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10 Winter Surfing Spots You Need to Check Out [Updated]

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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If you haven’t already made plans for the winter holidays, we have some hot ideas for you to consider. How does watching the sunset from a palm-fringed beach while swinging in a hammock and sipping cocktails in the midst of winter sound? 

Throw in some amazing surfing sessions on some of the world’s best waves and you have yourself a recipe for an unforgettable winter surfing holiday! 

Contrary to popular belief, winter months are a great time to go on a budget surf trip

In the Northern Hemisphere, the best waves come in during winter months. At the same time, it’s summertime in the Southern Hemisphere! So check out our list of the best winter surfing spots, along with some recommendations of awesome surf camps you can join while there.


1. Morocco


Photo by Eelke via Flickr

If the long-haul trip to Indonesia, Hawaii or the Maldives seems like too much of a drag, there’s an equally excellent option closer to Europe. And it’s much cheaper too!

Morocco has become the number one choice for European surfers, especially during those long and cold winter months. Unruly waves like Anchor Point, Killer Point, Safi, Boilers, Imsouane (The Bay) and Essaouira await experienced surfers, while the many surf camps in Taghazout and Agadir welcome beginners looking to catch their first wave, intermediates looking to progress to gree waves, as well as advanced surfers in need of some extra guidance.


Winter is the best time of year to go surfing in Morocco. Excellent swells hit the coast between December and March, while the water temperature stays around 64 °F (18 °C).


Our recommended winter surf camp in Morocco

Have a taste of Moroccan sunshine in the midst of winter on an 8-day all-inclusive surf & yoga camp in Tamraght, which welcomes all levels of surfers. You will enjoy 6 days of surfing lessons, morning or evening yoga classes, and daily meals featuring Moroccan cuisine.


2. Portugal


Known as the ‘Brazil of Europe’, Portugal is a surfing mecca. Why? Are powerful Atlantic swells, wild nightlife, tons of beach bars and Nazaré, the biggest wave ever surfed in history, good enough reasons for you?

With great weather and surf conditions all year round, the prime time to surf in Portugal is between October and April. This time of year means big, powerful waves. Unfortunately, it also means cold water, so get ready to strap on your wetsuit. The average water temperature in December stays around 59 °F (15 °C). But look at the bright side – that mulled wine after a surf session will have never tasted as good.


Our recommended winter surf camp in Portugal

In the historical Coimbra district, in the charming city of Figueira de Foz, the fast and hollow waves of Cabedelo and Europe’s longest right-hand break at Buarcos await surfers from far and wide. Located only 10 minutes from Cabedelo Beach, this 7-day surf camp in Figueira da Foz includes six days of surfing lessons with separate programs for beginners, intermediate, and advanced surfers.


3. The East Coast of Bali


What? Surfing in Bali during the wet season? While this might have sounded a bit crazy a decade ago, more and more surfers flock to Bali’s East Coast between November and March. World-class waves like Serangan, Playgrounds, Nusa Dua, Keramas and Green Balls are firing during winter months, and offer something for all skill levels. What’s more, surfing during the rainy season means uncrowded line-ups.

During the wet season, winds blow from the northwest, producing long barreling breaks for all skill levels. And let us not forget that, during this time of year, water temperature is sick – 79 °F (26 °C)!


Photo by Michael Dawes via Flickr

Our recommended winter surf camp in Bali

Wave hunters from around the world are invited to spend their winter holidays in a heavenly tropical paradise on this revitalizing 8-day surf camp in Badung. Surround yourself with tropical nature and enjoy with daily surfing lessons on the island of the Gods!


4. Australia


Photo by Richard Rydge via Flickr

Winter is a great time to visit the Land Down Under and enjoy…their summer. Australia is a world-famous surfing destination year-round, but there’s no better time to head down here than when the cold winter back home seems like too much to handle.

Water temperature stays at a ‘cool’ 75-79 °F (24-26 °C) in December and January, meaning that you can surf in board shorts and bikinis. It may be summer in the Southern Hemisphere, but it’s also cyclone season. This means great swell, off-season prices, and fewer crowds. And, regardless of the season, Australia’s party scene never rests.


Our recommended winter surf camp in Australia

Experience the thrill of surfing during your winter holidays on a 3-day surf camp in Byron Bay, an excellent opportunity to surf world-class waves, meet other surfers and immerse in local culture and the surrounding natural beauty. Professional surf coaches will introduce beginners to surfing on some of Australia’s best surf beaches, while advanced surfers will be shown the best waves Byron Bay has to offer.


5. Costa Rica


Come and have a taste of La Pura Vida on Costa Rica’s spectacular coasts, where white, golden and gray sand beaches await surfers of all levels throughout the year. Surfing in Costa Rica is broken down into four main areas: the Caribbean Coast, the North Pacific Coast, the Central Pacific Coast, and the South Pacific Coast. All have exceptional surf, with an average water temperature of 86 °F (30 °C).


