Angourie, on the NSW north coast near Yamba, was the first gazetted National Surfing Reserve in NSW. Angourie is legendary amongst the surfing community for its superb breaks and natural beauty. A very special and very soulful location worthy of deep respect.
A Range of marine and terrestrial habitats have evolved here over thousands of years creating an environment valued today by visitors from around the world. The rocky boulder reefs of Angourie Point host sea urchins and sea cucumbers, octopus and crabs. The shallow rock ledges of Spooky and Green Point provide stable holds for red, green and brown seaweeds, sea anenome and cunjevoi. Tidal rock pools shelter starfish, barnacles and periwinkles for children to admire. Fish such as silver bream, tarwhine, jewfish and groper are plentiful and healthy. Tailor, salmon and mackerel are our seasonal visitors. Whales cruise past on their journeys north and south. Dolphins and turtles explore the coves closer to shore.
“Angourie is the best right hand point break in Australia and also one of the best in the world. National Surfing Reserves will enshrine these beaches as they deserve to be – jewels in the crown.”
Mark Richards: 4 x World Surfing Champion (1979, 1980, 1981, 1982)
Swells from the north and east run into these reefs to provide fast and hollow tubes. Southerly swells sweeping past create gentler and more playful waves. As the coarse sands and pebbles of Point Beach move northward they grade to fine sandy beaches at Spooky and Green Point Cove. These shifting sands of the beaches are inhabited by pippis and enthusiastic crabs that roll sand balls every low tide. Oystercatchers and gulls love to scour these shores for food. The sand banks of Back Beach, Spooky and Green Point shift with the swells and tides. They are a playground for locals and grommets on smaller days when the points are not working so well.
Beyond the shores the Spinifex grasses combine with Beach Bean and Guinea Flowers to hold the dunes. On the stable soils and slopes of the fore-dune Pandanus Palms, Casuarina, Banksia and Lomandra fringe the beaches. Canopies of Pink Euodia and Red Ash in the wet gullies of Spooky Valley provide shelter for Tree Ferns and Sandpaper Figs. The gravely clay soils of the headland slopes support health plants such as Banksia, Spider Grevillea, Hakea and Flannel Flowers.
These coastal plants and ocean shores provide a feast for the birds and animals in the area. Ospreys and kites wheel above the shores; honeyeaters, lorikeets, rosellas, figbirds and cockatoos feed in the vegetation of the sand dunes and wallabies and roos graze in health. These animals and plants were the first ones here, lets ensure they are never forced to leave.
The Yaegl people are the traditional custodians of the Clarence Coast. Its outcrops, estuaries and beaches hold places where people have camped for thousands of years and used the abundant resources provided by nature n this favourable location.
Angourie was known to the Yaegl people as a lookout point because of the uninterrupted views north, south, east and west. It is also, to this day, rich in ochre that was used for ceremonial purposes, warfare and trading.
Yaegl Elder Alan Pop Laurie told early surfers that Angourie means “the sound of the wind”.
In Easter of 1961 a group of board riders from Yamba SLSC, seeking a less crowded break, came to Angourie and were the first board riders at the Point. The surfers were so excited about their discovery that recorded the names of the first group thus:
Ray Moran (1st Surfer)
Roger Maclean (2nd Surfer)
Brian Alford (3rd Surfer)
Don Lee (4th Surfer)
Around 1965 these enthusiastic locals formed their own board riders club called Angourie Surf Riders, eventually this club lapsed and in 1985 the Angourie Boardriders Club formed and remains to today. The arrival of famous surfers following the 1964 World Titles held in Manly placed Angourie on the map as an international surfing destination.
Although now a National Surfing Reserve, Angourie was threatened in the early 1980s by several developers to turn the area into a major tourist destination. These developments included multi-storey hotels and caravan parks, and were all fiercely objected to by the Angourie Coastcare group (formed by surfers in 1989). Their extensive protection and rehabilitation efforts were recognised through several awards from State government and environmental organisations.
To acknowledge the importance of the interaction between this beautiful environment and surfing culture, a National Surfing Reserve has been created at Angourie. The Dedication took place on the 12 January 2007 and was performed by the Hon. Tony Kelly (Minister for lands) and Brad Farmer (Founder of National Surfing Reserves) and attended by many past and present surfers and members of the Angourie community.
Now that the ground work has been done, Angourie will remain a special place and will be enjoyed by future generations of surfers.
Back Point: Left hand point break over shallow boulder reef.
The Ledge: Jump off, paddle-out point and recent take-off spot with short shallow tubes.
The Point: Long and challenging right handover over boulders.
Life & Death: Dangerous rock shelf at end of the point wave, scene of many rescues.
Tube Rock: In big swells, an ocean waterfall barrel.
Spooky Point: Very shallow rock ledge, right hand break for experienced surfers only.
Spooky Corner: Grommet training ground and playgrounds, traditional boat launching.
Green Point: Very hollow and shallow rock ledge, right and left.
The Cove: Scenic beach break.