Australian Windsurfing

South Australian Beaches
Adelaide Metropolitan Area

North Haven | Largs Bay | Semaphore | Westlakes | Henley Beach | North Glenelg | Somerton | Seacliff | Kingston Park | Winter Waves | Map

Adelaide presents the boardsailor with conditions as extreme as anywhere in the world, but Summer brings strong seabreezes, ideal for the speed/slalom sailor.

Ideal weather for local Adelaide seabreezes are daily temperatures of 22-27C with morning breezes from South-West to South-East. Any breezes from East-North-East to West-North-West work against the afternoon seabreeze. An incoming tide in the afternoon also promotes stronger seabreezes, as cold water from southern currents flush into the shallow St. Vincent Gulf creating greater temperature differences between land and sea.

NORTH HAVEN (enter via Australia II Drive)
Best Conditions:
North-Westerlies provide excellent flat water slalom/speed conditions and Ocean swell outside (Inside on the odd freak day!). Good jumps are available beyond the breakwater. Westerlies and South-South-Westerlies can give good backhand wave sailing conditions with quite long walls, wave size approximately double that of Semaphore. Sail from in front of the North Haven Surf Lifesaving Club. Southerly sea breezes through to South-East winds also provide good jumping conditions, sail from the next eastern car park.
Worst Points:
Occasional heavy seaweed and poor rig up areas.

Intermediate boardheads can take advantage of the beaches between SEMAPHORE and LARGS BAY in a steady seabreeze. The curved shape of these beaches allow for safe landings after exhausting runs (or equipment breakages). You are almost guaranteed of being blown back onto the beach, but be prepared for a walk back up-wind. The shallow bottom allows easy water-starting and there are no problems with beach room or parking.

Good slalom in North-Easterly to Northerly (clean airflow down the beach provides un-interrupted wind). OK in some South-Westerlies

SEMAPHORE tends to host the windiest seabreezes along the entire coastline. The water stays relatively smooth compared to other beaches as Southerly swells lose intensity by the time they reach Northern beaches. Ideal location in Summer.

SEMAPHORE (north side of jetty)
Good onshore wave conditions in South-West to West winds. Can also be good slalom in northerlies. Council have provided a tap for washing down, bring your own hose and connections.
Worst Points:
Strong northerly current. Sail powered up!

SEMAPHORE (south side of jetty)
The best beach for summer sea breezes along with North Haven. Generally 5 knots or more stronger wind than other metro beaches during the Summer. Being closer to the dry North seems to enhance these convectional breezes. Car park between Hart Street and Jervois Street has tap for wash down and good access to beach. Also OK on Winter Southerlies.

(at the end of Bower Road, Semaphore)
Good for any Southerlies that are threatening to go South-East. Also OK in a North-Westerly.

(behind the shops on Military Road West Lakes Shore)
Good alternative South-Easterly spot. Good rig up area with an outside shower. Possible on a North-Westerly.

WEST LAKES (the lake)
First timers can experience the flat calm waters of West Lakes. The lake is a popular location with nice grassed rigging areas and a number of accessible car-parks. Excellent for those learning. Can be a good blast for slalom sailors in a howling Southerly.

(sailed in front of the local Henley Pub) is known to locals as "Front Yards". This beach has been regularly sailed for years by slalom and wave sailors, but tends to be more onshore compared to other locations. It can also be sailed in South-East land breezes (which occur late in the day)

TIPS: Beware of the vicious shore break on windy days, and large freak swell patterns which frequent this location.

NORTH GLENELG (sailed just north of the Patawalonga breakwater) is another popular beach for windsurfing. Swell size tends to be larger than on the northern beaches, but the strength of the seabreeze is slightly less. In Summer, local wavesailors get to sail conditions not unlike "Hell's Gate" in Geraldton (WA), with unreal port tack jumping and backhand wave riding. Slalom sailors get their thrills from the icy smooth water inside the sand spit, ideal for the committed lay-down gybe.

TIPS: Beware of shallow sandbars and water flushing from the nearby locks.
RATING: ****

The next beach South is SOMERTON, where a regular group of sailors are keen to sail in any conditions. Most sail between the Somerton Yacht Club and Whyte Street. The Club also caters for the course-racing fraternity who sail each weekend. The beach is a popular haunt for first-time short boarders, but still has talented speed and wavesailors ready to impress spectators.

TIPS: Only sail on low to medium tides as access on windy days with high tides tends to be tricky (jumping from large rock formations). Don't ask how people get in on these days. Insane!

The history of short-boarding can be traced back to the next beach south, SEACLIFF. Talented wave sailors such as Shane O'Callaghan and Pete Jefferies regularly sailed small surfboards on windy days, as hand-shaped custom sailboards had not been a reality.

Located between Kingston Park and the Brighton and Seacliff Yacht Club and in the lee of Marino Point, Seacliff is a reef/sand combination providing excellent wave/slalom conditions. Mainly a Winter break (perfect in gale force Sou'westers), the water conditions remain very smooth in Summer seabreezes, although the seabreezes are lighter compared to the northern beaches. Good in Summer for the first-time long boarder or slalom board gybes, as the water remains "Chest Deep" for 200m to seaward.

TIPS: Beware of the rocky shoreline in front of the local caravan park as it's quite hard to walk on and is fin munching. Also, the offshore land breezes fill in here quicker than everywhere else, and combines with early evening gully winds. Beginners beware!!!
RATING: ***** (wavesailing)
RATING: *** (slalom sailors)

Now that you know more about Adelaide conditions, remember these simple rules for Summer sailing;
1) Always tell someone where you are going sailing and when you will be home
2) Rig your gear right - the first time. Avoid rig failure - you are what you rig!!!
3) Drink lots of water before sailing to avoid dehydration. 15+ sunscreen is also a must.
4) Avoid collisions at all costs.

Happy Summer Sailing!



Kingston Park ( Seacliff )
- when strong winds pick up large swells in the gulf, there is huge "air-time" and good back hand wave sailing at this local spot.
- good grassy rigging area close to the beach.
- stony bottom hard on feet.
- very popular - always lots of sailors to watch and watch out for !

In South Oz. the best wave sailing is in the winter, so get Yourself a decent "steamer" and get into It. And remember, it's only cold when your not sailing!!!

see also - Winter Waves on the Mid Coast

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