Five of Sydney’s Top Independent Surf Shops

Rory Platt
14th Jan 2015

Sydney’s pretty damn lucky when it comes to choice of swell. I mean, how many other major cities have a coastline as gorgeous and surfable as ours? If you’re out to enjoy the water then you’re going to want a board or two for your quiver, and considering that it’s not always so warm in the water, probably a proper wetsuit too. It’s a sad state to be in when most chain surf stores these days tend to stock a surplus of penny skateboards, fake ray-bans and thongs rather than surfboards. Since nothing feels quite as good as supporting local business, here’s a solid selection of Sydney’s independent surf shops that are worth your attention, and have the goods and the knowledge to support it.

 Wicks Surf - Collaroy

These guys have been knocking about for more than thirty-eight years and are still going strong. You’ll find them up on the northern beaches in Collaroy, a fine surfing beach to check out if you’re travelling a distance. Stacks of boards, new and used, and if you want to curtail the cost of a new plank you can trade in the old one. Beyond wetsuits these guys deal in essential surf gear for your drier pursuits, including snow gear and skateboards. Wicks are a great place to start if you’re new to surfing - you’ll appreciate the sound advice built upon decades of experience.

1103 Pittwater Road, Collaroy 


Aloha Surf Manly - Manly

Aloha is the kind of surf shop you could happily wander about for hours. The staff are enormously friendly and will gladly talk you through the best choice of board for your level of surfing. Their stock levels are huge, and at times can carry up to a thousand boards in the shop. Aloha pride themselves on their extensive knowledge of performance boards, and since they’re the ones out there riding them - you know that you can count on their feedback. Manly’s a great beach for surfers of all levels, so when you go, be sure to drop in on these guys (not in the water though).

44 Pittwater Road,  Manly


 Surf Culture - Bondi Junction

The first surf shop on our list not located right by a beach is Surf Culture, found in Bondi Junction. Granted, you can just jump on the 380 bus with your new purchase - assuming it’s not a SUP or longboard that is. Surf Culture carry the largest selection of boards under one roof, from big softies and longboards, to shortboards and retro fishes. They’ve even gone as far as to sponsor a small selection of up and coming talent, who’ll you’ll probably find tearing up the surf at Bondi and Bronte. They also stock masses of accessories for performance boards, like fins and stomp pads.

40 Bronte Road, Bondi Junction


 Emerald - Cronulla

Some might contest this entry, but it fills a niche in the market and, frankly, that’s awesome. Emerald are the oldest bodyboard specialist store in Australia, and if you’re inclined to catch your waves this way you’ll appreciate a store with superior knowledge and none of that condescending attitude either. Emerald have a great selection of package deals, perfect for beginners or those looking to upgrade all their gear at once. Fins, boards, bags and wetsuits - all available from the leading brands can be picked up either in their store or sent to your house from their online store.

7/2-8 Surf Road, Cronulla


 Chaos Surfboards - Brookvale

If you’re serious about getting a board that’s crafted to perfection, you need to think about getting it custom-made. Jon McLeay, the head shaper of Chaos Surfboards in Brookvale, has been shaping boards by hand since 1993. In a market being slowly overrun by mass-produced boards, hand shaping as an artform has never been more relevant. Order from them online and if it’s under 6’7” they’ll even ship it for free. Chaos Surfboards can create a board that’s perfect for you in design, shape and size. It’s an experience I’d put on par with wearing a custom-fitted suit - you may never feel comfortable with anything else.

1/236 Harbord Road, Brookvale