Adventurers of the water, this one’s for you! As surfing becomes a next-level pastime this year, with the inauguration of surfing as a sport at the 2020 Olympic games in Japan, there’s no better time to hone your skill or spark a completely new interest.
If you’re an avid surfer, you will no doubt be familiar with some really great surfing spots, but perhaps there’s a few you have missed. Alternatively, if you’re keen to get in on the wonderful world of surf heaven, these surf spots are sure to entice you to get into the water and find out exactly what you’ve been missing.
Just a few kilometres away from the coastal town of Puerto Viejo is the beautiful beach of Playa Cocles, and some of the best surfing to be had on the country’s east coast.
Advisable only for intermediate and experienced surfers, those who do choose to brave these magnificent waves will not be disappointed. Beginners can surf the waves with the help of an instructor. Enjoy beach breaks that peel to the right and left over a sandy bottom. With waves riding up to 300 metres, it is a genuine joy to glide over when the tide is high, and the waves break quite close to the beach.
There are two separate peaks; the first one is located just south of town, close to Salsa Brava. In fact, Salsa Brava is considered to be the most intense surf breaks in Costa Rica, and are consistently powerful. The second one is more suited for the less-experienced surfer, just a stone’s throw to the north. The best time of day to catch these waves is early morning, and there are many rip currents and undertows in the water to watch out for.
The hip beach town of Canggu was once a sleepy fishing village, but has now been transformed into a hipster destination, brimming with creative energy — not to mention one of the best surf spots in the world. Surf junkies from around the world congregate to Bali for these super fun waves. From beginners to rippers, Canggu offers plenty of accessible waves no matter what your skill level, and for beginners, there are surf schools to learn the basics.
Indulge your webbed feet at Berawa, an amazing sandbar, with a constantly shifting reef that provides both left and right waves to keep you on your toes. Nearby Batu Bolong also does not disappoint and is a popular spot with the locals, providing a great spot for beginners — the waves are relatively slow, but long enough to have time to improve your skills. Hit the beach early in the morning for optimal surf time.
In the heart of Canggu, Hotel Tugu Bali is a wonderfully-restored 18th century Javanese palace. Make your home here while in Bali, as it is just a short jaunt from Batu Bolong and Berawa beaches. Unique architecture and antiques throughout the property provide a laid-back environment ripe for getting into active mode at of the best surfing beaches.
J-Bay, as the locals like to call it, is where the warm currents of the Indian Ocean meet the colder waters of the Atlantic. The low pressure that moves around the Cape of Good Hope between April and September generates swells that enter Jeffrey’s Bay, making them ripe for surfing.
South Africa is full of friendly and hospitable folk, but no more so than the surfing community. They can make your trip a memorable one, and riding the Supertubes with local South Africans almost guarantees that you will make a new friend or two. True to its name, the waves envelop into tubes for some ultra-fun surfing. It is sometimes a short and intense ride, but loads of fun.
Spots to surf here include Kitchen Windows, with right and left reef soft waves, suitable for all levels. The Magnatubes are the heaviest and advisable only for experienced surfers. The Boneyards break both left and right and is a favourite spot for locals. The most famous of them all is Supertubes, with a very fast and powerful right break, creating big tubes, suitable for experts. Albatross and Seal Point are good for all surf levels, while Main Beach houses the surfing school, great for beginners just beginning to grow their surfing interest.
Just a short flight away from the UK or the rest of Europe, here in the land of monster waves, experienced surfers the world over flock to Portugal’s central coast to get their fill of Europe’s largest waves. Less than a decade ago, this haven for surfers was almost unknown. Today it is frequented by Rodrigo Koxa, world champion surfer.
Down here in the more southern regions of the continent, the most optimal conditions for surfing runs from October through March and in the height of December waves can reach up to 100 feet! These giant waves occur on Praia do Norte in Nazare — if you don’t fancy getting in the water yourself, there’s a great viewing spot next to the lighthouse São Miguel Arcanjo on the north side.
