Surfers: a whole subculture of bleach blonde hair and groovy lingo who take to the water when the weather is right.
Surfing is an immensely popular sport around the world, and it is solely responsible for the divergent forms of dry land and snow surfing (which came to be known as skateboarding and snowboarding respectively).
The top places for surfing can be a highly subjective list based on who you talk to and what they are looking for out of a wave. The choices on this list were selected based on recommendation and popularity.
Regardless of where the best place might be, there are plenty of sweet spots worldwide. So put on your boardshorts, pack the woodie, and get ready for some ba roos waves and babelinis!
Whether you’re into longboarding, shortboarding, or stand up paddle surfing, here are the top ten spots to ride some sick waves.
- Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia. It is time to stop being a kook and go pro on some gnarly waves. Uluwatu in Bali is a great place to get started because it offers waves for surfers on every level. Beginners should stick to the consistent waves and easy tubes of “The Peak” and “Racetracks,” while experienced surfers will want to ride the more difficult tubes of the “Temple”. Just be careful in shallow water because the reefs can be nasty.
- Fuerteventura, Spain. Fuerteventura is located in the Atlantic Ocean and is part of the chain of islands known as the Canary Islands. The rest of Spain might be less attractive to surfers, but this island is a no brainer. Great breaks include “Rocky Point,” “Shooting Gallery,” “The Bubble,” “Generosa,” and the list goes on and on. The best thing about this location is that weather produces a consistently beautiful swell throughout the year.
- Taghazout, Morocco. Taghazout is the surfing mecca of Morocco and possibly the heart of surfing in the North Atlantic. It is a great place for squid’s (new surfers) because of the many surfing camps and learn-to-surf schools, such as the Ocean Surf House. This, coupled with the gorgeous crests and eternal sunshine, make Taghazout a popular destination for family vacations or sultry newlywed honeymoons. [Read: Top 11 Hot Spots for Your Erotic Honeymoon]
- Raglan, New Zealand. Having been featured in surf movies such as “Last Paradise” and “The Endless Summer,” Raglan is an area that is literally picture perfect. Surf breaks like “Vortex Bay,” “Indicators,” “Whale Bay,” and “Manu Bay” all provide stellar waves. Some of the breaks even link up to each other at certain times of the day, allowing for more extreme surfing in the hollows, walls, and occasional barrel.
- Huntington Beach, California, USA. California is a coast full of good surfing locations, but this beach is probably the best. Also known as “Surf City, U.S.A.” Huntington Beach is the birth place of surfing in the United States. Professionals go to compete in the annual Op Pro Surfing Tournament, while casual surfers go to just enjoy the curls. Interestingly, the best time to catch waves is in the winter instead of the summer, making this a hot spot for winter vacations.
- Gold Coast, Australia. The Gold Coast is a paradise for surfers. Popular locations like “Superbanks” and “Surfers Paradise” (told you!) are rampant with surfers all year round. In fact the crowds are so large that it may take some time to get to the actual waves. But the glorious tubes and sick solid walls will make it more than worth the wait. Unlike some of the other places on this list, where there is good surfing but not much else, the Gold Coast is also a prime place for partying and nightlife.
- Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa. Located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, J-Bay is the top place for surfing in all of Africa. There are plenty of good breaks, like “Magna Tubes,” “Albatross,” “Kitchen Windows,” and “Boneyards”. But the most famous break, and also the most ferocious, is known as “Supertubes”. This is a fantastic spot for barrel surfing, as waves can get as high as 1,000 feet and rides as long as 300 meters. It is no wonder that the annual Billabong Pro World Tour is hosted here. Just be aware of the frequent sharks.
- Tavarua Island, Fiji. Amongst its many glittering beaches and emerald waves Tavarua Island also features “Restaurants” and “Cloudbreak,” which are the world’s best left-hand surf spots. “Cloudbreak” in particular is a tough and tricky spot that has knocked over many a brave boarder. The advantage of Tavarua Island is that it is an all-inclusive island resort, meaning outside of the occasional surf competitions you will have the beach mostly to yourself. The disadvantage of the island is that it is an all-inclusive resort; a bank-breaker for the less privileged. To get around this you can spend the night for cheap on the mainland of Viti Levu and then take a water taxi out to the island during the day.
- Teahupoo, Tahiti. Teahupoo is the daddy of all waves and is in fact called “the heaviest wave in the world”. The name Teahupoo even loosely translates to “place of skulls”. Enticed? Well thrill seekers, just know that this challenging break is only for the very best surfers. The waves are heavy and the shoreline is shallow, meaning an encounter with the underlying reef is far from uncommon. However, if you do brave the danger Teahupoo offers some of the best barrels in the Pacific Ocean.
- North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii. If Teahupoo is the daddy of all waves, then the “Pipeline” may be the granddaddy. The tube riding is rad, but it is also one of the most deadly surfing spots in the world. Multiple pro surfers have lost their lives to its legendary waves. So remember, this break is only for the best of the best. However, there are many other spots along Oahu’s North Shore for beginner and intermediate surfers. It’s actually called the “Seven Mile Miracle” because the top surfers believe it to be the surf capital of the world!