Imagine riding those crests wearing nothing but a pair of shorts or a tiny swimsuit, soaking in the sun, finding shade in swinging hammocks on palm-fringed beaches and getting a tan that arouses envy. That’s how surfing in tropical water feels – like you’ve just died and gone to heaven!
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, more relaxed and can, therefore, focus more on your technique. But they all agree there is a time and place for both warm and cold-water surfing.
A study conducted by the University of Oxford reveals that promoting surfing destinations with the best breaks can help spike economic growth by 2.2 percent each year. When surfers discover a new break and begin to frequent it, they open new doors for investment and the development of the local tourism industry. In fact, many of today’s top surfing spots began as sleepy fishing villages. It is, therefore, safe to say that surfers are trendsetters when it comes to recognizing the potential of new destinations and can smell what is cool before anyone else.
So ditch the wetsuit, escape the cold winter and head out to the following warm-water surfing destinations where you can hang ten any time of year!
Photo by jeffr_travel
With some of the best waves in Central America, Nicaragua has an ace up its sleeve – its surf season is longer than the average, spanning nine whole months between March and November. Between December and April, the mellow winds make it a great destination for beginners and intermediate surfers.
Between May and November, the more experienced wave riders flock to the country’s hardcore point and reef breaks. 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 down to the left-hand point break known as Lance’s Left. You can get here by boat from Playa Gigante or by hiking from Astillero.
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4. Costa Rica
Photo by Efrain Gonzalez Buitrago
A legendary surfing destination, Costa Rica is a point break paradise and the country of la Pura Vida. With two coastlines, one opening up to the Caribbean and one to the Pacific, the beaches here are blessed with plenty of high-quality waves hitting both sides and consistent swell all year round.
The major surf season in Costa Rica lasts between April and October. Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast is home to the country’s biggest waves. Playa Naranjo, Playa Grande and Playa Negra are considered the best surfing spots on the North Pacific coast. Also here, Playa Tamarindo receives constant warm winds, making its left-hand breaks excellent for rookies and pros alike.
Photo by Duncan Rawlinson - Duncan.co - @thelastminute
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 best waves can be found between May and August.
The indisputable surfing paradise in Tahiti is Teahupo’o, a big wave spot that counts seven top-notch reef breaks along a five-mile (8 km) stretch of beach. No wonder it is the venue of the annual Billabong Pro Tahiti Surf Competition. With some of the world’s fastest waves, Teahupo’o is reserved for seasoned surfers.
For beginners, Papara is a great place to start. Tahiti still has great untapped surfing potential, with plenty of reef breaks that are simply off-the-radar.
2. The Maldives
Photo by Anantara Journeys
A total of 1,190 coral islands make up the 26 ring-shaped atolls in the Indian Ocean known as the Maldives. No wonder the waves here are considered among the best in the world. The swell normally reaches a shoulder to head height and the waves aren’t as powerful as those hitting the Indonesian archipelago. This does not mean they are any less spectacular. Their beauty lies in the almost perfect barrels and incredibly long rides, which make the Maldives a great destination for intermediate and advanced surfers.
The best time to take a surfing trip in the Maldives is between March and October, with the biggest waves forming between June and August. With amazingly consistent swell, there’s always something to do, and surfing spots can be found throughout the country, all close to each other.
Photo by Michael Dawes
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. Between April and September, the sun-bathed island in the Indonesian archipelago gets consistent swell, which is translated into world-class waves.
Photo by Sergey Blokhin
With gentle beach breaks and plenty of surf schools, Kuta Beach is excellent for beginners and intermediates. It is also the most popular and most crowded in Bali. Luckily, there are dozens of premier breaks within driving distance of Kuta Beach, offering a variety of waves for all levels and tastes. 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.
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 that wetsuit even on sunny days? It’s time for a change of scenery, so head to BookSurfCamps.com and choose a surf camp in the warm-water paradise of Indonesia