South Australia’s Mid Coast is an approximate 50 minute drive from the Adelaide’s CBD. It forms part of metropolitan Adelaide and lies within the state’s biggest local government region, the City of Onkaparinga.
The Mid Coast relies on a south west swell that finds its way through a narrow passage between Kangaroo Island and Yorke Peninsula. When this swell meets the Mid Coast, it produces quality surf.
Surf breaks work on a range of tides and offshore winds are generally easterly (SE – NE). Its proximity to one of South Australia’s biggest population growth areas means breaks can become crowded, but nothing when compared to eastern states breaks.
Mid Coast surf breaks are a unique mix of sandy beach breaks as well as reef breaks.
Home to Christies Beach Surf Life Saving Club. It is a long white sand beach that has 2 main beach breaks. 500m or more out to sea is reef that can produce a long right hand wave.
A beach break is a fun right-hander that is fast and hollow at times.
The 500m+ paddle out means that this spot never gets crowded yet on its day the waves can be long and fun.
First known as the ‘Pipe’ because of a storm-water outlet nearby this beachie comes to life in strong SW and even NW winds. It can become crowded and is exciting to watch when the fast, jacked up peaks entice the locals to show their stuff.
Port Noarlunga Beach
Home to Port Noarlunga SLSC and Port Noarlunga Aquatics Centre (SA Education Dept.) where school children are taught knowledge and skills of surfing and other aquatic pursuits.
Port South Beach
Reached via a glorious beach walk from Port Noarlunga beach or via a footbridge across the Onkaparinga River. South Port Surf Life Saving Club sits in the dunes overlooking the beach breaks.
A quality left hander that forms over a sand bar to the south end of Noarlunga Reef. In prime conditions it is a large fast well shaped wave with long rides.
South Port Beach
Small swells, on a lower tide produce nice peelers on sand bars with useful deeper gutters and rips in between. Here many surf lessons are held due to the number of breaks and the sandy bottom.
The Onkaparinga river enters the sea at the southern end of South Port beach and often a sand bar forms here which produces both left ( the longest ) and right hand waves. Sometimes waves can continue some way up the river.
A reef break close to the river mouth and to the adjacent cliffs with rights and lefts but usually shortish rides. A protected spot in Southerly winds.
Also know as Frenchman’s on some maps. Named after David ‘Snake’ Ferrett, longstanding member of the South Port Surf Life Saving Club and early boardrider. Some consider this a secret spot but not much goes unnoticed on the Mid. If breaks are further from access points they might be less crowded on busy days. This lefthander is almost a small point break that wraps around a reef ledge popular for fishing .
Triggs 1 & 2
These 2 breaks are named because of the Trig Point located on the cliff top, which surfers use as a landmark. The reef breaks produce fun right hand waves especially during big swells which are popular with short boarders. Also spelt Trigs by some.
In the 50s and 60s this break was know as ‘Horse Shoes’ because of the shape it forms as it wraps around the crescent shaped reef. This later morphed into ‘U-turns’ as the wave has a tendency to change directions as you ride it. It has a predominant left hander but also a right that works best on large swells Lately this break has become a haven for SUP’s who can share the rights and lefts.
It has many names and is not surfed a lot given its distance from the ramps that are spread out along the cliff and does not always work.
Reef break works well on highish tide and with large swell. Both rights and lefts to be had at this usually less crowded spot. A very slight change in swell direction can mean that Anzac’s picks up better waves, especially if the swell hitting the Cape du Couedic buoy, near Kangaroo Island, is big enough.
A softer inconsistent wave that is used by learners or those escaping the crowded adjacent breaks.
Another reef break close to Seaford and accessed by one of the few paths down the cliff. This can be malibu heaven with a dominant right hander and a fast left hander when conditions are right. Often small swells will hit here and no-where else. Named when boats used to inhabit the dug out boat sheds in the cliff in the 1950’s. First surfers saw 3 metal poles embedded in the protruding piece of reef (later referred to as ‘skeg’ rock for obvious reasons). The poles were used to mark out the rocks for the fishermen in their boats and to tie up to on calm days.
Seaford (The Bowl)
Probably the most renown and popular of breaks on the Mid and the one that had status in the early days. Only the initiated got to surf there. Ruled 50 years ago, by clubs like Seaview Road Boardriders (still running) and City Bay. It is a reef break that produces long right hand waves with 3 sections. It has a bowly section on the inside that has it also nicknamed ‘the Bowl’. It is one of the best spots on this coast in stormy conditions due to the bay being tucked a little further into the cliff giving some protection the howling southwest winds. Seaford has been the training ground for many of our best surfers, eg, Jarrid Howse, Dion Atkinson, Belinda Godfrey to name a few.
The long paddle out is well worth it when this excellent lefthander is working. The shape and length of ride is great and the crowds can be less.
Named after Fred, a council town clerk in the 50’s who loved this shallow reef break. It has lefts and rights which come into their own on a higher tide and big swell. Short boarders like the fast barreling section in the right conditions.
Named after the cattle trough that sat on the cliff above the break when the only way to the Mid was through the farmer’s land and a dirt or mud track along the cliff top. Also recognised as ‘The Trough’ due to reef formation. This left hand reef was surfed mostly by the early longboarders.
These are all reef breaks. Names vary according to who surfs here. Early surfers used names like ‘Glasshouses’, the ‘Pole’ and North ‘Mo-ies’.
Moana Beach was settled in the 1800’s and rapidly became a holiday and weekend destination for Adelaide beach loving public who could catch the train and walk the last mile or two. After the Duke’s famous arrival in Australia, Moana became the first place for the newly initiated to practice their skill on craft of all shapes and sizes. The Moana Surf Life Saving Club has a board supposedly shaped by the Duke, on one of his visits, and given to an early member of the Moana SLSC. The beach breaks depend on the changing sandbars and tides but provide an excellent spot for learning to surf. Many Surf Schools use the beach along with the crowds for this purpose.
As Surfing Reserves are ‘iconic’ places of recreational, environmental, historic, sporting and cultural value to the region, the Mid Coast Surfing Reserve aims at protecting surf breaks, reef areas, cliff faces, etc as well as encouraging a healthy lifestyle and contributing to positive economic benefits for local businesses – a sustainable Mid Coast.
All these things come together to make our section of the coastline ‘The Magic Mid’ that we love…
The Mid Coast Surfing Reserve aims to assist with managing and protecting the environmental, cultural, economic and social characteristics of an area from Christie Creek in the north to Pedler Creek, Moana in the south. The area lies within the City of Onkaparinga’s Mid South Coast Ward and follows the Kaurna community’s creek to creek boundaries.
It also provides an insight into current aims that are closely linked to community expectations. These help us to understand why there is a need to maintain, protect and sustain the Mid Coast region.
Aims & Objectives
The Mid Coast Surfing Reserve steering committee has been active in ensuring local community support for the dedication of the Mid Coast as a Surfing Reserve.
The Mid Coast Surfing Reserve recognises the uniqueness of the Mid Coast as a surfing environment, the relationship of the whole surfing and aquatic community with the Mid Coast and the need to establish it as a stakeholder within the region.
Objectives of the Mid Coast Surfing Reserve Focus On:
- Celebrating surfing heritage and culture
- Ensuring a safe aquatic and beach environment
- Protecting the environment
- Supporting Council’s Coastal Park initiatives