While almost every country along the coast has something to offer surfers, there are some which are simply far better than others. If you love to explore new locations with your board, and enjoy some exquisite scenery while you catch some waves, this article is for you.
Here is a guide that will show you the top 25 places in the world to surf. The last five listed are also some of the best places for beginner surfers. Here the waves are gentler than those found at the previous top 20 locations mentioned.
Regardless of whether you consider yourself a pro in the water or someone just learning the skills required to stay upright on the board, there will be a destination that suits your surfing style.
1. South Africa – Supertubes in Jeffrey’s Bay
As our very top place to surf we have chosen Supertubes in Jeffrey’s Bay, home of the famous annual Billabong Pro competition. At Supertubes the waves can get pretty big, reaching heights of between 10 and 12 feet, and surfers can expect some serious tubing. We’ve placed Jeffrey’s as the number one spot as it can be surfed and enjoyed by most with some experience.
2. Australia – Superbank, Gold Coast
Gold Coast in Australia has certainly earned its spot as the second best place to surf in the world, with over 70 km of gorgeous beaches and some of the world’s finest breaks.
Besides Superbank, there are also another three point breaks which ensure the ride of a lifetime. At most times of the year, you can enjoy high quality waves and plenty of space for all the surfers who arrive for the action.
3. United States – Pipeline, Oahu, Hawaii
At just the mention of Hawaii, great surf and beautiful beaches spring to mind. The Pipeline is certainly one of the best places to surf in the world, but its over six-meter waves and shallow base of razor-sharp reef can be somewhat daunting for the beginner. If you have what it takes, however, you will experience superb water tubes.
4. United States – Mavericks, California
Mavericks, California, is where only the daring and highly experienced surfers are recommended to attempt its huge 25-meter waves that form due to the wild storms further out in the ocean. These are the dream waves of every dedicated surfer, but a destination that is best left to the professionals.
5. South America – Lima, Peru
Although not always described as the most stunning beach, as its grey-colored waters and stony shore is not exactly golden, it has some decent surfing conditions that can be played by surfers of various abilities. The waves offer exciting long rides, and are about a meter or a bit more in height.
6. New Zealand – Manu Bay, Raglan
Just a two-hour drive from Auckland, Manu Bay was the setting for the cult surf movie ‘Endless Summer’ back in the 1960’s. Ever since, it has remained a great surfing destination, with waves between one and three meters. Sometimes a short wait for the going to get better is required, but it’s a cool place to hang out.
7. China – Riyuewan in Sanya (Hainan)
This is an interesting spot as China is not really famed for its beaches or surf. However, here is a large and attractive island offering seldom-visited beaches and waves galore. In certain locations you will experience true freedom as you defeat the surf with no one in sight for miles. It’s just you and the Big Blue!
8. Indonesia – Uluwatu or Kuta, Bali
At both of these beaches in Bali you will find picture-perfect seas made for the surfer’s pleasure. At Uluwatu, you may need to compete with the locals for the best waves, so some experience is definitely recommended, however, at Kuta the atmosphere is more placid, and beginners get their fair chance. These beaches are also surfed by some of the best from Hawaii and Australia.
9. Philippines – Cloud Nine on Siargao Island
It seemed appropriate that Cloud Nine be our number nine, and while this may be one of the best surfing places, it is one of the scariest as well. Only the bravest of surfers without any fear of death will be found tackling these huge and powerful reef break waves which end up slamming onto the sharpest of corals.
Don’t be fooled by its paradise-like appearance, this is only for the most experienced wave-catcher.
10. United States – Honolua Bay at Hawaii
Another Hawaii location in our top ten and at Honolua Bay you will discover endless surf action to keep you busy. Often described as a ‘world-class’ ride, and with its quite frequent whale sightings, it’s one of the best places to surf in the world.
11. Fiji – Cloudbreak on Tavarua Island
Spot number eleven has been taken by Cloudbreak as it is an excellent expert surfer destination. Its magnificent hollow waves that race for up to 500 meters can reach a height of ten meters, and will surely give you an unforgettable ride. While Cloudbreak is recommended for hardcore surfers only, there are other beaches nearby that are great for more relaxed surfing.
12. United States – Surfrider Beach in Malibu
The name of this top surfing destination says all you need to know, but it is also interesting to note that Johnny Fain and Miki Dora once frequented this beach back in the 1950’s. Longboarding is very popular here as well. The only thing to mention, however, is if you are looking for peace and quiet, this destination is not for you! Expect plenty of activity.
