Tasmania’s North West Coast offers some of Australia’s best down-the-line wavesailing but generally remains under the radar. Only recently has it attracted a little more attention than usual as a potential Red Bull Storm Chase location. Boardseeker catches up with Alastair McLeod after a recent trip to the isle down under to find out more.
The rugged coastline of Australia’s southernmost island state is battered by huge swells and the cranking wind of the roaring forties all year round. This and the fact that it is situated on the world’s longest expanse of open water earns it the somewhat ominous nickname - ‘ The Edge of the World.’ However, during our summer the conditions mellow out and the huge frontal systems are replaced with lighter seabreezes and warmer temperatures, offering a bit more all round appeal for a typical windsurfing trip.
The quiet town of Marrawah is a special place, home to large cattle farms and a multitude of empty beaches holding a variety of beach and reef breaks. With bays and points positioned on nearly every angle possible you can nearly always find somewhere side shore for windsurfing or offshore for a surf!
It has been over two years since I have visited Tasmania and despite scoring a lot of awesome conditions in Maui, Mexico or even in West Oz, it still remains one of my favourite places to go.
Down in Tassie there is never a shortage of swell, and the beauty is that there are literally zero crowds. On a busy day it will be only you and a couple of friends scoring waves all day long.
Typically summertime offers wind between 15 and a solid 25 knots cross offshore and the swell rarely is below head high. If down the line riding is your thing it is somewhere you really need to check out.
For this trip we spent the first two weeks of February down there and out of 15 days we were only out of the water twice. Sure, it isn’t as consistently windy as WA but the empty waves and the close proximity to all the breaks (no 10 hour drives to chase wind!) makes up for that.
On the rare down time days there is a lot of exploring to be done. Going for a bush walk will guarantee you see some amazingly pristine beaches, weird and wonderful animals or maybe stumble across a ridiculous reef break with no one else in sight. With a 4 Wheel Drive the remote area further south of Marrawah is readily accessible and yet remains largely undiscovered. There are number of set ups that can hold serious size and haven’t been attempted yet.
Although the empty waves might be the main attraction, there is a lot of flat water potential within an hours drive as well. Back up on the North Coast there are a number of spots that absolutely go off for freestyle and speed sailing, with Stanley’s East Inlet being the most well known. A hardcore group of local speed sailors are often out there smashing 40 knots when the wind is up.
It’s also worth mentioning that if it’s howling onshore at the usual Marrawah spots, that means the wind is cross shore back on the North Coast. All bases covered!
If you want to escape from the daily grind, seriously relax and score some time on the water then Tassie is somewhere you have to consider. Don’t forget though that this isn’t Maui or WA. It’s quiet and remote so you need to be prepared and prepped with a sense of adventure.
If that sounds like your cup of tea then maybe it’s time to book some flights and head on down. I’ll probably see you there!
Photos by Locky McDermott, Nick Taylor, Tim Clarke and Alastair McLeod.