Some people judge the best surf spots by the perfect wave, others by the biggest. And many just like a scenic beach and a fun surf town to go along with their sport. Taking into account all these factors, here are our all-around Top 10 surf spots from around the globe. Get packing.
1. Mentawai Islands, Indonesia
Accessible only by ferries and charter flights, the Mentawai Islands are virgin, wave-rich archipelagos off the coast of Sumatra. Warm water, consistent waves, cove after cove of palm trees, countless islands to explore – it’s no wonder this is often listed by surfers as their favorite destination in the world. The southern and northern points of Pagi, Siparo, and Siberut are particularly popular surf spots, especially June through September.
2. Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa
Many pros consider Jeffrey’s Bay to be the best right-hand ride in the world. Long, fast barrels roll off an intense point break, and there are a variety of areas to choose from – Kitchen Windows, Magna Tubes, Albatross, Boneyards and the infamous Supertubes. Known as simply “J Bay,” this incredibly scenic surf destination is located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.
3. Superbank, Gold Coast, Australia
Also called “Surfer’s Paradise,” this portion of the Gold Coast is known for its 70 km of beaches and four epic point breaks – the most celebrated of which is Superbank. This break produces perfect tubes and solid walls. Just save some energy for the two-kilometer walk along the beach back to where your car is parked.
4. Peninsula de Nicoya, Costa Rica
The Nicoya Peninsula is famous for its white-sand beaches, turquoise waters and some of the best surfing on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. Visit Mal Pais for world-class, intermediate waves and breathtaking views. Old-growth forest spills down to the shore, where rocky outcroppings alternate with sandy stretches and beaches made up entirely of tiny shells. A great place to stay is the beach town of Montezuma, which is increasingly popular among international jetsetters and homeowners.
5. Misiones, Cabo, Mexico
Misiones provides the complete lifestyle combo, with wide sandy beaches, breaks of various difficulties, warm water, incredible food, high-class seaside resorts and pulsing nightlife. And best of all, it’s close to home if you live in California.
6. El Porto in Manhattan Beach
If you don’t have time to leave Southern California, try the break at El Porto, right here in our very own Manhattan Beach. Laid back, not too crowded, with plenty of surf history – El Porto’s a magical place where Hollywood execs and construction workers surf side by side, united by their love of the California beach lifestyle.
7. Buzios, Brazil
Brazil is a country with thousands of surf spots, and Geriba beach, in Buzios, is one of the best. The long, rideable waves are paired with a fun-loving beach atmosphere and local flavor. There are some great bars at which to mingle with the Cariocas and watch the surfers and the sunset, while enjoying some delicious Brazilian grub.
8. Puerto Escondido, Mexico
This 600-foot long stretch of beach in the Mexican state of Oaxaca has become a surf mecca in recent decades, sometimes called “The Mexican Pipeline.” You can surf Puerto Escondido at a variety of locations including “Kiddie Break,” The Point, Zicatela Beach. The infamous pipe at Zicatela is what draws most surfers to Escondido.
9. Cloudbreak, Tavarua Island, Fiji
There are plenty of beginner surf spots in the South Pacific, but Cloudbreak is not one of them. This experts-only break is a harsh, hollow wave that forms about one mile off the coast and holds for up to 1500 feet, reaching 30 or more feet in size. Tavarua Island may be an easygoing paradise, but this wave will get your heart beating like a rhythmic Fijian drum.
10. Pipeline, Oahu
This is one of those waves that scares the living Jesus out of most of us, but excites the true surfer. The most famous spot for big-wave surfing in the world, most surfers will never be expert enough to ride here, but those who do will remember it their whole life. Take on the ultimate wave, 30 feet over a bed of razor-sharp coral, then drive back and unwind at The Ritz Carlton at Waikiki. You’ve earned it.