13. England – Watergate Bay of Cornwall
Watergate Bay is one of our recommended best surfing places, and offers waves that range from 30 centimeters to about three meters in size. It is filled with English charm, and is not overcrowded. A nice little bistro on the beach selling good steaks can be enjoyed when you are done with the waves.
14. Ireland – Bundoran Beach in County Donegal
Although not the warmest of best surfing destinations, Bundoran Beach has such good waves that the cooler weather is no distraction. Some pretty big waves roll in from the Atlantic in a constant rhythm, and the local people are more than welcoming and willing to share their experiences with foreign surfers.
15. United States – Backdoor, Hawaii
Once again, we are back at the king of surfing locations, Hawaii, and this time we are talking about a place called Backdoor. Backdoor is not nearly as wild as nearby Pipeline, but its world-class tubes are fast-paced and a bit too overwhelming for the inexperienced. Even if the waves are too much for you, it’s a great spot to relax on the beach and take note of the expert surfers in action.
16. England – Fistral Beach in Newquay
You will need your wetsuit at Fistral Beach in England on most days, but during the summer some fairly pleasant temperatures can be noted. Great left and right rides are the joys of this destination, and the surfing competitions held here are quite famous. They are most often sponsored by Billabong, Quicksilver and Redbull.
17. Morocco – Killer Point of Taghazoute
For a somewhat different atmosphere, travel to Morocco and get a taste of Middle Eastern and African culture while checking out the surfing conditions. Don’t let the name put you off, as it is in honor of the many killer whales of the area, and not the number of surfers who have failed to return home! Lovely peeling waves break over a cliff shelf, offering surfers ideal opportunities for fun and games.
18. Canada – Tofino, Vancouver Island
Stunning surf and scenery make the west coast of this island the perfect location for surfers around the world. Take in the blissfully peaceful rainforest in the background while you ride the perfect waves towards the beach. Beware of the cold, however; bring a thick wetsuit so that you can stay out there as long as you like.
19. Brazil – Sao Francisco do Sul
Rated as our number nineteen best place to surf, and with plenty of exciting Brazilian surfing competitions, Sao Francisco do Sul is a fun and beautiful place to be. The sandbar can be found on the east coast, below San Paulo, and is where some serious waves throw surfers into their higher gear. Lovely sunsets and several great bars complete the exuberant atmosphere.
20. United States – Black’s Beach in San Diego (California)
Black’s Beach is one of those locations for the professionals to hone their surfing skills. It boasts some of the most powerful breaks in the state of California, and is also ravaged by some strong currents. Here you will find some of the best surfers in the country, and a great number of spectators and beach-lovers too. It can be quite busy, so be prepared to share the waves.
Five of the World’s Best Surfing Places for Beginners
21. South Africa – Muizenberg Corner of Cape Town
Twenty kilometers of soft sand and gently breaking waves makes this the perfect destination to learn the ropes of surfing. It is one of the longest, uninterrupted beaches in the world, and one of the most attractive too, with beautiful surrounding landscapes that include the not-to-far and ever-famous Table Mountain.
22. United States – Waikiki, Hawaii
Hawaii is not just for the professional and experienced surfers who do tricks with their eyes closed, but for those surfers in the making as well. Waikiki, thanks to its long and gentle waves, has quickly become one of the favorite locations in the world for beginner surfers. There are also plenty of surfing schools in the area if you need a bit of instruction.
23. Australia – Byron Bay
Byron Bay is not strictly a novice surfer destination, but a place where surfers of all ability come together to carry out their passion. Watego Bay, however, is one of the areas recommended for those just getting started. Everything required to master the art of surfing can be found in this top surfing destination, from shops selling surfing gear to ‘hot spots’ from where to watch the waves.
24. France – Hossegor, Aquitane
If you are looking for consistent surf to fill your day, Hossegor is your ideal destination. It is also one of the longest stretches of beach in the whole of Europe, so there is plenty of space for everyone. The town of Hossegor is a nice place to visit as well – perfectly quaint and picturesque.
25. United States – Cowell’s Beach in Santa Cruz (California)
Get yourself into the California surfing lifestyle at Cowell’s Beach, featuring long and relaxed rides that will keep you entertained from morning till night. When you have gained a little experience you can upgrade to surfing the more advanced waves at Lighthouse Point a bit further up the beach. Till then, however, nothing stops you from watching those with more years of experience to see how it is done.
There is great number of superb surfing locations around the world, and where you go is completely up to you and your skills in the water. Recommended is a destination that fulfills your greatest surfing desires, and one that will keep you entertained when out of the water as well.
Traveling is one of the treasures of living that should be enjoyed to the max.