The Margaret River NSR was declared in March 2010 as the first NSR in Western Australia. It finally linked the NSR program from east to west, recognising the breath and variety of waves in Australia. ‘Margs’ is of one of Australia’s most spectacular group surfing breaks, nestled on a majestic and pristine coastline. The greater 120km Cape to Cape coastline is arguably the finest stretch of surfing waves in the world.
Margaret River NSR covers four surfbreaks in Prevelly, including Southsides, Mainbreak, Rivermouth and the Box, including a section of the Rivermouth.
MR or ‘down south’ is the focus of surfing in Western Australia. It is claimed there’s no finer collection of reefs, points and big wave spots exist in such close proximity anywhere else on the entire continent.
The Capes region has a number of special characteristics that account for its very consistent, surfable waves. While swell, wind and tide conditions vary, as with any coastal region, the Capes has a special combination of features that means that, on pretty well any day of the year, there is a surfable wave to be found.
- Continental shelf: The edge of the continental shelf comes very close to the coast along the Capes region (or, if you prefer – the Capes ‘stick out’ into the deep ocean), meaning that almost none of the swell strength and size is lost as it gets closer to the coast.
- Reefs/Sand: The Capes coast has a large number of well-formed reefs that capture swell and shape the waves. It also has some beach breaks that are largely unrideable (because there is too much swell) for much of the year, but provide classic waves on the rare occasions when the swell drops to a low level.
- Protected Bays: The Capes coast has a number of points and bays that provide shelter during adverse wind conditions, meaning that, when the more exposed coast is blown out, there are still many large quality waves with clean faces.
Surf-Related Economy & Demographics
The three Cape’s coastal communities of Yallingup, Gracetown and Prevelly are populated almost exclusively by surfers, ex-surfers or their families. The three inland villages of Cowaramup, Witchcliffe and Karridale have remnants of the original farming families as part of their populations but have significant numbers of surfers, ex-surfers or their families as key members of the community and local economy.
The major towns, especially Margaret River and Dunsborough owe their economic well-being to work done by or businesses run by surfers, ex-surfers or their families. It is not uncommon, and quite well accepted for work to shut down when the surf is good. These are ‘surfing’ communities in the fullest sense of the word.
There are no communities in the Capes regions that do not have a connection to surfing to some large degree. This region is also world famous for one thing other than surf – fine wine. Many of the major wineries in this region’s wine industry were started by surfers, and for those that weren’t – the labour that got them started and allowed them to grow was supplied by surfers. In the early days, the pioneering surfers were often the only labour available to the wineries.
The Capes surf region’s history, like that of Australia, is still young, with many of the pioneering surfers still living and surfing in the region. The knowledge of our local history is still being gathered, before these pioneers pass on, by historians such as Mike McAuliffe and Mick Marlin. Margaret River NSR was dedicated on March 20, 2010.