In company with Bondi, Manly Beach is Sydney’s most iconic strip of sand, named by the State’s first governor Arthur Phillip in 1788 for the impression made on him by “the confidence and manly behaviour” of the area’s Aborigines.
The south end of the beach is ideal for learners with its reliable sandbanks and easy spilling waves. Queenscliff Bommie, 1.5 kilometres away at the north end of the beach, can handle waves up to five metres on its day, but you need a large board and sometimes even a jet ski to tackle it.
North Steyne Surf Club marks the middle of the beach and from here up to Queenscliff there are punchy barrels that are great for advanced surfers. Manly has been the breeding ground for a litany of champion surfers, notably Layne Beachley, Pam Burridge, Barton Lynch and Midget Farrelly.