This is one of most common questions we are asked when people are looking to book their surf trip to King Island.
Most of our guests are often one-track minded on surfing Martha Lavinia, which is understandable considering the manysurf photos published of Martha and it being voted as one of the best beach breaks in Australia by many surf magazines.
It is easily the most photographed wave on the island with its perfect “A” frames breaking along the 5KM sandy stretch of Martha Lavinia nature reserve, crystal clear waters backlight from the Northern sun makes it extremely photogenic wave. It is enough to make any surf frother put Martha on their bucket list of waves to surf before they die.
And yes, Martha is one of the most perfect waves I’ve seen in my life. However, King Island is certainly not all about Martha! I sometimes feel like I’m talking to a brick wall when I say that, “there are many other amazing waves around the island”. Just not as well known, or other secret spots that we are obliged not to speak of. One of my most memorable surfs last year was at Phoques beach with just my good friend out in the water, a 100metre barrelling left hand bank that just kept getting bigger and hollower all day. Many of our guests have also been coming back saying they had the "best surf of their lives" at Red Hut beach. If you take the time explore King Island you will undoubtedly find some gold all to yourselves and be left asking the question, “Where is everybody?“ Chances are they are probably surfing another spot that you haven’t found yet.
OK so back to Martha. Martha needs a meduim to large size swell to break, enough to wrap around both sides of the island to form those perfect A frames. When trying to forecast Martha we generally look for swell to be 4ft and above on Swellnet’s surf forecast at Barwon Heads (Victoria) with a SW wind - this is usually a good indication Martha will have some great waves around the 2-3ft range. Although it can still break when Barwon Heads is 3ft on Swellnet’s surf report. Note, swells hit King Island about 6 hours before hitting Barwon Heads. Martha is usually best on a low tide when the sand is shallower, on high tide it can often be too full to break properly on smaller swells. Martha can have more mood swings than my boss, it can be pumping one minute and quite the next, it’s worth packing your lunch and fishing rods and spending the day there if you know there is good swell about as it can switch on pretty quickly.
Don’t be fooled though, Martha may look like the perfect barrel but it’s by no means easy as it looks;) If you are lucky enough to get into a Martha barrel and then fortunate enough make it out, it will leave you smiling for weeks.
I hope this helps some of you keeping an eye on the weather reports hoping to catch this great wave. King Island and Martha Lavinia beach is such a special place just to be.