Sunshine, frothy waves, sandy beaches, exciting destinations and a waxed board, surfing and travelling surely go hand in hand? Many a backpacker has tried this exhilarating and hip sport whilst on the road and there is a vast array of surf spots around the globe to choose from, many in stunning locations. I’ve spent a few years trying to master the sport on an unruly and unpredictable ocean abroad and at home but despite the numerous wipe outs and ‘board to the face’ situations, I can’t help but feel like the queen of the sea on every wave I catch. I’ve compiled a little list of some of my favourite surf spots that I’ve been to in the UK and on my travels, to give you some ‘surfspiration’, happy wave hunting!
Australia is a cracking place to learn how to surf, there’s an abundance of beaches, big waves and lots of surf schools to provide you with tuition and guidance. I visited Mojo Surf school the first time I travelled in Australia, in a secluded beach in Arrawarra [try pronouncing that after a post surf wine or three]. The beach is around 1k and seems to be fairly sheltered from massive swells, which is ideal for a beginner. You don’t want to be rescued by a lifeguard, as you are flailing about, unless they are super hot of course.
As a ‘beginner to intermediate surfer’, I was a little hesitant at the idea of having to practice my “pop up” whilst lying on a huge foamy on the beach, however, I was assured that it would benefit my surfing to keep practising the basics. it was an awesome experience to stay in a surf camp, I loved the laid back camp vibes, complete with sunset guitar playing, drinks and banter with my new found surf buddies.
This is a picturesque and long sandy south westerly facing beach in Wales, it is an ideal spot for beginners, despite a bit of a tough paddle out. The beach and the surrounding area offer some beautiful views and there is the bonus of having some pretty consistent surf for the UK. The beach is conveniently located next to the Hillend campsite, meaning you can set up your own little surf camp and maximise your surf time. There are several surf schools in the area and Cardiff based adventure company Big Blue Adventures offer pretty awesome surf trips packages, should you wish to up your surf skills with the pros. The Local surf shop owner Pete Jones also compiles a handy daily surf report so you can check out what the swell is doing before you paddle on out.
Tauranga Bay New Zealand
There is a cute little surf spot at Westport, a town in the West Coast region of the South Island of New Zealand. Westport is an adventure lovers town, with lush beaches, biking, fishing and of course, surfing. Surfers should head to Tauranga Bay beach for some big West Coast waves and gorgeous views. Tauranga Bay is a lovely sandy beach but has strong rips at times, so you should be careful out there. If you are a beginner I would recommend going with a local surf school, as solo surf here is possibly better left to intermediate and advanced surfers.
Jaco Costa Rica
Jaco is the main spot for surfing in Costa Rica, the town has everything a surfer could need from hostel accommodation, board hire, surf shops and a great selection of chilled out bars. Playa Jaco is the main surfing beach here, offering a 4k strip of world class surfing and spectacular sunsets. I would totally recommend a sunset surf, followed by a massive celebratory cocktail in one of the main beachside bars. The beach break here offers an average ride and is suitable for all surf skills. Those seeking a quieter spot should head to the tranquil Playa Herradura or Playa Hermosa.
This is the surf place of legends, the likes of Kelly Slater and Tiago Piers come here to train, compete and enjoy the amazing waves breaking on some incredibly beautiful and blue flag standard beaches. There are over 5 miles of coastline to surf on, with over 30 surfable beaches that suit all range of skills, from newbies, through to intermediates and pros. Ericeira’s got a great selection of big and small wave beaches, sand bars, reef and beach breaks, so there is something to suit every surfer here. You can also kick back after your surf and take in the amazing scenery. You can also grab a cheap beer from a local bar, or catch one of the many surf competitions that are held throughout the season.
Newquay is clearly the epicentre of British surfing, with the famous Fistral beach offering all the surfing amenities you could need, as well as beautiful views and some pretty great waves. This place is nearly always crowded with surfers trying to catch fairly consistent waves, just watch out for the occasional rip. Newquay is a great town to visit for a surf trip, with it’s laid back vibe, selection of bars, clubs and cafes as well as surf competitions and festivals throughout the year.
Mundaka is renowned as one of the world’s best surf spots, with awesome lefthanders, created as the long sandbank catches the swells to deliver a perfect tube for gigantic rides. This is also one of the more challenging spots to surf in and should be approached with caution, even by serious surfers. The downside of Mundaka is that the surf lacks consistency, with the wave said to only be rideable about 50 days a year. Conditions are prone to change here, so timing is everything if you want to experience this beast of a wave.
Bondi Beach Australia
Australia’s most iconic beach demands to be surfed, with its big south swells challenging you to up your surfing game. It’s a great place for learning when the waves are small and there are plenty of boards to rent and surf lessons to book onto. Bondi is a wildly popular, crowded and vibrant beach with plenty of amenities for surfers including board hire, surf schools and beachside cafes and bars. Be warned, this is a very expensive area, so make sure you bring some dollar with you if you fancy a post surf beer or two.
Have you visited any of these surf spots, what did you think of them? What other surfing places do you think are worth visiting? Let me know in the comments below.