Enchanting set of tropical right-breaking Australian point waves located inside Noosa Heads National Park, 150 miles north of Brisbane, on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. "Noosa" is a local Aboriginal word meaning "a place of shade."
The coast here faces almost due north. From west to east, Noosa's five breaks are as follows: Main Beach (or First Point) and Johnson's, a pair of sheltered small-wave spots; National Park, Noosa's premier surfing break, with a dramatic takeoff at a section called Boiling Pot, funneling into a long sand- bottom performance wave; the boulder-lined Ti Tree Bay, a more consistent break than National Park; and Granite Bay, the most exposed, least-groomed, and least-crowded of Noosa's waves. Occasionally rides can be connected from National Park all the way through to Main Beach—a distance of more than 500 yards.
Noosa is maddeningly inconsistent, as it faces away from the South Pacific storms that generate waves for Australia's southeast coast. The best surf generally hits Noosa during the December-to-May Coral Sea cyclone season, but waves here reach the six-foot mark no more than a dozen times per season. But between swells the points are often filled with beautifully formed mini-waves, perfect for longboarding. Average midday air temperatures at Noosa range from the low 80s (summer) to the low 60s (winter); water temperatures range from the low 80s to the high 60s. The leafy and tranquil Noosa setting has long been cherished as among the finest in the world. "Surfing at Ti Tree Bay," Australian surfboard shaper Bob McTavish said, "is like having a cup of tea with God."
Boardmaker Hayden Kenny of the nearby town of Maroochydore was the first to surf Noosa in the late 1940s, and he later introduced the break to visiting surf world luminaries such as McTavish, Bob Evans, Bob Cooper, and George Greenough. Noosa was one of the country's best-known, most-loved breaks by the late 60s, and a primary testing grounds for the new short surfboards. Later, Noosa also earned a reputation for crowds, with good days featuring hundreds of surfers spread across the points at the same time, on all manner of surf craft. Julian Wilson, 2011 ASP world tour Rookie of the Year, was a regular fixture in the Noosa lineup during his pre-WCT longboard phase.
The annual Noosa Festival of Surfing, a rollicking seven-day longboarding event, debuted in 1993; virtually no other contests have been held here. Despite Noosa's popularity, its waves have been featured in just a handful of surf films and videos, including The Young Wave Hunters (1964), Hot Generation (1967), and Super Slide (1999). In 1989, Surfing magazine named Noosa as one of the "25 Best Waves in the World."