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6 great surf breaks in SA’s Encounter Marine Park

Surfs Up! You don’t have to venture far from Adelaide to catch some epic waves. Here’s where.

It’s that time of the year again when big southern ocean winter swells are propelled onto the coast of South Australia’s Encounter Marine Park.

Just 30 km from Adelaide, Encounter Marine Park has something for everyone – from spectacular snorkelling and diving spots, to top vantage points for whale-watching.

It features two surfing areas: the Mid Coast, which is from O’Sullivans Beach to Sellicks Beach and the South Coast, from Cape Jervis to Goolwa.

Want to check it out for yourself? Take on board these tips from local surfer and photographer Che Chorley about some of the best spots to catch a break:

1. Christies Beach

Location: Esplanade and Beach Road, Christies Beach
Distance from Adelaide: 30 km
Surf region: Mid Coast
Wave type: Beach break
Experience required: Suitable for all levels

Christies Beach is the most northern beach of Encounter Marine Park, and a great place to visit even when the surf is not pumping. It’s easily accessible by public transport and there are lots of local shops, cafes and restaurants nearby.

The surf is at its best when it’s stormy and rough. On calmer days it’s great for kids to catch a wave on a bodyboard.

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Christies Beach (image courtesy of Che Chorley)

2. Trig Point

Location: Esplanade and Fremantle Road, Port Noarlunga South
Distance from Adelaide: 35 km
Surf region: Mid Coast
Wave type: Soft, spongy reef
Experience required: All levels of experience

The coastal cliffs here provide a stunning backdrop to this break, which is known for producing long right-hand rides in the right conditions. This break rarely gets above shoulder height.

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Trig Point (image courtesy of Che Chorley)

3. Gull Rock

Location: Bowering Hill Road (Blanche Point car park), Maslin Beach
Distance from Adelaide: 44 km
Surf region: Mid Coast
Wave type: Reef
Experience required: All levels of experience

This break can be inconsistent, but it works well from very small to head-height waves and has other breaks nearby. The landscape is extremely photogenic and the break is easy to paddle out to.

Top tip: This is Che’s favourite break on the Mid Coast.

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Gull Rock (image courtesy of Che Chorley)

4. Knights

Location: Hutton Street, Port Elliot
Distance from Adelaide: 82 km
Surf region: South Coast
Wave type: Beach break
Experience required: Advanced

This beach break is for advanced surfers only and is best ridden on a bodyboard. If this isn’t you, don’t despair – it’s still a great place to go as you can sit back and watch from the beach or clifftop to see the pros go to work.

While you’re there, make use of the great walking and cycling trails in the area.

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Knights (image courtesy of Che Chorley)

5. Parsons Beach

Location: Parsons Beach Road, Waitpinga
Distance from Adelaide: 100 km
Surf region: South Coast
Wave type: Beach break and point break
Experience required: Advanced

This spot is located at the western end of Newland Head Conservation Park, and it’s really for experts only.

Strong currents and rips mean this beach isn’t safe for swimming, but even if you’re surfing make sure you respect the conditions. The two breaks at Parsons can hold considerable size (up to 8ft) in the right conditions.

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Parsons (image courtesy of Che Chorley)

6. Waitpinga Beach

Location: Dennis Road, Waitpinga
Distance from Adelaide: 99 km
Surf region: South Coast
Wave type: Beach break and point break
Experience required: Advanced

Located to the east of Parsons in Newland Head Conservation Park, Waitpinga Beach offers both a point break plus a classic beach break. The breaks produce great set-ups to southerly swells. Both breaks can hold considerable size (up to 8ft) and can deliver thick barrels.

Waitpinga Beach is also popular for fishing and camping is available at the nearby Waitpinga campground, but strong currents and rips make this beach unsafe for swimming.

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Waitpinga Beach (image courtesy of Che Chorley)

So what are you waiting for? Grab your board and wettie (wetsuit) and head down to the Encounter Marine Park coast for some solid action.

For more fun ways to enjoy South Australia’s national parks, check out these things you can do with your mates.

(Main image courtesy of Che Chorley)

This story was originally published in August 2018.

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