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The World's Top Surfing Destinations of 2022

by Octavia Drughi

The go-to resource for planning your surf camps. Find all you need to know about the top destinations and take your surfing to new heights.
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The last couple of years have changed the way we perceive travel in general, including surfing. It’s not just the awesome waves anymore. Being able to visit a certain destination is now also a priority when planning a surf trip.

Some countries have opened their borders months ago. Others only partially, while some are still waiting to do so. Thanks to the successful vaccination rollouts in some of the world’s top surf spots, it’s time to look ahead and finally start planning. Make 2022 the year you learn to surf or take that surf trip you’ve always dreamed about.

Unsure what to add to your surfing bucket list?

We’ve looked through our statistics to bring you our predictions of the world’s best surfing destinations in 2022. Check them out, wax your surfboard, and get ready to ride the wave of your life!

Note: At the time of writing, some countries are still subject to travel restrictions. We strongly advise staying up to date with the latest COVID-19 restrictions and information from official government sources.

 

Portugal

surf-portugal

Image credit: Magikvanilla Surf Camp

When it comes to surfing, Portugal has been stealing the spotlight. In the last few years, it has strengthened its position as Europe’s number one surf spot. This is all thanks to its irresistible combo of outstanding wave variety, top-notch surf camps, great weather, chill vibes, booming surf culture, laidback surf towns, and delicious food.

Even more so, it’s a very affordable surfing destination, with dozens of budget surf camps in Portugal to choose from.

From the uncrowded waves near Porto in the north to the renowned surf meccas of Peniche and Ericeira, the surf beaches near Lisbon, and all the way down south to the Algarve, there are waves for everyone, from complete beginners to pros.

Portugal is one of the best places to learn to surf on the globe. At the same time, some of the world’s gnarliest waves can be found here. Nazaré is home to the biggest waves ever surfed, Supertubos is one of the best beach breaks on the planet, while Cave is Portugal’s heaviest wave.

 

What is the best time to surf in Portugal?

Portugal is a year-round surfing destination, but the most reliable conditions can be found between October and April.

Summer (May-September) is the perfect time for beginners, as the waves are smaller and less powerful. September through November are extremely reliable months, with quality waves that are bigger and more challenging, warm water, and fewer crowds.

Autumn and winter are the best time for advanced surfers, as powerful Atlantic swells roll in every day, creating well-shaped waves that can really pack a punch. There are plenty of sheltered waves for beginners during the colder months, too. In winter, some breaks get crazy big and become unsurfable, so it’s best to stick to the sheltered spots.

» READ MORE: All You Need to Know About Surfing in Portugal

 

Canary Islands, Spain

surf-canary-islands

Image credit: Oceanside Gran Canaria Surf

Thanks to their year-round sunshine and pleasant water temperature, the Canary Islands are a classic winter getaway. But when it comes to surfing, any time is a good time to catch a wave here!

The most popular surfing destinations in the Canaries are the islands of Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, and Lanzarote. Each of them has its own personality and a remarkable selection of surf spots for all levels, from mellow beach breaks to rippable reefs and some incredibly long rides as well.

The Canary Islands are among the best places to learn to surf on the planet. Corralejo, Famara, Las Palmas, and Playa del Ingles are renowned surf hubs for beginners, with friendly waves all year round.

But the Canaries owe much of their reputation to their heavy, hollow, and merciless reef breaks, the likes of El Quemao, The Slab, The Bubble, the Spanish Left, and El Confital. These are some of the gnarliest waves on the globe. Breaking over shallow and razor-sharp reefs, their epic barrels are not for the faint of heart.

 

What is the best time to surf in the Canary Islands?

 

The Canary Islands are a year-round surfing destination, but the most reliable surfing conditions can be found between September and April.

For beginners, summer and autumn have gentler waves. However, there are sheltered spots with friendly waves all year round.

For intermediate and advanced surfers, November through February is the best time to go. Powerful swells create epic conditions and this is when the Canaries’ spitting reef breaks come to life.

» READ MORE: All You Need to Know About Surfing in the Canary Islands

 

Morocco

surf-morocco

Image credit: Wave Gypsy Surf Yoga

Mint tea, tagine, argan oil, bazaars, medinas, and some of the best waves on the African continent are on the menu. With Berber, Arabic, African, and European influences, as well as powerful right hand point breaks rolling in one after another, Morocco is a sensory overload.

Offering both mellow waves and punchy points, not only is it a great place to learn to surf but also to make progress. That’s right, Morocco is one of the world’s best destinations for intermediate surfers, all thanks to its user-friendly waves.

