Ditch the Wetsuit in These 5 Warm-Water Surfing Destinations
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Imagine riding those perfect peaks and barrels wearing nothing but boardshorts or a tiny swimsuit, lazing in the shade at midday, swinging in a hammock on a palm-fringed beach… You can have all that in a tropical surfing destination!
There are places in the world where there’s simply no surf, and there are those that have earned themselves a reputation as world-renowned surfing hotspots. Many surfers claim that it is easier to train and see progress in warm water. You feel looser and more relaxed. You can, therefore, focus more on your technique.
Escape the winter and ditch the wetsuit in these warm-water surfing destinations where you can hang ten any time of year:
With a postcard-perfect scenery, Bali is the new Hawaii. It is on top of everyone’s list, be it a honeymoon, a yoga retreat, some relaxing vacations, or a surfing holiday.
The best time to go surfing in Bali is between April and September, when this sun-bathed island in the Indonesian archipelago gets consistent swell and offers world-class waves for all levels.
With gentle beach breaks and plenty of surf schools, Kuta Beach and Canggu are excellent for beginners and intermediate surfers, the latter having some pretty challenging waves on the menu as well. They are also the most popular and most crowded surfing destinations in Bali. Luckily, there are dozens of waves on the Bukit Peninsula for all surfers to enjoy, lefts and rights, beach and reef breaks, mellow and barreling, fast and long, you name it!
» Join a beginner surf camp in Bali.
The large swells at Uluwatu are close to perfection and are recommended for intermediates and experts. Padang Padang is home to consistent barrels and a left-hand point break known as the Balinese Pipeline, considered the most dangerous and most hollow wave in Bali. The racy break known as Impossibles gets powerful swells and barrels, a challenge even for experienced surfers.
» Thinking of heading over to the Island of the Gods? Here’s all you need to know about budgeting and planning your surf trip to Bali.
2. The Maldives
A total of 1,190 coral islands make up the 26 ring-shaped atolls in the Maldives. No wonder the waves here are considered among the best in the world!
The waves are usually shoulder-to-head high and are slightly less powerful than those that reach the Indonesian archipelago. Of course, this does not mean they are any less spectacular. Their beauty lies in the perfect barrels and incredibly long rides, which make the Maldives a great destination for intermediate and advanced surfers.
The best time to go surfing in the Maldives is between March and October, with the biggest waves firing between June and August. With amazingly consistent swell, there’s always something to do, as there are surf spots all throughout the archipelago facing different swell and wind directions.
» Wanna find out more about the waves? Read our guide to the best surf spots in the Maldives.
Tahiti is a renowned big-wave destination, but the many reef breaks on the south and southwest coast of the island offer something for every level. Even better, Tahiti has two surf seasons – between October and March, when it receives swell from the north, and between April and September.
The indisputable surfing paradise in Tahiti is Teahupo’o, a big wave spot that counts seven top-notch reef breaks along a five-mile (8km) stretch of beach. This is the famed venue of the annual Billabong Pro Tahiti Surf Competition. With some of the world’s fastest waves, Teahupo’o is reserved for advanced surfers.
For beginners, Papara is a great place to start. Tahiti still has great untapped surfing potential, with plenty of reef breaks that remain off-the-radar and many more that are waiting to be discovered.
4. Costa Rica
A legendary surfing destination, Costa Rica is point break paradise and the country of Pura Vida. With both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines, the beaches are blessed with plenty of high-quality waves and consistent swell all year round.
The main surfing season in Costa Rica lasts between April and October.
On the Caribbean coast, Puerto Viejo is home to the country’s biggest waves. On the Pacific coast, Tamarindo, Playa Grande, Playa Avellanas, Playa Santa Teresa, Nosara, and Jaco are among the best surf spots in Costa Rica.
» Join a surf camp in Santa Teresa.
With some of the best waves in Central America, Nicaragua has an ace up its sleeve – its prime surfing season is longer than average, spanning nine whole months between May and November. Between December and April, the mellow waves make it a great destination for beginners and intermediate surfers.
Panga Drops is a renowned wave magnet and Popoyo’s inner reef is among the most popular spots. With quite a few surf schools, Playa Maderas is great for beginners as well as experienced surfers thanks to its consistent waves. If you want to go off-the-beaten-path, head on over to the renowned left-hand point break Lance’s Left. You can get here by boat from Playa Gigante or by hiking from Astillero.
Warm water destinations do have a drawback – they tend to get crowded. So try to stay off-the-beaten-path to catch those waves without having to wait in line. Are there any other downsides to warm water surfing? None we can think of!
Thinking about escaping the cold weather back home? Are you sick and tired of wearing a wetsuit even on the sunniest of days? Join a surf camp in Indonesia for a complete change of scenery!