Surfing is a fantastic sport that not only keeps you fit but also is a great and coles knit community. Surfing the best surf spots around the world has always been a dream of mine.
In this article, I will not only detail some of my top pics but also tips for new and maybe not so new surfers on how to conduct yourself to ensure you are accepted into the local surfing communities.
Getting to a surf spot is only half the journey. Learning the ways and etiquette that will make you part of the culture will ensure your surfing experience is a success no matter what the weather, swell or water conditions are like.
Florida boasts some of the best surfing in the world catering to all levels, ages and abilities.
For anyone new to the surfing community, Cocoa Beach is the home of the legend Kelly Slater, six time world surfing champion. Contrary to expectation despite being home to the most famous surf shop in the world (Ron Jon Surf Shop), this beach is a little less crowded than others. The waves are great for longboarders and beginners alike.
New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna Beach has more than 13 miles of white sandy beaches along the Atlantic coast and boasts some of the most consistent waves in the entire state. This allows those more experienced riders to practice and perfect their techniques.
St. Augustine is home to some of the oldest surf scenes and tightest knit suf communities. In between this very old surf town and Daytona lies the Flagler Beach with more than six miles of sand that you will have mostly to yourself. It's great for beginners.
Just to the North of Flagler Beach you will find Ormond This does have more of a resort type of vibe, but still managed to retain some of an old town feel. This is a great place to learn especially if you have never surfed before.
Palm Beach, Reef Road
Just South of Sebastian Inlet, is the awesome Palm Beach. Reef Road is one of the newer surf spots, but with waves that can max out at fifteen feet, its fast becoming known as one of the best surf spots in Florida. This is not the spot you want to surf if you are just starting out though.
Florida is one of the gems of the surfing world as it’s waters are warm most of the year round. Usually the surfing season stretches from August into mid spring.
Bali has long been known as one of the best surfer destinations in the world. With slower waves for beginners to long barreling waves for the more experienced and superb vibes, this is a surfers dream holiday.
This spot has grown in popularity over the years, not just with surfers but families and tourists alike. However this spot has managed to maintain a laidback and unpretentious vibe.
The wave has remained constant over the years but is still more suited to the intermediate surfer who’s looking to improve their skill.
With the influx of new surfers, the facilities have improved with new restaurants and cafes even surf schools offering lessons for all levels. Bali offers many great spots for surfing, but here are our top pics.
This wave breaks over a reef, but in a mid to high tide the water is fairly deep and there is little to no chance of hitting the rocks. If you are a beginner, don’t be put off. Beginners can suf here, but be warned, this is a spot favored by intermediate and experts too. Read our guide to surfer etiquette to make sure you don’t upset anyone when you are learning.
This is a beach where the intermediate surfer can play and hone their skill. With a mostly sandy bottom, the wave is fairly fast but you aren't likely to find it barreling.
Old Man’s Surf Spot
This is a superb spot for the beginner. Just on the other side of the channel from Batu Bolong, you will find this slow peeling wave great for practicing and learning techniques. This spot can be frequented by intermediate surfers too, but there’s room on the wave for all to play together.
For the beginner and those looking for just some good old family fun, October to March is a great time to visit.
If you are an experienced or advanced surfer then April to September is the best time to enjoy the larger waves of the dry season.
When you see a red and yellow flag flying, it means that lifeguards are patroling. You should make sure you surf / board between the flags.
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hese flags are the areas marked for surfing and kayaking / paddle boarding. They will usually but not always be inside the red and yellow flags indicating guard patrols.
If there are no flags then surf at your discretion, however if the flags are up then obey the rules!
South Africa has some fantastic surf spots, but Jeffreys Bay is by far the most popular. It boasts some of the best right handed surfing in the world. Not to mention it’s the place for some of the best surfing competitions.
The Town itself is small but bustles with Surfers tourists and families. Accommodation is plentiful, but be careful to check ahead of time in case a competition is running as these tend to make accommodation a little scarce.
If you dream of travelling to a welcoming surfing community that offers Summer most of the year round then definitely put Jeffreys Bay on the top of your travel destination list.
Signs to observe: South Africa is home to some very large sharks. Although shark attacks are rare. Be sure to observe the flags that cantell you when its safe to go into the water.
