Surfing is addictive — once you start you can’t stop. Surfing is the perfect antidote to the hassles of everyday life, which is why so many people travel the world chasing that perfect wave. Choosing the best surfing destination isn’t just about the waves (although they’re pretty important) to add to the experience you probably want to bag yourself some gorgeous surroundings too.
Whether you’re looking for big waves, barrels or beginner breaks, here are the best surf destinations that every surfer needs to experience at least once.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – for great beach parties and great waves
Rio de Janeiro is home to some of the best beaches in the world and up and down the coast Rio boasts 54 surfing spots – here there’s a wave to suit everyone from beginner to pro. Experienced surfers should try Baixio, tropical or Reserva; those with a death wish or surfer’s ego can attempt Shock or Laje Cartao Postal and the beginners should try Canal de Camboinhas. Staying in Rio is relatively inexpensive so it’s easy to take up the surfer lifestyle no matter where you come from. The best surfing season in Rio is July/August when the water is a steady 20 degrees celsius and the swells are high.
Popoyo, Nicaragua – Over 300 days of offshore winds
Located on the west coast of Nicaragua, Popoyo is a dreamscape for surfers. A rocky, dirt road deposits you into the heart of a small, remote village where the lifestyle is all about the surf. While many breaks revolve around swells, storms, and tides, Popoyo is consistent year round. The spot receives over 300 days of offshore winds annually and, as a result, is often regarded as one of the best surf spots in the country. From beginner to expert, Popoyo has breaks for every level of surfer
The main break in Popoyo is an A-frame that breaks over a rock shelf, offering up good options for regular and goofy footers — with the occasional tube. The Outer Reef Popoyo is a five-minute paddle from the main break and is a hollow left-slab suitable for expert surfers. While many of the breaks in Popoyo can be intimidating, Beginner Bay, on the south end of the beach, offers rolling waves well-suited for beginners and intermediate surfers.
Maldives – one of the most beautiful places to surf in the world
Why surf in Maldives? For the translucent water, flat sandy beaches and 26 atolls spanning 1190 islands – most of which are uninhabited. Thulusdhoo Island, Five Islands, Pasta Point, Tombstones and Yin Yang are the Maldives best surf destinations suitable for surfers of all levels of experience.
Extreme surfers should try Meeru reef and ‘Ninjas’ is good for beginner surfers. July/August sees the biggest swells, with slightly milder ones in March/April and November. The weather is tropical, humid and dry from November to March and from May to November there’s more of a chance of rain, strong winds and stormy weather.
Perth, Western Australia – an underrated place to catch waves
Australia’s famous surfing spot and the whole of Western Australia itself is a good place to escape the crowds. Perth can be divided into Perth North, South and central with the Perth city center having the most surfing spots. On the city beaches, Trigg Point takes the prize hands down although there can be a lot of surfers in the water at the same time.
Waves are great all year round in Perth, and Scarborough also has good banks. In the cold months of July/August you’ll need a wetsuit as the swells reach their maximum, January/February are the hottest months but there are smaller swells. If you go a little south you’ll reach Avalon Point, Bunbury, Surfer’s Point and Margaret River – one of the better spots.
Nosara, Costa Rica – Surf year-round
Nosara is a village located on the North Pacific Coast of the Nicoya Peninsula in Guanacaste and is famous for yoga and year-round surf. Playa Guiones is a 7km stretch of beach with several different beach breaks spread along the coastline. Waves break in both directions and work on all tides, making it a fun spot any time of day. The main break offers waves suitable for beginners and experienced surfers, and the area has many surf schools if you’re looking to learn the sport or improve upon your skills. Playa Garza is a reef break with a mellow inside section and a stepper section on the outside. Regardless of the break you choose, Nosara delivers. Warm water, good waves, and friendly people…what more could you ask for?
Fiji – an amazing place to surf
Fiji is a slice of paradise, with friendly locals, year-long good temperatures, tubular reefs and strong swells. Many of the resorts have private beaches where you’ll need to be a guest to surf but you can find your own stretch of beach. Try Yanuca Island for informal surfing and Castaway Island or Tavarua Island for dream waves. Other spots of note are Beachouse; Macas’ bend; Namotu Lefts and vesi Passage, Kadavu. If you’re a kamikaze surfer then head for Mini Cloudbreak or the Lighthouse. The waves are substantial all year round but they reach their peak in November. December is also a good time to visit as the water temperature hits 28 ̊C.
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