The stretch of coastline between Essaouira and Agadir has the highest concentration of quality waves in the country. Here, Taghazout and Tamraght are Morocco’s premier surfing destinations, thanks to their proximity to world-class waves, their chill vibes, and a great number of surf camps.

Here, it’s freight trains like Anchor Point and Killer Point that are on any experienced surfer’s bucket list, and long waves like Cathedral Point and The Bay that offer the ride of a lifetime. But all levels are spoiled for choice, too. High-quality points like Desert Point, Hash Point, Panoramas, and Banana Point offer a little something for everyone.

 

When is the best time to surf in Morocco?

The best surfing conditions can be found between October and March, when the Atlantic pumps big and consistent swells.

For beginners, spring, summer, and early autumn bring smaller and friendlier waves. But you’ll are sheltered spots all throughout the year. For experienced surfers, winter months are when the most challenging point breaks in Morocco fire up.

» READ MORE: All You Need to Know About Surfing in Morocco

 

Costa Rica

surf-costa-rica

Image credit: Pura Vida Surfers

Thanks to its wide variety of mellow and user-friendly waves, as well as more challenging spots, Costa Rica is one of the world’s best places to learn to surf and improve. But it does have its fair share of world-class reefs and points that will challenge even the most experienced of surfers.

With Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, both offering exceptional surf, year-round warm water, and tropical climate, Costa Rica has secured its position as one of the world’s most sought-after surfing destinations in 2022.

Surfing in Costa Rica is spread across four main regions: Northern Pacific, Central Pacific, Southern Pacific, and the Caribbean. The Northern and Central Pacific coasts are the most visited by surfers, with the Guanacaste and Puntarenas provinces the most popular surfing destinations.

Here, the chic little surf towns of Tamarindo, Nosara, Santa Teresa, and Jaco are surrounded by quality waves and welcome surfers of all levels, any time of the year.

The Caribbean coast is home to the most powerful waves in Costa Rica. In Puerto Viejo, the Salsa Brava reef break will put advanced surfers to the test.

 

When is the best time to surf in Costa Rica?

The best time to surf on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast is between April and November. This is when the waves are bigger and more powerful, but beginners will find sheltered spots, too. Occasional glassy conditions can be found between December and February.

The best time to surf on the Caribbean Coast is between December and April.

» READ MORE: All You Need to Know About Surfing in Costa Rica

 

United Kingdom

surf-united-kingdom

Image credit: Swell Yoga

The water may be colder and, on some days, the weather may not be so great, but the surf in the United Kingdom is certainly worth all the hype.

From the gnarly waves at Thurso East in Scotland to Portrush in Northern Ireland, Saltburn in North Yorkshire, Newgale in Pembrokeshire, and all the way to Sennen Cove in Cornwall, the UK’s shoreline is dotted with barreling reefs and sheltered beach breaks. 

Cornwall is the most popular surfing destination in the United Kingdom and one of the best places to learn to surf in the country. Nestled between Watergate Bay and Fistral Beach, Newquay is the capital of Cornish surfing. With a variety of waves for beginners and pros alike, Cornwall’s beaches often host international surf competitions.

 

When is the best time to surf in the United Kingdom?

The surfing season runs from autumn till spring, between September and May, when consistent swells roll in. Summer receives much smaller swells and is more suitable for beginners.

Overall, autumn is the best time to surf in the UK, for beginners and experienced surfers alike. The water is warmer, the weather’s pleasant, and the beaches are not as crowded as in summer.

 

Hawaii, USA

surf-oahu-hawaii

Hawaii is more than just a coveted vacation destination. It is the birthplace of modern surfing. You simply cannot come here and not grab a surfboard, even if you’ve never tried it before.

The archipelago owes its popularity to its gnarly reef breaks; the Banzai Pipeline, Waimea, Hailewa, and Jaws are on every seasoned surfer’s bucket list. Indeed, this is the land of the treacherous reef break; but there are waves for all, from beginners to pros

When thinking of surfing in Hawaii, the islands of Oahu and Maui usually come to mind, and with good reason.

Oahu is home to two legendary surfing destinations – Waikiki and the North Shore. While Waikiki is a famous surfing spot for beginners, albeit with quite a few challenging waves as well, Oahu’s North Shore is the ultimate surfers’ testing ground. This is where you’ll find the scariest, most dangerous, and most photographed reef breaks on the planet, with epic spitting tubes that pro surfers simply can’t resist.

 

When is the best time to surf in Hawaii?

The archipelago is exposed to a 360-degree swell window, which makes it possible to surf in Hawaii all year round.

