Moderately hazardous: 4-6
Highly hazardous: 7-8
Extremely hazardous: 9-10
Whale Beach (NSW 301) was named following a whale beaching. It is a 600 m long, beach east-facing beach bordered by 40 m high Little and Careel heads and backed by slopes rising to 100 m, covered in houses. The Whale Beach SLSC was formed in 1937, at a time when campers and weekenders dominated beach users. The beach is accessed via winding Whale Beach Road, and a steep decent to the beachfront reserve, which includes a large car park, southern picnic area and rock pool on the southern rock platform. Two stormwater drains empty onto the centre of an otherwise attractive and popular beach. The beach receives waves averaging 1.6 m resulting in an energetic surf zone, dominated by a single bar, which is always cut by three to four rips, including permanent rips against either headland, while the others occupy the centre (Fig. 4.194). The bar is usually attached, however during and following high seas a trough can run the length of the beach and one megarip can drain the entire beach.
Stay between the flags and on the bar as 78 people a year are rescued here. Be particularly careful toward the rocks at each end where strong rips persist.
Best known for the Whale Beach Wedge, which breaks a rock reef off the northern rock platform and provides a good take off and short but solid left. The north end is also favoured for beach breaks during summer when some protection from north winds is offered by the high ridges, while in winter the south end offers the same protection from south winds.
The northern rocks are easily accessible and have wide rock platforms extending round toward Palm Beach. This is a very popular fishing location, along with two to three good gutters usually found along the beach.
- Formal parking area