Port Phillip Bay
Is there surf in Port Phillip Bay? Most will say no! But many East Coast surfers had their early surfing experiences in the wind chop and swells created by the strong north-westerly winds that sometimes sweep across the Bay and it is definitely part of the East Coast surfing experience. Brighton Baths, Patterson River mouth, Frankston Pier, Canadian Bay and especially the legendary Davey's Bay do get waves when the wind's blowing strongly enough.
Bay surfing is always onshore and almost always freezing so its rarely documented. But, if you're in Year 11 and nobody's going to drive you to Point Leo, there's always the chance of a Bay surf after school. And sometimes it [almost] gets good! In 2001 the Peninsula Surf Centre tried to organise a professional contest in the Bay but despite a long waiting period, the wind never got strong enough. The shot below appeared in a 1970s 'Breakaway' (Sept 1974) and the caption read 'Just to show the non-believers, Bruce Simons of Edithvale took this shot of Port Phillip Bay ice. The rider, who made it out, is John Mason. the photo was taken off Brighton in the days when the Brighton Baths created some of the best surf conditions in Port Phillip Bay.
Shots of the Bay are rare since it's usually too cold or windy to hold the camera still. But intrepid photographer Karen Duffy is the undisputed master of Bay photography. She braved the elements one memorable 1997 session for the shots below and survived a falling tree to take the second lot on June 27 2002.
Big Bay (Davey's Bay) - 16th August 1997
Classic Bay - Breaking and sunny! [Photo: Karen Duffy]
Gavin Duffy on a roller that broke WAY outside Davey's Bay Pier - [Photo: Karen Duffy]
Gavin Duffy about as close to the pier as you want to get; some hard-core locals have surfed THROUGH the pier Huntington Beach style but it's not recommended for newcomers to this spot - Davey's Bay - [Photo: Karen Duffy]
Warrick Wynne gives the thumbs up as he's abut to take the 'leap of faith' from the pier into the Bay. While some Bay riders use specialist boards for this fickle spot, the essential item is wetsuit rubber, and plentyh of it. [Photo: Karen Duffy]
View from the pier as Warrick Wynne sneaks a long left hander down the line. Photo: Karen Duffy
Damage at Green Steps - 27th May 2002
Looming lines of swell at Green Steps, secret Port Phillip Bay location. Specialist bay photog. Karen Duffy risked life and limb to get these shots of giant bay. Note: outside reef breaks for the first time. [Photo: Duffy]
Looking to the Yacht Club with waves breaking way beyond the pier. Though it looks bright and sunny this was a freezing day and no-one was surfing. [Photo: Karen Duffy]
When the bay's up even getting there can be dangerous. This tree took out a large section of the fence while Karen was filming the Bay [Photo: Karen Duffy]
Above: Bay Dreaming: You know how you used to sit around and imagine what it would be like if the bay got waves? Well, imagine no more. This 'Bay Dreaming' shot from Gavin Duffy, shows the lines of swell at Davey's Bay Point!
The Other Side of the Bay
Technically inside the bay, you might get a clue as to the location of this little known right hander by the URL of this site above: [from Ripview]
The shots below come from the Peninsula Surf Centre and show a nice little late arvo session at Kerferd Road, South Melbourne. Though it would be difficult to claim South Melbourne as part of the Hoax Coast, these shots are typical of Bay surf from Mornington to Frankston.
Storm Surf at Canadian Bay (April 2004)
Luke Chalmers took these shots of a stormy looking afternoon at Canadian Bay early in 2004.
Above: Discovering this little peak surrounded by deep water at Canadian Bay you might be forgiven for thinking that this place would look really good offshore. [Photo: Luke Chalmers]
Above: Grainy, grey and a howling wind. The kind of conditions Bay surfers hang out for. A crowd at Canadian Bay [Photo: Luke Chalmers]
Above: Occasionally the Bay will look less like Perfect Storm and actually wall up. This section looks like it might just double up. [Photo: Luke Chalmers]