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Head to Bali if you want to rub shoulders with some of the best surfers in the world. With temple-studded hills, the Bukit Peninsula is a rural outpost with limestone cliffs, pristine beaches, fearsome reef breaks. More experienced surfers can take on two of the most famous waves in the world, Uluwatu and Padang Padang. When surfing the Padang Padang, it’s worth having antiseptic to hand for the occasional run in with the reef. The best time to surf is from May to September and less experienced surfers can take lessons at the Quicksilver Surf School in Bali. After the surf, you can head into Kuta for food, drinks and awesome nightlife.
Santa Cruz has a long surfing history which dates back to the 1950’s. This is where West Coast big wave riders like Peter Cole, Ricky Grigg and the Van Dyke brothers surfed on wooden long boards at Steamer Lane. It was also here where Jack O’Neill, who lost an eye in an incident at the Lane, developed the modern day surfing wetsuit. Santa Cruz has 11 surf spots including the Californian classic, Pleasure Point and is best from September to May. You can get surf lessons here from Surf School Santa Cruz, owned by pro surfer Bud Freitas and be sure to check out the surfing museum.
Oahu, Hawaii is without doubt the best place to go surfing in the United States and has been a popular surfing destination for decades. Oahu consistently ranks at the top of every seasoned professionals list of great surfing spots. Every surfer’s dream and the reason why people come here, is to ride the perfect crest of Pipeline, the big daddy of all waves. It is one of the heaviest waves in the world and it is fitting that you find it in Oahu, the island that created surfing. These waves grow in size over six meters of a shallow base of razor-blade table reef. So if you dare charge this flawless tube, you will experience one of nature’s finest formations.
Byron Bay stands out as one of the spiritual and historical homes of surfing in an entire continent of surf towns in the greatest surfing nation. Byron is a hippie town at heart and main wave, the Pass, is a classic right-hand point break that is fit for all surfing levels, although it can get a bit crowded on good swells. Less advanced surfers should stay on the beach and the more advanced can head south to Broken Head, which has great beach breaks and other classic points to surf. The best time to go is from June to September as the the southern hemisphere winter barely touches Byron. The Bay Beach Hire & Travel surf school is recommended for beginners lessons by pro surfer Dion Agius. After the surf, you can have drinks at the Quicksilver Hotel on the beach or head into town for the vibrant nightlife.
Located in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, Jeffery’s Bay or ‘J Bay’ to many surfers is one of the most famous surfing destinations in the world. J Bay offers long fast barrels off the intense point breaks and has plenty of choices including Boneyards, Kitchen Windows, Magna Tubes, Point, Albatross, and the mother of all waves, Supertubes. All surfers at any level of expertise should try Supertubes as they offer the highest walls of water in the area, where any scenario can happen when the waves start to roll on over. The best time to visit is the winter months from June to August or during the annual Billabong Pro WCT in July, where you can enjoy a great ride at blue-flag beaches.
San Diego’s Black Beach is definitely for the seasoned professional as it has the most powerful breaks that come with strong currents, which is not advisable for beginners. Considered the best surfing spot on the mainland of the United States, Black Beach can get very crowded at weekends as it can host a number of expert surfers in every direction. The winds do not affect the waves, which means you have plenty of time to have fun until late in the day and ride some of the best waves in the Western Hemisphere.
Costa Rica is legendary for hardcore surfers as it has year-round waves and a number of great surfing spots. During the months of April to October, you can expect great waves with major swells, especially in Playa Naranjo and the river mouth point break at Potrero Grande or Ollies Point. To get to some of the best surf spots, you’ll need to rent a 4x4 to drive along some of the sketchy jungle roads or get there by boat, which is most favoured by most surfers and is a small price to pay for the ride of your life. Both beginners and experts should try the 30-metre waves at the Tamarindo Beach in Tamarindo, which is a half kilometre of beach with warm waters and beautiful coastline.
‘Florianopolis’ or Floripa to locals, is known as a surfers playground and is the most visited place in Brazil. With 42 different beaches to suit all surfing tastes, from the novice-friendly Barra Da Lagoa to the heavier Joaquina Beach, which often hosts professional surfing competitions. Santinho and Mocambique beaches have great consistency and huge variety of waves. There are many world-class surf spots in Floripa which include the, Praia Mole, Campeche and Lagoinha do Leste. For surfing competitions, you can head on to Sao Francisco do Sul on the east coast which has a fun-loving atmosphere. With an increasingly surf-crazy populace and 4,655 miles of coastline, Brazil is poised to become the epicentre for global surf culture. After the surf, head to Confraria Club, this is where Kelly Slater took to the stage with his guitar after winning his seventh ASP World Title in 2005.
The Tavarua Island off Fiji is a heart-shaped island that can offer something for everyone from hardcore surfers to novice beginners. Cloudbreak, however is exclusively for hardcore surfers, as this brutal wave can form up to 1,600 meters off the coast and can hold up to 500 metres reaching 10 metres in size. There are two distinct surfing seasons in Fiji. The winter cool season runs from April to October and has consistently huge swells and surf conditions that can range as high as 8-10 feet with 12-20 foot faces. Summer is hotter with shorter swells in duration and lighter winds, which is better for less experienced surfers, but don't let the smaller waves fool you. Surfing in Fiji requires skill and confidence in the water as the breaks are over coral reefs which isn’t the ideal place for beginners to learn to surf.
The Gold Coast is considered to be ‘surfer’s paradise’ and is known for its 70 km of pristine beaches and four epic point breaks, including the Superbank, which is considered one of the world’s finest breaks. These waves produce tubes and solid walls, giving you the ride of your life. The Gold Coast has been known for luring surfers for years, not only for the quality of its waves, but for its large party city area that can accommodate all the surfers that flock there. Surfer’s Paradise is definitely one of the must travel to surfing locations, not just in Australia but throughout the world.
New Smyrna Beach is known as the centre of high performance surfing, with 13 miles of pristine beaches, 300 surf-able days a year and warm waters. The steep wedging waves break near the inlet and offer perfect ramps for East Coast professionals and local talented surfers to perform tricks and ride the waves. Away from the inlet, you’ll find less crowded parts of the beach such as Sapphire Road and 27th Avenue. More advanced surfers can join the pros surfing lips of the waves when a northeast swell tears in from the Atlantic. Less experienced surfers can also get lessons at pro surfer Lindsey Baldwin’s Surfing NSB school. You can surf here nearly all year round, however spring break is one of the best times to go with nonstop frat and sorority parties as college students descend on the area during this time.
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