Go to Where the Surf Is Up

Surfing is an unforgettable experience. The feel of the water rushing around you as you balance carefully on a surfboard, the fun of watching the waves come in while looking for just the right one to ride… it’s a combination of adrenaline and relaxing adventure all at the same time.

I’ve been lucky enough to have lived in two places known for their surf spots: Cascais, Portugal, and San Francisco, California. It was fun sitting on the beach, watching surfers take control of the waves that they rode. They enjoyed their hobby. Nothing stopped them – not the threat of sharks, nor the cold water (not to mention the danger of riding waves in an unchecked ocean!) There are some surfers who travel the world, looking for the best spots, which include:

Hawaii, United States

Hawaii has a number of great places to surf. Some of the best waves in the world can be caught at Pipeline in Oahu, while those at Honolulu Bay on Maui are nothing to overlook either. Hanalei Bay is a good spot as well, but leave the waves at Backdoor to the professionals. Of course, you can always sit on the beach and watch!


Carrapateira is an excellent place to surf that is, thankfully, usually not full of other surfers. You might see one or two out there, but you definitely won’t have to compete for waves. Another great surf spot is Pedra Branca Ericeira, which locals and tourists alike claim that is has some of the best waves in Europe.

California, United States

California is home to many great surf spots, from Black’s Beach in San Diego to Surfrider Beach in Malibu. Both are known for their high quality waves, but you’ll have to go at nonpeak times, as the secret is out – and the ocean quickly fills up with surfers. Other good spots to try are Trestles in Orange County and Rincon in Santa Barbara.

Costa Rica

Whether you’re a beginner, an experienced hobbyist, or a professional, Tamarindo Beach in Tamarindo has a wave for you. The water here is warm, and you’ll have an audience of howler monkeys, parakeets, and of course, your fellow surfers.


Superbank on the Gold Coast is known for its tight waves. However, the 2 mile trek from the parking lot to the water may take up too much of your energy. If you aren’t in great physical shape, you may want to simply sit and watch. Another good place in Australia – The Box in the Margaret River Valley – but has plenty of sharks that you’ll need to watch out for!


Be prepared for cold water and great waves at Bundoran Beach in County Donegal. The waves here are shaped by the reefs and rocks, and although the ocean in this area may be green, you’ll be in for a good time.


If you want to enjoy some privacy while you surf, then look no further than Nihiwatu in Sumba. The beach is private, meaning that you need to be staying nearby and have permission before venturing onto the sand, but it will be nice to catch some waves without needing to compete for a spot. If you aren’t lucky enough to have access, then consider surfing at Lance's Right, Sipora, Mentawais Islands, Sumatera Barat. This is a tiny fishing village on a small island with a big name – and some equally big waves.

Of course a country made up of numerous islands has some excellent places to surf.

For additional surf information, and/or specific surf spots, check out the “Zagat” for surf travel: www.surfline.com/travel/

Remember that you’re never too old – or too young – to learn how to surf. As soon as your kids know how to walk, they should be in the ocean, learning that it’s nothing to be afraid of. Once they’re strong swimmers, and they express interest in surfing, start them off with a body board. The fun only doubles from there.

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