Saturday, November 08, 2008

Surfing in Darwin

As I went through my morning ritual of checking my email accounts I came across something other then the usual Facebook updates, mailing list news and spam.

The email was from someone that wanted to know about Surfing in Darwin.

I just found your "surfspotmap" for Darwin, could you recommend it as a spot in april-may? I am struggeling to find any information about the surfing in darwin.It would be great if you could give me some good advice as I am looking for an hospital (close to some good waves) for my clinical elective!yeay. Thanks a lot!

Surfing in Darwin? Something tells me that I've somewhat mislead the readers with my post on Surfing Spots in Darwin, so I will revisit the topic and try and set the record straight.

Surfing in Darwin is for kamikaze's only. Not for the reasons that you would usually rate a break as kamikaze, shallow reef, big waves, thick lips, bad rips. It's not for what you're surfing in, but what you're surfing with.


I know, I know. Every break in the world is plagued by sharks. Some more so then others, like South Africa and southern Australia with the Great White Sharks, others with Bull Sharks and Darwin with their Tiger Sharks.

Box Jellyfish

These are no portugese man of wars or sea wasps. They sting, and they sting really bad. The box jellyfish, or Chironex fleckeri, are difficult to spot in crystal clear water and nearly impossible to spot in the dirty waters of Darwin. There sting releases a venom known to be the most painful of any species, and it attacks the central nervous system.

A sting on the legs or arms will be extremely painful and leave scarring, where a sting on the upper torso or face could be fatal.

Saltwater Crocodiles

That's right, as if two deadly animals in the ocean wasn't enough you've also got crocodiles to deal with when surfing in Darwin. These prehistoric beasts will make short work of your board and even shorter work of your limbs if it manages to clamp it's jaws around you.

So that's what you have to deal with when surfing in Darwin.

What's that you say? World class surfers deal with the dangers of big waves, shallow reefs and sharks just to ride that perfect wave, so what makes Darwin so much more dangerous?

Well the truth is that it's no more dangerous then any of those places, but there is one very obvious difference between surfing in Darwin and surfing anywhere else in the world.

There is no surf in Darwin.

Now that's a very simple reason, but I think it's worth mentioning twice.

There is no surf in Darwin.

That might be worth mentioning three times....... but I won't.

To be fair, we do get surf evey now and then, but it's only when huge low pressure systems sit about 100km NNW from Darwin, or cyclones such as Thelma or Tracey track near our shores.

The wind swell that is generated from these huge storms produce a washing machine type effect, which then makes its way to the shore and forms something that resembles a wave. This also brings storm surge and horrendous rips, but no worse then what you get anywhere else in the world.

Oh and you also need spring tides (0.5 - 5.9 meters at the very least) for any of the surf spots to work.

With all of these circumstances, the nasties in the water, the storms and the tides, it's very tough to get a surf in Darwin. You would probably be looking at 8-10 sessions a year, with only 1 of those being a nice glassy day, and even then you've still got the water based animals to deal with.

However as the sun sets at mindil beach, the water is warm, and it is that one day a year that glassy sets are rolling in, there are few places more beautiful to be sitting on the board with your mates around you.


Anonymous said...

FARKKKKKKK not happy TIGER to hear the truth looks like chasing barra for the next 3 years with regular 4 day weekends in KUTA..Thanks for the heads up..Gabe

Anonymous said...

Darwin 2012, just came home from a surf in yes, Darwin NT Secret spot,couple of feet beach break,down the line on a 10.2 cabrinha sup. Yes there are crocs, sharks, bara, tons of bait fish, rays and lots of other criters the worse being humans on the beach with there dogs.

Anonymous said...

Try that link - that might be the best way to get some surf in Darwin...!!