Travel the World
10 Totally Awesome Surf Spots
Who would have thought surfing the web would open you up to the best places to do, well, just that? Whether you’re a surfing pro or you’ve never set foot on a board before, you’ll want to make waves at these 10 unbeatable beaches.
Les Culs Nus Beach – Hossegor, France
For potential celebrity sightings and impeccable waves, make sure to hit up surf-centric Southern France during its peak season of March/April and September/October. Its name is French for “naked butts”, harkening back to its former post as a nude beach – but you won’t see any during the winter months, when its icy temps call for a full-body suit. Once you’ve gotten your fill of these chest-high waves, which have peaked as high as 20 feet, treat yourself to fine French food and wine tastings. From accommodations to restaurants to surf schools, this Atlantic coast-exposed hotspot has rightfully earned its popularity.
Pipeline – Oahu, Hawaii
Craving an adrenaline rush? Pipeline, located at the North Shore of the Hawaiian island of Oahu, is calling your name. The waves, hollow and thick, break over a shallow reef, allowing them to peak as high as 12 feet. While surfers don’t necessarily compete for wave space (it’s recommended for experts and dubbed the pinnacle of difficulty), the shore is lined with tourists and locals holding their breath with mouths ajar as surfers test the waters – and their limits.
Tofino – Vancouver, British Columbia
Surfing? Canada? Yes, it’s a thing. In typical Canadian fashion, wetsuits and booties are a necessity at Vancouver Island year-round, with temperatures dipping to as low as 10 degrees Celcius. But now for the fun part: With 35 km of surf-able coast, this surfing hub hosts the only all-female surfing competition in Canada. Where to go if you’re just getting started? Chesterman Beach is a popular spot among newbies with its consistent waves.
Bells Beach – Victoria, Australia
No list about top surfing spots is complete without a nod to Australia. In its 37,000 km of pristine coastline, one spot in particular stands out from the sandy pack. Bells Beach in the province of Victoria houses the yearly Rip Curl Pro Surf and Music festival, the country’s most prominent and long-standing professional surfing competition. Let’s say you’re not a pro (because let’s face it, many of us can’t bare the thought of straying from the shallow end, or worse – the kiddy pool), watching its tides swell in at five metres against the backdrop of dramatically high cliffs is worth the trip alone.
Jeffreys Bay – Jeffreysbaai, South Africa
You finally have another excuse to book that flight to South Africa. That is, to watch pro surfers (some from the yearly July Billabong Pro WCT surfing event at Super Tubes) ride waves that can span 1.5 km wide. Muster up the courage to participate or check in at the African Ubuntu accommodations, with its funky décor and private balconies overlooking the surf spots. One of the busiest and most famous surfing destinations, it’s not for the faint of heart, but it is for the ambitious.
Eisbach River – Munich, Germany
Not only does this canal veer on uncomfortably cold, but the German government once tried to ban surfing on the Eisbach (“ice brook”) when tourists began flocking to it in waves in the 1970’s. Think of it as a surfing treadmill – the one-metre standing wave churns water at a rate of 20 tons per second, yielding a 15-metre and five foot-deep crest. It only leaves room for one surfer at a time, but that’s part of its shtick: Watch from the sidelines as surfers line up in anticipation for their turn. You’ll be impressed at how Munich Surf Open contestants train for their big day.
Wadi Adventure Surf Pool – Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
Think sand and surf have to come as a package? Think again. United Arab Emirates’ state-of-the-art(ificial) surf pool comes equipped with all the dynamic waves you crave, but without the beach. The technology behind Wadi’s Surf Pool customizes its waves for beginners, and jacks it up a notch for seasoned surfers. Unlike most surf schools that plan their lessons around the weather, Wadi Adventure operates year-round with a selection of class levels – including a VIP option, where you get the pool to yourself.
Newcomb Hollow – Cape Cod, Massachussetts
Newcomb Hollow, located in the suburban-cum-rural town of Wellfleet in Cape Cod, is notorious for being a quaint family-oriented vacation spot year-round. However, come summer, it transforms into a surf-loving mecca. Its endless beaches boast waves stacking up at a modest two to four feet, perfect for the apprehensive surfer. Fun for the whole family? We think so.
Montauk – East Hampton, New York
Just 120 miles out of New York City, Montauk‘s bohemian socialites hit up their shores in droves come summer. Because the water can dip as low as 35 Farenheit during off-season, the beaches are sardines-packed with surfers as soon as the temps start to rise. Waves converge from all directions, making it a consistent ride especially apt for beginners. Post-ride, you’re promised top-of-the-line lobster from the numerous joints in the area, or, you can always reel in your own catch of the day at the edge of its unforgettable coastline.
Huntington Beach – Orange County, California
There’s a song about it called “Surf City”, if that’s any indication of this town’s surfer spirit. In 1991, Huntington Beach officially adopted the moniker of Surf City USA, but its connection with the sport began much earlier. When the first United States surfing championships were held at the Huntington Beach Pier in 1959, the city developed a collective obsession with riding waves. Now, it’s nearly impossible to drive through Huntington Beach without almost hitting a jaywalking, surfboard-toting shaggy-haired surfer (speaking from experience). The city is as holistically surf-oriented as it gets, hosting a yearly US Surf Open, boasting the International Surfing Museum and offering a weekly Surfin’ Sunday Concert Series.