The roll of the wave, the salty taste of the ocean, and the sun hanging high in the sky… what better way to spend the day than spending it on a surfboard? If you’re wondering where to go for your next holiday and you’re determined it will be with a surfboard in tow, here are five of the top surfing destinations in the world to consider…
It will come as no surprise to see Australia’s Gold Coast on the top of this list of surfing destinations… it’s home to some of Australia’s best and most consistent waves, including those found on the Superbank. The Superbank consists of Snapper Rocks, Rainbow Bay Beach, Duranbah and Kirra, and it’s an area of the world beloved by Quiksilver, with the annual Pro Surfing competition being held here.
If you’re new to surfing, stick to Rainbow Bay, but if you want something that gets your heart racing, try ‘the Alley’. It’s officially called Currumbin Alley, and you’ll see it peppered with pros as they negotiate some powerful waves. All that surfing will certainly work up an appetite, so call into the Rainbow Bay Surf Lifesaving Club. Not only will have spectacular views of the surf as the sun is setting in the horizon, but the food is good too.
There’s probably no better place on earth to surf than Hawaii – the birthplace of surfing. You’ll find the most powerful winter waves on Oahu (on both the west shore and the north shore), and it’s also the home of the world’ biggest surfing competition – the Vans Triple Crown.
However, if you’re a beginner, you can take surfing lessons on any of Hawaii’s eight islands, and you’ll certainly find swells that feel right for an amateur at Waikiki Beach. The Kohala Lighthouse is a wonderful place for surfing of all levels of ability (ideal if you’re going as a group of varying levels of experience and confidence on the waves), but you’ll need to remember where the rocks are at low tide. If you decide to spend your time on Waikiki Beach, go for dinner at either Arancino di Mare, or M.A.C 24/7. Both are short distance from the sea, and are currently enjoying rave reviews from happy customers.
Closer to home, (in fact, about as close as it gets) is County Donegal – a location where you’ll find some of the best waves in the Atlantic. Pack your surfboard and an insulating wetsuit (this patch of watch is seriously cold!) and run towards the shore at Bundoran Beach; it’s played host to the European Surfing Championships more than once, and its 2-3 foot swells produce some excellent rippable left and right-handers… just bring something in a thermos flask to warm up with afterwards, or head to a nearby café.
You’ll find great coffee at Stakes Restaurant, and their soup and a sandwich is the perfect lunchtime pick-me-up if you’ve worked up an appetite on your board.
Whether you’re an expert or a beginner, you’ll enjoy some great surfing holidays in Portugal. In fact, it has a huge variety of waves and lots of different swell sizes, which makes it both a great place to learn to surf or somewhere to push yourself to improve. Whether you’re holidaying in the Algarve, Peniche or somewhere else altogether, you’re pretty much guaranteed a good wave: summer waves easily reach 5ft, and winter has occasionally seen waves crashing at a formidable 15ft.
In fact, Portugal holds the Guinness World Record for the largest wave ever surfed, so do make sure you’re not ‘out of your depth’, so to speak. If you fancy combining your surfing holiday with a city break, head to Costa da Caparica: you’re not far from Lisbon, and you can take a short bus ride to this beautiful city if you fancy a spot of shopping, architecture and culture – the bus station is only 500m from the beach.
As you can see, you don’t have to go a million miles from home to find some great surfing. To prove the point a little further, hop on a plane to the Fuerteventura. Being located just off the coast of North Africa, this Canary Island is only a four-hour flight away, making it the perfect place if you fancy a long weekend on the waves. The island’s windy shores make for excellent surf, and the year-round temperate climate mean you’ll enjoy sitting on the golden sand, letting the sun dry your sea-salty hair.
You’ll have a great time in summer, but consider visiting in winter: the wind will be lighter and come from an easterly direction, rather than north. And if you decide you’d like a break from the waves? Fuerteventura has plenty to offer holidaymakers, including a wildlife park and a waterpark… perfect if you fancy letting your inner child out to play!
So, how do these destinations sound to you? Whether you’re up for the long-haul flight to Australia or fancy something closer to home, the waves are out there waiting for you…