Currumbin Alley is one of the five magic sand-bottom point breaks the Gold Coast is famous for.
The name Currumbin has a few roots. According to the Australia Post Office History, the word Currumbin means high up or place where high trees grow. Other sources say Currumbin is derived from kurrohmin, meaning kangaroo, taken from the book by JG Steele Aboriginal Pathways in Southeast Queensland and the Richmond River.
Another theory holds that Currumbin is of Indigenous origin and means quicksand. In the late 19th century, coaches took mail and passengers from Southport over the Nerang River via Meyers Ferry. According to an historic letter written by Isobel Hannah to Mr Hartley of Geelong, in the old days of travel along the coast, horses and carts had to ford across the creeks at Currumbin and Tallebudgera which coul only be negotiated at low tide. But horsemen had to be careful owing to the quicksand which was prevalent in Currumbin Creek. They travelled along the beach to finally reach Coolangatta – Tweed Heads.
This all happened well before surfers were gliding across the long walls at Currumbin. At one stage the mouth of Currumbin Creek was as far north as Palm Beach Avenue.
But Currumbin Alley? Erosion was always a problem at Currumbin, and before the construction of the seawall that runs out to Currumbin Rock, the rock was actually like an island with deep water running between the rock and the beach. I
t was known for sharks and was dubbed Shark Alley. Many a surfer used to paddle out to the rock across Shark Alley, climb up and jump out again.
From Shark Alley it was shortened to The Alley or Currumbin Alley as it is known today.
The seawall to the rock was constructed in 1973, and the training wall for the creek completed in 1981. So even though Shark Alleyis gone the name still kind of remains.
Currumbin has always been a popular break, particularly with longboards, learners, SUPs, and other water craft.
The long winding walls of The Alley can produce world class waves with long sand-bottom tubes that wind endlessly towards Lacey’s Lane. Being such a popular place with surfers, boaties and other recreational users, The Alley has seen quite a bit of controversy. Local surfer Richard King was killed when a boat struck him in 2011, with another surfer being stuck by a boat and breaking an arm in 2013.
Calls for a dredged boating channel have caused uproar amongst surfers, and as any local could tell you a dredged channel will only last until the first groundswell moves the sand and once again closes the channel. Mother Nature is funny like that. She nearly always wins.
The local boardriders club is The Alley Boardriders, original known as Salt City Boardriders. Forming in 1981 after a split with Palm Beach Boardriders, Keith Halford and Brad Smith formed the club at a meeting at Palm Beach Hockey Club.
Surfers of note from The Alley Boardriders include former WCT surfer Luke Munro, and World Amateur Champions Grant Frost and Mark Richardson. The Alley Boardriders have a swathe of up and coming juniors and are always one of the most competitive clubs in Queensland with a strong junior development program, and if you would like to find out more about the club, check out .
Yes Currumbin Alley is one of the busiest breaks on the coast with all sorts of aquatic craft gracing its waters. But that unique rock, sitting out there since ancient times watching the sunrises and sunsets, where you can look north or south along the coast, is something really to behold.
And if you happen to get one of those long winding walls at The Alley, it will be a wave you will remember.
My Dad still tells a story from the early 70s, shooting through a sunlit tube in the late afternoon at Currumbin, and he still believes it is one of the best waves on the coast. He’s not wrong, it is under-rated; and The Alley boys and girls like it just that way.
– – – – – –
Read more about The Alley Boardriders at alleyboardriders.com.
Image courtesy Sean Scott Photgraphy, 21C James Street, Burleigh Heads | seanscottphotography.com.au