The Hotel Lisboa Plaza is situated in one of Lisbon’s most vibrant neighborhoods, about an hour and a half’s drive south of Nazaré. Here, you will bask in the opulence of exquisite antique furniture, marble bathrooms and bright walls, in close proximity to some of Lisbon’s best shopping opportunities. Traditional Portuguese heritage shines through around every corner.
For a stay more vintage modern, Hotel Britania offers 1940’s charm in a property both cosy and elegant. Located on a peaceful street off Lisbon’s main drag, it offers the best of both worlds — a central location as well as being positioned further away from the hurriedness of the city. Tastefully decorated rooms and sumptuous cuisine invite you back after your trip to Nazare.
This south island surf spot in Indonesia is perfect for adventurous beginners and advanced ones alike. Before you paddle out to the placid beach break, pick up a Rip Curl Tide Chart at nearby Fatmah’s restaurant to figure out the best time to go. In these large swells, beginners can watch as the precarious crest of the wave break at Lakey Peak comes into view, and wait for the ripple effect as if a stone has been thrown into a gigantic pond, catching the wave just at the right moment.
Nungas proves to be the most user-friendly for the learners among us. About a 15-minute walk from Lakey Peak, Nungas is a bigger wave with a longer, more gentle ride. For intermediates, Periscopes is the place to be, a long hollow cylinder of an emerald wave. Then there is Cobblestones, a fantastic option for those who wish to avoid the hustle at Lakey Peak. Lastly, for those with adrenaline coursing through their veins, Lakey Pipe fits the bill; the best left-handed barrell you’ll get, with shallow waters at low tide.
The west coast of Wales is a surfing capital and fun for the entire family, if your brood wants to learn the joys of surfing. One of the best places to learn to surf, of course, is surf school, of which in Wales you have your pick of the bunch. Here in Britain’s Gower peninsula, the outstanding natural beauty definitely takes precedence over the blessed lack of crowds.
The Gower enjoys a fantastic swell, with better shelter from wind and breaks suited for all surfing levels. Everyone here is laidback and friendly, secure in the knowledge that you will enjoy yourself immensely. Caswell Bay is great for juniors, as there are lifeguards and the water is clean. Rest Bay is nice for a quick session from Bristol or Cardiff.
Pembrokeshire, about an hour north, provides clean gentle waves, whatever the weather. The beaches here are even quieter, perfect for beginners, whilst nearby Freshwater West is unspoilt and picks up a large swell which is more suited for the experienced.
Best of all, it’s enough of a short trip that you can spend more of your time on the water, and less time actually getting there.
Whether you’re an advanced, adrenaline-fuelled surfer or you’re a beginner interested in taking a leap of faith and experiencing some of the most exhilarating moments of your life, there’s a surf spot for that!
As Bali’s premier hot spot of surfing, the Uluwatu surf boasts a wide reef and breathtaking cliff face, offering different peaks that turn on at varying tides. Surf breaks change with the size of the swell, and the beach is always bustling with energy from locals and tourists. Geared more towards experienced surfers, the cliff makes for a spectacular viewing platform.
Temples is the least congested surfing area of Uluwatu, no doubt due to the long paddle that most surfers don’t wish to undertake. But the Bombie area is more exposed to the large open ocean swells, with the biggest swells happening at high tide — some of the largest in Indonesia! For the most consistent section of various waves, hang out at The Peak. For more experienced surfers, your energy is best spent at Outside Corner, the most iconic peak at Uluwatu.
Last but certainly not least is Racetracks, running past the corner of the cliff face towards Padang Padang, a great rippable section with barrels draining off the reef. For somewhere to stay after a day’s action and conveniently located just a few minutes’ drive from the beach is Alilas Villas Uluwatu at the southern tip of the Bukit Peninsula. Here, peace and tranquility rule after a long day of catching those waves. Architecturally, this property is stunning; brought to you by the award-winning firm WOHA, the villas offer a design aesthetic unapparelled in Bali.
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