Surfers from all over the world flock to Bondi Beach for its great surf, clear water and beautiful weather. But what goes into making a beach a world famous surf destination? Does it take perfect natural conditions? Or does it just have to be a popular beach?
Looking at Bondi’s history it seems almost destined to become a surf location. The Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club is widely recognised as the oldest surf lifesaving club in the world and they are as diligent today as they were when they started in the business of saving lives. This coupled with the large variety in currents, from a modest 4 at one end to a potentially deadly 7 at the other, seemed to guarantee a surfing scene at the beach.
This was initially established by the presence of early surf legends like Duke Kahanamoku in Sydney as early as 1915. Although sometimes Australia can be an insular society, once the locals had gotten a look at what some people regard as the ultimate beach recreational activity (or more simply: a way of life) Sydney was suddenly awash with surfers and Bondi was no exception. The popularity of the sport within Sydney and Bondi resulted in Australia being picked by the International Surfing Federation for the first official World Surfing Championship in 1964.
By 1976, Australia had a permanent place in the global pro surf circuit with the formation of Australian Surf Professionals. Since then we have contributed such surfing greats as Peter Drouyn, Nat Young and Layne Beachley.
That’s not to say that the surfing scene in Bondi is all fun and games. The infamous “Backpacker’s Express” rip current at the southern end of the beach is a well-known problem area on the beach for inexperienced or learner surfers. Located uncomfortable close to the bus stops and at the opposite end of the beach for milder swimming, it regularly sucks rookie surfers out to sea and is keenly observed by any Bondi Surf Lifesaver on duty.
But for all its dangers, Bondi remains an outstandingly beautiful beach and a great surfing spot and it’s this which makes it so internationally famous for surfers and tourists alike.
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