Jellyfish are also a problem. Being on a surfboard is not fun when you are surrounded by stinging tentacles.
Jeffreys Bay is an all year round surfing destination, but for the most consistent waves May to August is the better times to visit.
On the Southern Atlantic coast just North of Agadirlies the beautiful town of Taghzout.
This spot is a favourite amongst surfers the world over, especially for those who love riding right handed waves. This scenic destination is family friendly, but not known for its night life as alcohol is prohibited from being drunk in public. If you are keen for a pure surfing and relaxed type of vibe then this is the destination you’re looking for.
October to April is the best time to catch good waves. May to August there are hardly any good waves and the town becomes very popular with non surfer tourists and families.
Reglan is a superb chilled town in Newzealand that is great for all kinds of surfers, but especially those who love a left handed break. The town has 4 notable spots with a variety of conditions to suit all levels.
This is a site that is not for the timid or inexperienced. If you are just starting out, this spot is not for you. But if you are skilled and fancy a challenge then Whale Bay won’t disappoint.
For an area famed for its less than forgiving breaks, Ngarunui Beach offers an alternative for the less experienced surfer. Just North of Reglan, this long stretch of beach provides consistent waves that are great for honing your skills.
This is a superb spot that caters for almost all abilities. Something to bear in mind though. If the surf in Reglan is one foot then the surf in Ruapuke is at least three to four times that. The water here can get pretty crowded with surfers. Be sure you know the general surfing etiquette of the area as well as more conventional rules.
Was made famous by the movie Endless Sumer. Or maybe it was this fantastic long left handed break that in fact made the movie. This wave can be found a short journey West of Reglan and offers one of the longest rides in the world. The wave height can range anywher from two to ten feet.
If you don’t mind cold water and are looking for big waves then winter is the time to visit. For those looking for milder weather and more sociable surf then summer is your time.
Thousand of surfers every year flock to Skeleton bay and with the potential of mile long barreling waves there’s little wonder why.
With multiple video’s of him riding more than thirty second long waves, Corey Lopez put this wave on the map as far back as 2000. Since then it has become one of the best known and loved left handed surfing spots in the world.
This wave is certainly not for th beginner or less experienced. The wave is also not particularly easy to get to. It’s located on the remote skeleton coast. The roads are sand and you will need a decent vehicle. The Bushman’s name for this coast is. “The land god made in anger.”
If you are up to the challenge and feel you have the skills then this is a once in a lifetime destination.!
The season for the best swells is between April and October.
This may seem like a no brainer, but you are not the only person in the water. Observe your fellow surfers. The rules of surfing are not written down but rather are a code that is followed. This code does change depending on where you are in the world but if you show your intent to be a considerate surfer you will be far more likely to tolerate.
These are the basic rules when it comes to wave priority. Be sure to check with other surfers to be sure though as this can change from spot to spot.
The one who is furthest out, or been waiting longest has priority
The one who is closest to the peak of the breaking wave has priority
The first person to their feet claims the wave
In all things communication is key. Find out which of these apply to your area of the coast.
Remember you are a guest. Show respect to those others around you and it will go along way to improving not only your surfing but your overall enjoyment of the area.
If you are surfing in a large group then stagger your day. Let the local also play with you and it will be a good day all round.
Its sometimes nice when a friend drops in uninvited and surprises you, but not when its on a wave you have worked hard to catch.
This term refers to someone who cuts off another surfer who is up and riding and cuts their ride short. If you observe the pecking order and communicate you should be fine.
If you do make a mistake then make your apology and make it genuine. Don’t just say “sorry” and then do the same thing again and again.
Snaking is when you padel around someone to get yourself closest to the break. This is a sure way to get your self into trouble.
You may be skilled enough to catch every wave, but that doesn’t mean you should. Shar the water and let those less skilled than you learn.
Don’t cut across other surfers paths especially when they are up and riding. Watch your surroundings and be observant.
If you are a beginner then stick to the waves that will enable you to learn. Don’t be a hazard to the more experienced surfers out there.
Hey, I'm Brad - the founder and editor of Watercraft Watch. My love for boating is what prompted me to start WatercraftWatch.com – helping people find the right equipment and supplies so they can enjoy their time on the water. I hope you find the articles on the site useful, and share in my love for boating.