Western Australians take to the surf from a young age—and with world-famous surfing beaches right on the city's doorstep, it's no wonder. The most popular year-round beaches for body and board surfing are Scarborough and Trigg, where waves can reach 6–9 feet. There are also more than a dozen beaches heading north from Leighton (near Fremantle), including the Cables Artificial Reef (near Leighton) and Watermans (in the northern suburbs of Perth). Cottesloe Beach is favored by novice surfers and children; south of the groyne (a man-made breakwater or jetty) is popular with stand-up paddleboard riders.
If you venture outside the city, Rottnest Island's west end has powerful surf, and if you head south on the mainland coast, you'll find more than 20 surf locations from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin. The Main Break at Margaret River is the best known, where waves often roll in at more than 12 feet, setting the scene for the annual Margaret River Pro, a World Championship Tour event on the official Association of Surfing Professionals circuit, held in April at Surfers Point.
Wet suits are de rigueur for the colder months (May–September), when the surf is usually at its best.
Scarborough Beach Surf School. These surfer dudes have been pushing beginners out into the white water for more than 20 years. They specialize in adult lessons on Scarborough beach but also provide separate kiddy lessons, or family groups too (11 years and up). If you want to get serious, there are several levels you can complete, and when you do, you'll be presented with a Surfing Australia Certificate. Single lessons are A$60 or a five-lesson course costs A$225. Courses run daily in summer (weekends in winter) 7:15–9:30 and 9:45–noon. Courses sell out one week in advance so book ahead. The Esplanade, Scarborough, Western Australia, 6019. 08/9447–5637; 08/9448–9937; www.surfschool.com.