The Southern Gold Coast is home to some of the world’s most incredible surf breaks, with the waves from Burleigh to Snapper Rocks making up the 8th World Surfing Reserve.
While the surfing scene has magnified the region over the past few decades and the southern points are now known as world-class Super Banks, there is still so much history and nostalgia as you drive along the coast searching for waves – retracing the steps of the surfers who hit the waves from the 1950s through to the 1970s when the first professional surfers put the region on the map.
In 1971, local surfing legend Michael Peterson won the Kirra Pro-Am contest, the first Queensland contest to offer any prize money (albeit at just $150). Sections of the movie, Morning of the Earth, were filmed at Kirra, and Michael Peterson was known for his tube riding at the local break in the 70s.
Follow in the footsteps of the Cooly Kids and you’ll be sure to find plenty of good waves along these southern shores. These world champion surfers and Coolangatta locals, led by MP, Peter Townend and Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew, ruled the local breaks, putting themselves, the Southern Gold Coast and the fledgling sport of surfing in the spotlight.
From your beachside accommodation at La Costa Motel, take the boards straight out at Bilinga to surf the gentle beach break, or jump on the free retro bikes to check to see if Kirra is pumping, just 5 minutes’ south along the Oceanway path. Strap the boards onto the surf mobile and head south to the point at Kirra, the rolling waves at Greenmount or Rainbow Bay, brave the Super Bank at Snapper Rocks or head 10 minutes up the coast to the Currumbin Alley, where there’s waves to be had all year round for every level and style of surfer.
Relive the days of the endless summer, grab your mates, book a surf trip and stay at La Costa Motel, where you’ll be right in the heart of the best waves on the Southern Gold Coast.
Image: National Archives of Australia