waves, so if you are going for power moves make sure you are confident in the rotation or do them a bit off the beach.
- Apparently sharky, lots of fisherman on the first/second beach, and last year a guy swam out with bait, left it there then caught a four merte Tiger shark. However, saying that considering the number of people in the water I have never heard of anyone actually seeing one, plus it is so shallow close in they would need to roll along the seabed to get to you.
- Car break ins do occur, but not a problem unless you leave your bag or wallet out in the open, we installed a sweet safe in our van
- Quite a lot weed in some tide states so you might want a weed fin, although not required.
Woodmans Pt 3rd beach/ offshore side
Peter switch kono at Woodmans
Woodmans 3rd beach looking east, still flat but the kiters are downwind, Maeli popping switch
This is the best river spot for freestyle, it is very close to the city but still on the South side of the river. In a normal sea breeze the wind will be slightly less strong here compared to on the sea, and more gusty. If the wind is light is also has a tendency to die off here earlier.
The advantages over Woodmans are that it is closer for some people and better for moves on Port (flatter).
When to go: If you want the best conditions without the drive (or hate kiters)
- Reasonably flat on both tacks (not butter but close enough!)
- Much less crowded and no kites (they must launch further downwind)
- Close to city and North of river (Can be reached by bike from city in 10-15 mins)
- Nipple deep all over
- Grass, BBQ and sick outdoor gym adjacent
- Free parking
- Less windy than on the sea, e.g. Woodmans Point, and the wind can often die early if it is light, usually would be on 4.7 if on 4.2 at Woodmans
- A lot gustier, so can be annoying for switch ducking moves to keep speed
- Lots of big jelly fish that don’t sting but sometimes hit your fin or end up on your face
- here are still bull sharks in the river… so there is no escape!
Pricy about to hit up a river session at Melville
Well known as a flat water spot in Perth, and very accessible from city/ North of the river. Personally I can’t stand it but I will try to not be biased! There is kit rental available here from Windforce which is a huge plus, and as river spots go it probably gets the most wind. My view is that if you want a decent session it would be worth driving an extra 10 mins to get to Melville, or sail there.
When to go: If you are renting kit or really short for time…
- Very close to North of river and City (Can be reached by bike from city in 5-10 mins)
- Kit rental is available (Starboard and Severne)
- Apparently, there is a mythical sandbar that can appear (I have never seen it) which makes for some flat water
- Grass, shower and BBQ adjacent
- You have to pay for parking before 5:30pm
- Really quite choppy, and not very regular unless you head further out
- Still gusty especially near shore
- Quite a few kiters, lots of beginners, so watch out for your head
- Did I mention is it really choppy?
Pinaroo Point/ Ocean Reef
This is relatively unheard of spot for good reasons, there is only one reason you would sail here unless you lived nearby. It picks up the most wind out of the whole of Perth. Apart from that it is not flat (at all) and no waves. So it is only worth the trip if you are desperate for strong wind.
When to go: If you want to be overpowered or sail some chop.
- Windiest place in Perth
- It is flatish coming towards the beach on Port
- Free BBQ etc adjacent (as with most places in Perth)
- Close if you live far North of Perth
- It is on the sea but there are no waves
- It gets very choppy
- Popular with kiters and kite lessons
- Far from everywhere else
Pinaroo Pt – The windiest place in Perth!!
Other spots (Winter spots or spots outside Perth)
These spots are worth mentioning for sailing in the morning (Easterly) or winter sailing, which is where the wind comes from all over the place.
A huge sand spit that sticks out in the middle of the Swan river, it is sailable in the normal sea breeze direction but very gusty. It works better in a strong NE or Easterly wind which often occurs in the early morning during the summer or in the winter.
When to go: If its easterly in the morning.
- Spit means there is always a flat side
- Easy access from Fremantle
- Works in Easterly and North East winds (wind can be very strong as it gets funnelled)
- Nice area/ beach to hang out (BBQ etc)
- Cliff jumping is nearby if you are bored (Google Blackwall reach Cliff jump Perth)
- Only works in specific directions
- Lots of land around so gusty
- Usually kiter central
- Shallow rocks near the jetty, easy to get nailed on
A great spot to check of if the wind is from the North or East, or any direction apart from the normal one (SW). This place sticks right out into the middle of the river so you can almost always make it work. It is also a really nice place to relax which huge grass area, BBQ and beach.
Map link: http://goo.gl/maps/lB1D
When to go: If it’s any other wind direction.
- Works in non-seabreeze wind directions (early morning in summer)
- Sometimes flat on the way in
- Close to city, and anywhere South of River
- Enjoyable chill out grass area with BBQs etc
- You often have to sail out into the middle of the river, so it is choppy
- If the wind is not a normal sea breeze it is either from North (frontal, very up and a down and rainy) or sketchy in general so don’t always believe the forecast
Applecross in a strong easterly, very near the city as you can see!
Not so nice in a storm.
I felt I have to mention this spot, because although it is not in technically in Perth (Rockinham, about 1 hr South) it is famous and still worth a mention. Along with Pelican Point this spot is also well known as a flat water spot. By looking at a map you can see why, there is a lagoon that has been formed by a sand spit which creates a decent flat area on both tacks. Due to the location it normally gets less wind that Perth, so only worth the trip if you are sure of some strong wind.
When to go: If you want a change from Perth or on the down on the way to somewhere with waves (Mandura or Margret River)
- Very flat on both tacks
- By sailing further out there is some regular chop, good for launching off
- Can be awesome in winter wind conditions (non sea breeze)
- It is only about 20-25 mins from Woodmans, so you can always hit both up for a double dip
- A lot of weed (you need a weed fin)
- Lots of kiters, and they have a dedicated zone upwind in the flattest area, however many drift down into the windsurf zone so it’s only natural to think we can drift up into the kite zone
- Can get very busy with both kiters and windsurfers
Al and Peter, Two choppers driving around
Al Bentley currently lives in Perth and can found at any of the spots below on a windy afternoon. Visit Al’s website here:
Sponsors: Severne Sails, K3 Designs