Guest reported Layne Beachley drops in on her favourite surfing beach to show us a thing or two!
Layne Beachley is a champion. All her life she has thrived on competition in several sports, but it was the surf at Sydney's Manly Beach that won her heart. As a skinny 16-year-old, her determination took her straight to the pro level, bypassing the amateur structure.
Between 1993 and 1996, Layne battled the debilitating chronic fatigue syndrome, but she remained focused on her goal and took the mental, physical and emotional challenge on. As with most other obstacles in her life, Layne came out on top.
Layne's career victories are breathtaking: 26 on surfing's World Championship Tour and two in the World Qualifying Series. She has ridden the largest wave ever by a woman (9.1 metres) and holds the record for greatest world title margin of victory in 1998 (2320 points). She won six consecutive world surfing titles and is now striving for a seventh.
Getaway asked Layne to take us to her favourite Australian surfing spot, which happens to be Yamba on the north coat of NSW, an eight-hour drive north of Sydney.
Yamba is on the mouth of the Clarence River and enjoys a relaxed lifestyle while having easy access to major regional centres and cities. It is surrounded by Yuraygir National Park, the Clarence River, the Pacific Ocean and rural land. The Yaegl people are traditional custodians of the areas around Yamba, Iluka and Maclean.
There are 11 beautiful beaches to choose from. Whiting Beach is flat, has all facilities and is protected from southerlies, while Turners has surf at its northern and southern ends, plus little rockpools, facilities, rock and breakwall fishing and is also protected from southerlies.
Main Beach is home to Yamba Surf Life Saving Club. It has a 33-metre saltwater rock pool, café, facilities, good snorkelling in the northern corner and is largely protected from both southerly and northerly winds.
Convent Beach has small waves, little rockpools, snorkelling in its southern corner and is protected from southerlies. Pippi Beach is open to the ocean and has four-wheel-drive access and fishing off its rock shelf. Flat Rock is open to the ocean, has four-wheel-drive access and fishing from rock ledge. At Green Point you can fish from the rocks and the beach is protected from southerlies.
Spookies Beach is great for kids' surfing, with snorkelling at its southern end and four-wheel-drive access.
When the surf is running, Angourie is a surfer's heaven. You can fish off the southern rock ledge and enjoy its freshwater rockpool. It has facilities. Back Beach Angourie has surf in its northern corner and there are toilets. Shelley Beach is really for the adventurer. It is reached by a designated track which takes a good two hours and once there provides good fishing, but there are no facilities.
Main Beach, Turners and Pippis are all patrolled.
The whole area in general is great for fishing and prawning and has a host of beaches offering excellent surfing and other waterways for diving. The rockpool at Yamba Beach is the perfect place for families. Views from Yamba Lighthouse are wonderful.
On her visit to Yamba with Getaway, Layne gave a group of excited young learners some surfing clues at Angourie, 10 minutes from Yamba.
The Yamba-Angourie Surf School, the only licensed and insured surf school in the area, takes pupils of any age, but Layne says between eight and 12 years is the perfect time to learn. Jeremy Walters,the owner/operator, grew up in Angourie.
The Blue Pool is in Angourie. This very deep pool is a popular swimming hole reached by a walking track. The rock shelf separating the blue and green freshwater pools from the ocean is a fun place to explore and stop for a picnic.
If you are heading that way, a great place to stay is the Blue Dolphin Holiday Resort. It is on six hectares next to the Clarence River and offers a good variety of accommodation and facilities at affordable prices.
They offer riverfront deluxe villas and cabins, powered and ensuite caravan and tent sites, four pools, wading pool, slides, a large camp kitchen, barbecue areas, jetty, boat launch, the latest video games, giant television, tennis court and Kidz Kave for younger visitors.
Jetbuzz is a purpose-built aluminium jet boat made in Tasmania. It is six-and-a-half metres long and carries up to 14 people. A 45 minute tour in the Jetbuzz is great fun. Passengers are fitted with lifejackets and given a safety briefing. They leave the marina at just four knots and the driver gives a rundown on the boat. Jetbuzz is boarded at Yamba Marina, which is owned by another champion sportswoman, Kay Cottee, the first woman to sail single-handed, non-stop around the world in her yacht First Lady.