Our recommended winter surf camp in Costa Rica

Give yourself the rest and peace you deserve as you bid farewell to 2018 and welcome the exciting year ahead on an 8-day affordable surf camp in Santa Teresa, Puntarenas Province, with six days of surf lessons for all levels; organized social night and all meals included.


6. The Canary Islands


Europe’s very own Hawaii, the chain of volcanic islands off the coast of Africa has long been on the international surfing map. Exposed to swells generated by the North Atlantic, with an abundance of consistent hollow reef breaks, year-round sunshine, and vibrant nightlife, the Canary Islands are where European surfers flock to during winter months.

Surfing in the Canary Islands is great all year round, but the best waves hit the coasts between October and March. There is a wide variety of breaks, from beginner friendly to behemoths only pros know how to handle, and from highly accessible to secret spots. Did I mention that water temperature stays at a nice 66 °F (19 °C) in winter?


Our recommended winter surf camp in the Canary Islands

The sleepy fishing village of Caleta de Famara on Lanzarote’s north coast lives for and from water sports, be it surfing, kitesurfing, SUP or kayaking. Here, Playa de Famara welcomes beginners and intermediate surfers on a 7-day family surf & yoga retreat.


7. The Philippines


The surfing capital of the Philippines fires up during winter months when the Pacific Ocean sends powerful swells towards Siargao Island. This is where you’ll find one of the most famous reef breaks on the planet – Cloud 9 – a raging right-hander. While this may be a pros-only wave, there are plenty of breaks for all levels of surfers around the island and on the nearby islands.

Primetime for surfing in the Philippines is between December and April when the average water temperature stays around 80 °F (27 °C).


Photo by Trevor Claringbold via Flickr

Our recommended winter surf camp in the Philippines

Come and enjoy daily surfing and yoga classes on this 7-day all-level surf camp in Baras. This wonderful combination of adventure and relaxation in a tropical paradise includes island hopping, a 2-hour body massage, and daily breakfast.


8. South Africa


Picture this – surfing the legendary Supertubes at J-Bay in the morning and observing elephants in their natural environment in the afternoon! How wild is that?

One of the world’s top surfing destinations, surfing in South Africa is at its best between November and February, although surfing is pretty good all year round.  


Our recommended winter surf camp in South Africa

Ride the best wave in South Africa on this thrilling 5-day surf camp in KwaZulu-Natal, the country’s surfing mecca, and take advantage of the one-on-one instruction for beginners to intermediate surfers!

Durban has some of the best beaches in South Africa, and is home to an exemplary surfing lifestyle and world-famous shapers and surfers. Water temperature drops at a nice 70 °F (21 °C) during the Southern Hemisphere summer, meaning that all you’ll need is bikinis and board shorts if you wish to celebrate New Year’s Eve on these shores.


9. Panama


If it’s secret beaches and remote surf spots you want, look no further than Panama! Just off the east coast of the country, the stunning Bocas del Toro archipelago consists of nine islands, 52 keys, and 200 islets, all with year-round warm water, consistent surf and uncrowded line-ups.


The time to go surfing in Panama is between December and April, when cyclones in the Atlantic send massive swells towards the shore, firing up the numerous reef and beach breaks. Water temperature stays around 80 °F (26 °C) all year.

Our recommended winter surf camp in Panama

Until recently, Playa Venao was a well-kept secret, a wild white-sand beach on the southeastern tip of the Azuero Peninsula. It has now become a go-to destination in Panama and, if you’re looking to catch some waves, you seriously need to add this charming little seaside town to your bucket list. Enjoy four days of surfing lessons, organized social night, and delicious daily meals on this 6-days all-level surf camp in Playa Venao, Los Santos.


10. Southern Province, Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka is a swell magnet. The water is always warm and the waves are not too aggressive, which makes the country a great destination for those learning to surf or progress on green waves. That being said, there are a few surf spots that even advanced surfers will find challenging. 

Sri Lanka has two distinct surfing seasons. The west coast gets clean and reliable waves during the dry season, between November and April. The west coast fires up between May and October. You can surf on the south coast of Sri Lanka all year round, as it benefits from whichever swell hits either coast. The water temperature averages around 81ºF (27 ºC), and there are over 330 days of sunshine a year. 


Our recommended winter surf camp in Sri Lanka

Discover a little slice of paradise that will become your home away from home as you escape the harsh winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Stay in a jungle villa and surf Sri Lanka’s waves like a local.

If you’re looking to catch your first wave or improve your technique, join this 8-days beginner and intermediate surf camp in the Southern Province. You’ll get 5 surf lessons, 3 surf-fitness lessons, your very own surf video with analysis, and a surf-fitness evaluation form, Plus, you are free to use the camps surfboards as much as you like during your stay. 


Are you looking to jump-start your New Year’s resolution by trying something new and improving your skills? Why not go on a surf and yoga camp and wave goodbye to 2018 from an exotic location?

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