Think hot dry long straight roads, howling winds, perfect waves, silver sands and a hippy like windsurfing community living in vans full of windsurfing and camping gear, driving deliriously to their next destination whilst dodging kangaroos, wallabies, snakes and spiders. You should have an idea about what WA is about.
Windy and Hot from October through to April, you can get away with only a 5.3, 4.7 and a 78litre all round wave board, two fins, a shortie and plenty of sunblock. WA is one of those places that you absolutely have to go for an amazing travelling experience and some mindblowing windsurfing.
Apart from the wind only blowing from the left, if you want to, you can taste every windsurfing experience imaginable. It is fantastic place. Because there are so many places to sail, this is a very comprehensive guide.
how to get there
Finding the best deal flight that will charge you the least amount for baggage is always the main problem. Avoid flights like Brunei Airlines, although they are cheaper for the flight they have a very strict baggage code (plus you don't get beer on the flight!). Qantas are a premium price for flights.
Austravel.com have some really good deals going with Thomson fly. Thomson fly (0870 166 2120)
Western Australia is windy because of a sea breeze, the bulk of Australia being a hot, hot desert. The further North you go, the windier it is. At Geraldton you will often be on two sizes smaller than you are at Perth , the wind is called the Freemantle Doctor. The North often gets the wind first, this is because it juts out into the Indian ocean more and gets the seabreeze and acceleration effect the first. The South is a bit more fickle for wind, although Margaret River and Esperence often work on different wind patterns to the West Coast. Esperence is actually not that consistent, so make sure you have your facts right before making the epic journey. When trying to forecast winds in Oz, then look at the pressure charts. If the lines go horizontally across the coast line you will be fine. If they dip in a v shape on the coastline, then this is known as a "trough". If this happens it will be extremely hot and not windy. You are better off heading South, or catching the early morning Easterlies at Swan River.
The wind always swings offshore towards the evening. The classic down the line sessions are therefore at this time. Coronation beach is a perfect example of this, it has a really long wave but is cross onshore during the day and excellent for jumping. The "Evening Session" here can be an excellent, cross shore down the line experience!
Ocean Outlook is a very good site for planning your windsurfs.
where to windsurf
Starting in the North and working south. There is not a single bad place to sail. There is only one wind direction, it blows from the left and tides are never really a problem. Low tide will expose the reef more but it is more a case of using your judgement.
One of the best waves in the entire world. It is a perfect cross off direction and the wave bends so more offshore the more you go on it and on a good day you can 20 or more turns. There are loads of different sections and it can be really hard to make the whole wave. It is probably the most fun you can have on a wave. There are 3 different surfing breaks, if it is big it is impossible to sail the whole thing, it is such a long wave. The launch is tricky, so a lot of people where boots. You launch through a key hole and depending on the state of tide, it is on sharp reef or just off the sand. At low tide it is really hard, you come in at the same place. If the wind dies you can come in further down wind but you need some help from people on the beach. There is a little onshore spot you can sail in front of the campsite called Fencelines.
The reef is shallow and you can break your kit easily, you then have to swim in downwind. The water smells like fish, so it is also quite a “sharky” experience.
From Perth it is about a 12 hour drive, you have to shop at Carnarfon to shop for however long you are staying there, you need absolutely everything water, beer, bread and anything else to help pass the time in the evenings, surfboard.
Geraldton is the second biggest city in WA. It is not actually that big and you get the feeling that the locals don’t really leave there. You can easily spend your whole trip in Gero’ as the sailing is varied and convenient. It is a long drive from Perth as you would expect. There are plenty of café’s and bars in the town to keep you amused.
More sideshore than Coronation, more waveriding, it is quite a bowl section. You need a 4x4 to get there or you can sail there, which takes 40mins sailing upwind from Coro ’.
North of Geraldton and off the main highway is Coronation Beach. Coronation is one of the best allround spots in the world. You start off with a 700 metre flat water lagoon which runs into a really nice small steep stunt ramp, then you get a nice bit of flat before you hit a much larger rolling wave. It is a really good playground. Good for cross on wave riding during the day and side offshore in the evening session. It is also an amazing place for freestyle and learning, because the inside is so flat. You really get everything out of a day’s sailing here. For an 80kg bloke, the most popular sail size you will use is a 4.7. Choose to camp or commute from Geraldton which is 30 mins away. Camping is an excellent experience and shouldn’t be missed. Access is down a full dirt track that started off as a good road.
Sunsets can get really good, It's on the north side of Geraldton. It needs a really big swell as it hardly ever breaks. It breaks off the corner of a river mouth. It is a down the line wave, that can be a little gusty to get out. When it works it is the best spot in Geraldton. Parking is easy there are two, one right in front of the Caravan site and one you just drive down too. You can rig up and just walk down the beach.
The most southerly point of Geraldton is also very popular, there is also campsite near by. Hells Gate (the reef) probably picks up more swell than anywhere else. There is good jumping and good riding, but it is right out to sea so if the wind drops it is hard to get back in. There is a big channel. On the right is Hells Gate and on the left is Kiddies. It is always quite choppy and the flat section is never as smooth as Coronation beach. If you take the wave for too long you will end up on a dry reef and a sucky ledge. There is plenty of parking and a grassy rigging area. The windsurfing shop Sailwestis right on the beach.
Greenhead is a stop off between Lancelin and Geraldton, it is a fishing town in the middle of no where on the coastal route. Parking is on the beach. There is a jetty with loads of Cray fishing boats. The launch is through a flat section where the wind is quite gusty. The actual reef is about a kilometre out. It gets really windy, cross shore and is worth a trip.