Off the back of news it’s taken out the prestigious title of ‘Australia’s best beach’ over Surfer’s Paradise and Whitehaven in the annual TripAdvisor ‘2018 Travellers’ Choice’ awards, Manly Beach will be back in the global spotlight this weekend.

After kicking off on 24 February, Vissla Sydney Surfing Pro is wrapping up this weekend in Manly, and as Sydney’s biggest international surfing event, the event’s finale seems justified in sharing a date – and a stage – with our beloved Mardi Gras.

This is the event’s comeback to our shores, after being moved a few years ago due to lack of sponsorship. Pretty good timing, seeing as surfing is set to become an Olympic sport in 2020. Call this the warm up event…

Aerial shot of Manly, ‘Australia’s best beach’, as voted in TripAdvisor’s ‘2018 Travellers’ Choice’ awards.

With Manly abuzz as the Surf Pro continues, it seemed appropriate to highlight the festivities locals and visitors can enjoy throughout the week, while Australian champion – and Manly lover – Joel Parkinson shares his hidden gems for a perfect day at Australia’s best beach.

Brekkie by the beach is a must

“Brekkie is always by the beach as a surf check is high on my agenda in the AM,” Manly ambassador Parkinson reveals. “Then for lunch we generally opt for healthier options at Bare Naked Bowls and Dolce Terra and then an arvo beer and dinner on the wharf at Hugos to catch the sunset,” he says.


Joel Parkinson does Manly during the Sydney Surf Pro 2018, Manly Beach. Photo by Salty Dingo at The Pantry


Interact with the world’s best surfboard shapers live

From Tuesday 27 February until Sunday 4 March, more than 21 of the world’s leading surfboard shapers will be demonstrating to eagle-eyed fans how they perfectly turn a blank of foam into a surfboard that battles monster waves and helps surfers clock the best scores in the world. From 10am–6pm daily.

Inflatable shark and mechanical boarding at the Steyne

For the kids and the young at heart, North Steyne will host a kids’ fun zone including an inflatable shark and a mechanical surfboard – cousin to the mechanical bull – on which you can perfect your forward lean. Running from now until the end of the event on 4 March.

There’s an actual Kombi rally

Saturday 3 March sees a selection of beautiful retro kombis lined up and poised to take Instagram by storm. It’ll also be the centrepiece for a flurry of activity, including a skate competition, pop-up bars and art installations.


Close-up of the retro Kombi vans that are part of the Kombi rally.


Shop till you drop at Manly market place

On Sunday 4 May village markets will be held at South Steyne beachfront from 9am–4pm, giving passers-by from the Sydney Surf Pro the opportunity to stock up on both old and new fashion, swimwear and surfing art and memorabilia.

Finish the day with a beer and perfect sunset

“Manly sunsets are pretty cool over the harbour side,” Parkinson spills. “The kids can run around on the beach and watch the penguins come in at night. Wharf Bar, Hugos or The Bavarian are always good [places to head for] a sundowner.”