The best time to surf on Hawaii’s north shores is during winter (October-April), when powerful swells sweep the northern coasts, creating epic conditions. This is a great time to see your favorite pros “at work”. It’s also a good time for beginners to visit the southern shores, where the waves are much smaller and friendlier.

The best time to surf on Hawaii’s south shores is during summer (May-October). Beginners will find plenty of mellow waves during this time. Between July and September, advanced surfers can see certain surf breaks on the southern coasts get double-overhead.

» READ MORE: All You Need to Know About Surfing in Hawaii

 

Mexico

surf-mexico

Mexico’s epic Pacific coastline is dotted with classic point breaks, barreling beach breaks, and uncrowded beaches, while strong offshore winds prevail.

Not only will you find some of the gnarliest waves in the Americas, but also friendly surf spots for beginners and authentic surf towns with all the amenities you could ask for. Plus, it’s an affordable surfing destination and the weather’s warm year-round.

From Baja California to Nayarit, Mazatlán, and all the way to Puerto Escondido, you’ll find an outstanding variety of waves offering something for everyone.

In Baja California Sur, Cabo is famous for its party scene and for its challenging point breaks. In Nayarit, Sayulita is a paradise for beginner surfers and longboarders.

All the while Puerto Escondido is the proud home of the legendary Zicatela. Also known as the “Mexican Pipeline”, it is widely considered the world’s best beach break. Puerto Escondido may be a favorite destination among pro surfers, but there are also waves for all levels near this charming surf town.

 

When is the best time to surf in Mexico?

The best surfing conditions in Mexico can be found between May and October. Southern swells pump all summer, which translates to big and powerful waves. In Puerto Escondido, the surf season is longer, from March till December, with the biggest waves in May-July.

In winter, (November-April), north and west-facing coasts get swells from the North Pacific.

» READ MORE: Surfing in Mexico – Your Guide to the Best Waves

 

Southwest France

surf-southwest-france

Image credit: Le Bon Mot Tours Language Travel

Some of the world’s heaviest barrels, epic big wave surf spots, chic little surf towns, renowned international surfing competitions, delicious food, and scenery that’s nothing short of amazing are on the menu in Southwest France.

The Nouvelle-Aquitaine region has some of the best beach breaks in Europe, spread across Gironde, Landes, and the French Basque Country. Each and every corner along this stretch of coastline exhales surf vibes.

Landes is one of the best places to learn to surf in France, while Biarritz is the birthplace of European surfing.

A remarkable density of world-class beach breaks is scattered along the stretch of coastline between Seignosse and Biarritz. From the heavy and fast spitting barrels at Hossegor and Anglet to the mellow waves at Mimizan-Page in Landes and Grande Plage in Biarritz, beginners and pros alike are spoiled for choice.

 

When is the best time to surf in Southwest France?

France receives constant swells from the Bay of Biscay. For beginners, summer and early autumn have smaller and friendlier waves. For advanced surfers, autumn and winter have bigger and more powerful swells.

Overall, the best surfing conditions in France, for beginners and pros alike, can be found in September, October, and November, when the swells are most consistent. The water is still pretty warm, the winds are mainly offshore, and it’s not as crowded as in summer.

» READ MORE: All You Need to Know About Surfing in Southwest France

 

Peru

surf-peru

Image credit: Surf Racer House Peru

The land of the left-hand point break, Peru is an up-and-coming surfing destination for 2022.

A goofy footer’s paradise, with consistent surf and offshore winds throughout the year, Peru is one of the world’s most affordable surfing destinations. It’s also the proud home of Chicama, the longest wave on the planet.

Surfing in Peru is divided into two distinct regions: Northern Peru (north of Lima) and Southern Peru (near Lima and further south).

Northern Peru is the most popular surfing destination in the country. The water is warm all year round, the weather’s sunny, and there are waves for everyone. Máncora and Huanchaco are the most popular surf towns in Northern Peru, with plenty of surf camps for all levels and easy access to the best waves.

There are several quality surf spots near Lima for beginners and pros alike. And the further south you go, the more deserted the beaches become, the colder the water, and the bigger the waves.

 

When is the best time to surf in Peru?

The best time to surf on the North Coast of Peru is between October and April, during the Southern Hemisphere summer, when northern swells bring warmer water. The biggest swells arrive between January and March.

The best time to surf on the South Coast of Peru is between April and October. The water is much colder during this time of year.

» READ MORE: Surfing in Peru – Your Guide to the Best Waves

 

*Cover image credit: Oceanside Gran Canaria Surf


Make 2022 the best year yet! Because the only way to get better at surfing is to practice more, opt for budget surf camps that enable you to surf more with less.

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