words by: tara wesson // gillian currie // photography by: matt grainger


With one Kelly Slater set to grace Manly Beach for the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro this March, there’s no doubt groms, beginners, pros and locals are going to want to shape up. Manly Surf School and the High Performance Surf Centre (HPSC) can help you fine tune your skills, whatever level you’re at. 


Both Manly Surf School and HPSC are the brainchild of Matthew Grainger, who grew up surfing the peninsula with his brothers. First teaching surf lessons as a teenager, he went on to run the surf school for Warringah Council before taking over the business as his own. Manly Surf School runs lessons at Manly, Long Reef, Collaroy and Palm Beach.

But it’s at the HPSC that promising groms and pro surfers alike can finesse their surfing skills and fitness, to drive performance to a new level.

The HPSC is, for some, an extension of the school with some kids progressing from beginner to elite level.  

“We have some of the best athletes in NSW and Australia and also some up and coming boys and girls,” explains Matt.

“Nathan Hedge started with us when he was 11-years-old. He’s been on the world tour for last 10 years in the top 10. Cooper Chapman is another. I was training Cooper when he was 15 and now at 24 years old, he just came in second in the WSL WQS event at Boomerang Beach this February.

We have got a good stable of pro surfers training at the centre but we cover all levels. You can start with us as a beginner surfer and go all the way through.”

Other regulars at the centre include Harley Ross Webster, from Curl Curl plus other top teenage talents like Sandon Whittaker and Macy Callaghan, Jordi Lawler and Dylan Moffat from North Narrabeen.

HPSC is specifically kitted out with apparatus to build and complement surfing strengths and skills. With a skating half pipe, as well as strength and conditioning equipment for functional surfing, it promises to be a fun and challenging workout.

Surf balance boards imported from the US can help simulate wave riding, building balance and strengthening core muscles. 

“We were helping to train a lot of kids and adults, but they were also going away and getting trained the wrong way for the sport so that’s why we came up with creating this gym,” says Matt.

He surfs every day and his kids Tas, aged 18, and Bella, 15, are also keen surfers while wife Kristy loves to surf on perfect right point breaks. He says the surf school and centre only closes on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. 

The HPSC runs programs, all-day holiday clinics with a mix of gym and surfing and is open to adults for gym training in the evening. It is also ideal for kids and adults who just want to improve their skills and get greater enjoyment from their surfing but have no interest in competing. •


Manly Surf School + High Performance Surf Centre  |  (02) 9932 7000