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Catch a wave: the 10 best surfing spots in the world

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Surfing is more than just a sport—it’s a lifestyle. It’s the thrill of catching a wave, the salt on your skin, and the feeling of freedom as you ride the water. But where are the best places to surf? We’ve rounded up the top 10 surfing spots in the world, from classic destinations to hidden gems. Get ready to pack your bags and catch some waves!

World's best surfing spots
Credit: Luke Mckeown

Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu, Hawaii is one of the most iconic and legendary surfing destinations in the world. It’s the birthplace of modern surfing and home to some of the most famous breaks on the planet. The island’s warm waters, consistent waves, and stunning scenery make it a must-visit for any surfer.

One of the main draws of Oahu for surfers is the variety of breaks available. From the beginner-friendly waves at Waikiki Beach to the world-famous Banzai Pipeline, there’s something for surfers of all levels. Waikiki Beach is a great spot to learn how to surf, with gentle waves and plenty of surf schools and instructors available. Meanwhile, experienced surfers will be challenged by the powerful and hollow waves at Banzai Pipeline, which break over a shallow reef.

World's best surfing spots
Credit: Josh Withers

Gold Coast, Australia

Known as one of the world’s premier surfing spots, this region in Australia is a mecca for surfers from all around the globe. One of the reasons that the Gold Coast is such a surfer’s paradise is the sheer variety of breaks available. From gentle, rolling waves at Currumbin Alley to the challenging barrels at Snapper Rocks, there’s something here to suit every skill level. The stretch of coastline between Burleigh Heads and Snapper Rocks, known as the “Superbank,” is particularly famous for producing some of the longest and most perfect waves in the world.

But it’s not just the waves that make the Gold Coast a great place for surfing. The water temperature is warm year-round, rarely dropping below 70°F (21°C). This means that you can surf comfortably without needing a wetsuit, even during the cooler months. Additionally, the Gold Coast is home to world-class surf schools and instructors, making it an ideal place for beginners to learn the ropes.

World's best surfing spots
Credit: Janilson Furtado

Jeffreys Bay, South Africa

Surfing in Jeffreys Bay in South Africa is an experience unlike any other. Specifically, the town’s most famous surf break, the “Supertubes,” offers surfers an adrenaline-fueled ride with waves reaching up to 12 feet in height. For those who are not quite ready for such an extreme challenge, the town also offers plenty of gentler waves that are perfect for beginners or those looking to improve their skills. Markedly with a variety of surf schools and rental shops, anyone can give surfing a try in Jeffreys Bay.

But Jeffreys Bay is not just a surfing destination – it’s also a thriving town with a vibrant cultural scene. Furthermore visitors can explore local art galleries and shops, indulge in delicious South African cuisine, and soak up the town’s relaxed atmosphere. With its unique blend of surf culture and local charm, Jeffreys Bay truly offers the best of both worlds for adventurous travellers seeking an unforgettable experience.

World's best surfing spots
Credit: David Gor 

Bali, Indonesia

Nestled amidst the verdant archipelago of Indonesia lies the tropical paradise of Bali – a haven for the adventurous and the nature enthusiast alike. And if one is seeking to partake in the exhilarating sport of surfing, there are few destinations that can rival the majestic waves of this island.

Bali’s warm waters and consistent swells make it a surfer’s dream. With a coastline that stretches for over 500 kilometers, there are endless spots to choose from, each offering its unique set of challenges and rewards. From the world-famous breaks of Uluwatu and Padang Padang to the lesser-known gems of Medewi and Balian, there’s no shortage of waves to conquer.

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World's best surfing spots
Credit: Jeffrey Brandje

Hossegor, France

Located on the southwestern coast of France is one of the world’s best surfing spots: Hossegor is a haven for surfing enthusiasts in search of the ultimate wave-riding experience. With its picturesque sandy beaches, vibrant local culture, and consistent surf conditions, Hossegor offers an exceptional surfing experience that caters to both novices and seasoned surfers.

One of the key attractions of Hossegor is its stunning coastline, which boasts some of the finest beach breaks in Europe. La Gravière beach, located at the northern end of Hossegor, is considered the epicenter of surfing in the region. It is renowned for its powerful waves that can surge up to four meters, providing a challenging ride for even the most experienced surfers. Alternatively, La Nord and Les Estagnots are excellent options for beginners, with consistent waves that offer an ideal platform for learning and improving your skills.

World's best surfing spots
Credit: Wonderlane

Santa Cruz, California

Nestled on the sunny coast of Northern California, this beachside town is a surfer’s paradise, offering some of the best waves in the world. Known for its consistent, year-round surf, Santa Cruz attracts surfers from all over the globe. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, there’s a wave for every level of surfer here.

What sets Santa Cruz apart from other surf destinations is its variety of breaks. From the legendary Steamer Lane to the beginner-friendly Cowell’s Beach, there’s something for everyone. But it’s not just about the waves – Santa Cruz’s vibrant surf culture is what really sets it apart. Home to iconic surf brands like O’Neill and Santa Cruz Skateboards, the town is steeped in surfing history. Surf shops line the streets, while beachside cafes and bars are filled with locals and visitors alike, all sharing stories of their latest wave. So if you’re looking for a surf trip that combines world-class waves with a laid-back vibe, Santa Cruz is the destination for you.

World's best surfing spots
Credit: Ice Tea

Maldives

Located in the Indian Ocean, this tropical paradise is a dream destination for wave-riders from around the world. With crystal-clear waters, warm temperatures, and perfect waves, it’s no wonder that the Maldives is considered one of the best surfing destinations in the world.

The Maldives is a chain of 26 atolls, and each one offers something unique for surfers. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced pro, you’ll find a wave that suits your level of skill. The Maldives is home to some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world, and it’s important to do your part to protect them. Don’t touch the coral or litter in the water, and avoid using single-use plastics.

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World's best surfing spots
Credit: Delphine Ducaruge

Byron Bay, Australia

Another Australian destination on the best surfing spots list, Byron Bay is a laid-back surf town with plenty of great breaks. The water is warm and clear, and the scenery is stunning. The Pass is a popular spot for both beginners and experienced surfers, and there are plenty of other breaks to explore along the coast. Its warm temperatures and consistent waves make it a paradise for surfers of all levels. Some of the best spots to catch a wave include The Pass, Wategos Beach, Belongil Beach, and Tallows Beach. However, it’s important to be physically prepared and equipped for the powerful and fast waves. Additionally, respect for the local culture and marine life is essential.

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