We know we don’t need to remind you that Australia is one of the surfing capitals of the world. With some of the best wave breaks on the planet – and every once in a while, huge swell that attracts the attention of surfers and fans globally – it’s no wonder that so many residents start learning when they’re young.
Sydney, of course, is home to world-famous Bondi beach, which may get its fair share of local surfers, but it’s also the most likely place you’re going to find amateurs and backpackers trying their best at hanging ten. But without surf shops slinging all the gear you could ever need – and regaling plenty of knowledge in the process – you’re never going to make the most of your undiscovered talents.
Or, if you’re already a competent surfer, you may be on the hunt for a new shop to become loyal to, either because it stocks a particular brand you like or the owner is just a decent human being.
Sydney isn’t short of surf shops, so curating a list of the very best is no easy task, but we’re pretty confident we’ve managed it here. So here are the surf shops you need to be visiting to pick up your surfboards, wetsuits, leashes and every other piece of kit you could need.
Keel Surf & Supply
Located in Freshwater in Northern Sydney, Keel Surf & Supply never intended to become the surf shop it is today. Instead, the founding duo set up a pop-up store that continually proved to be successful and six and a half years later they’re the go-to store for a range of surfboards, accessories and clothing.
Keel stocks its own brand of clothing, which comfortably competes with the global brands in terms of both style and quality, while boards come from a solid range of suppliers including McTavish, Vouch and Panda to name a few.
The owners behind the store know surfing inside out, so are more than happy to answer any questions and give advice as to what boards are right for you, no matter your skill level.
7C Lawrence Street, Freshwater, 2096
0401 319 955
Situated north of Sydney in Mona Vale, Onboard Store – part of Onboard Industries, a manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer in one – is a one-stop destination for all your surfing needs. Founded by Mel Hayhoe and Drew Down in 1989, Onboard Industries can build you a custom-made board using proven hardware from the likes of Channel Islands, Tokoro and Simon Anderson.
If you’re after a softboard then you’re in luck, as Onboard stocks Catch Surf models, and with other brands such as Buell, Vans and its own Onboard range of apparel, this Mona Vale mecca has everything you need.
4/76 Darley Street, Mona Vale, 2103
02 9997 8266
Mona Vale really is a place to go when it comes to surfing hardware, as the Haydenshapes store proves. Founded by Hayden Cox in 1997 at the spritely young age of 15, Haydenshapes is a surfboard manufacturer dedicated to building “premium performance designs that are fun to surf.” The company’s boards are recognisable by their black and white aesthetic, owing to a carbon fibre rail – which also makes them look insanely cool in the process.
The store itself is a monochromatic shrine to the art of surfing, that is worth the trip just for the architectural-inspired design alone.
5-7 Tengah Crescent, Mona Vale, 2103
0475 395 859
Soul Surf has been around since 2005 when it started as a website, before eventually getting its very own bricks and mortar store in 2016. It was founded by and continues to be run by just the two staff, with experienced surfer Seb being the man to match each individual with the right board.
As the company’s website says, Seb would “rather lose a sale than see someone on the wrong board that they are not going to enjoy.” Not only does Soul Surf sell modern boards, but it has an eclectic range of vintage surfboards, 70’s and 80’s boards and longboards, along with its own brand of Soul Surf Designs.
Shop 3/1761 Pittwater Road, Mona Vale, 2103
02 9999 6365
Aloha Surf Manly
Aloha Surf in Manly is nearing its 30th birthday. Founded by a team of guys in 1991, which included Damien Hardman, the winner of the ASP World Tour the same year and Greg Clough, a master surfboard shaper, Aloha was well-managed to serve the residents of Manly and beyond with all their surfing needs. It’s no longer owned by the same guys, but current owner Timmy was the manager since 1992, so he’s pretty much part of the furniture.
Regardless of ownership, Aloha continues to provide a well-stocked range of surfboards and associated gear to surfers from beginner level all the way through to pro. The store has a very welcoming vibe, including to the likes of backpackers – it’s named by Lonely Planet as a must-visit destination store – and aims to put its quality of customer service above all else. It’s even a go-to store for the senior surfer on the DMARGE team.
44 Pittwater Road, Manly, 2095
02 9977 3777
Long Reef Surf
For all things wetsuit related, look no further than Long Reef Surf in Collaroy. The shop was founded in 1985 and continues to be run by owner Peter Ford. He has since amassed a team with a wealth of knowledge that is committed to helping customers of all ages and experience levels find the gear they need, which is especially true of wetsuits.
A vast range of bodyboards and softboards is also stocked, along with other surf-related hardware.
1012 Pittwater Road, Collaroy, 2097
02 9982 4829
Windsurfers, kiteboarders and SUP-riders rejoice, WSS Boards is here for you. The store came about after WindsurfnSnow and Balmoral Paddlesurf teamed up to create one megastore in Sydney to cover the vast majority of watersports.
That means the range on offer is nothing short of extensive, and with two sets of knowledgeable and experienced staff just waiting to look after you, you can be sure you’ll only leave with what you need and nothing you don’t. The team are happy to demo boards with you too, so you don’t make buying decisions based on ‘on-paper’ information alone.
6/410 Pittwater Road, North Manly, 2100
02 9971 0999
It’s all about the customer at this Mosman-based store. Serving the Sydney community since 1985, Surfection consistently aims to make sure it stocks the very latest surfboards and surf-related hardware, and won’t try and sell you something you don’t need. If you go into the store with a particular board in mind, or you at least tell the guys what you want the board to do, they’ll happily show you their warehouse which is bursting with various models.
Pick up some extra info while you’re there too, such as the best spots to surf nearby and you’ll soon become friends for life.
522 Military Road, Mosman, 2088
02 9969 1011
Moving down the coast a little we reach Bondi, which is home to Surf Culture. The shop has recently upped sticks from its Bondi Junction location to move closer to the surfing action in Bondi Beach, yet it continues to offer amazing customer service to help you walk away with exactly what you walk in for.
The range of surfboards, wetsuits, accessories and apparel is extensive too, so you’re not going to be left short of options. It’s therefore not just a store for seasoned pros, but newcomers looking to make their first waves in the sport.
186 Bondi Road, Bondi, 2026
0477 366 332
The Bodysurfing Shop
Yes, you read that right. Surfing isn’t confined to the use of a buoyant device upon which you dart through barrels and carve up a fat one, but it can be carried out using the natural buoyancy provided to by biology. Bodysurfing has actually been around for many years, with some believing it to pre-date board-surfing, originating in 2000 B.C. The earliest recordings of the sport, however, date back to 1899.
The Bodysurfing Shop in Bronte is dedicated to the very art, stocking everything you need to get out into the waves and start barreling some tubes of your own. All you really need is a handplane and a set of fins and you’re good to go, and The Bodysurfing Shop stocks some of the best brands around.
2/386 Bronte Road, Bronte, 2024
0425 373 330
Triple Bull Surf and Skate
Take yourself away from tourist-central Bondi and head further down the coast to Cronulla, where you will stumble upon Triple Bull. The store has been serving the surfing needs of local residents for 27 years and is staffed by people who surf some of the biggest waves around themselves. This gives them the knowledge to pass on to you, the customer, with regards to what boards and gear you need for your particular style and experience level.
Wannabe surfers are welcome too, with a huge range of surf-branded apparel, and with a constantly rotating stock of pre-owned boards, you can even find yourself a bargain.
23 Kingsway, Cronulla, 2230
02 9544 0354
For a truly custom board shaped just for you, you’ll do well to check out PCC Surfboards. Owned by Stuart Paterson, who has been shaping boards for some 35 years and has been living and working in and around the Cronulla area for the majority of his life, PCC will listen to exactly what you want and build you a board to fulfil those needs. PCC can either shape a board from a pre-made design or can build you one entirely from scratch.
From there you can define the colour, fin setup, literage, and every other minute detail that will make your board the envy of every other surfer you come across.
34 Kareena Road, Miranda, 2228
02 9525 4542
Sydney Surf Shops FAQ
Where can I surf in Sydney?
Sydney is home to numerous surfing beaches, all with their own unique wave breaks. Some of the best spots, however, are Bondi Beach, Mona Vale, Manly, Avalon and Cronulla.
What is the best surf brand?
Deciding on the best surfing brand is difficult, but some of the most popular are Billabong, Hurley, Ripcurl, Quiksilver, RVCA and Volcom.
What should I wear to go surfing?
If you're surfing in winter months, you will definitely want to wear a wetsuit when heading into the water. Wetsuits come in various thicknesses and lengths, so you'll need to make sure yours fits perfectly. In summer months, when the water is warmer, you can get away with wearing a pair of boardshorts and a rash vest if you need.