Top Five Surfing Destinations in the World

Top Five Surfing Destinations in the World

Top Five Surfing Destinations in the World

What was once a sport that only royalty and the upper class participated in is now commonplace all over the world. Although surfing dates back to the 1700’s, it has evolved only slightly over the centuries. Intimidated by the waves?  Join the other spectators sunbathing on the beach and playing volleyball and you can watch all the action unfold from the shore.  Whether you’re a beginner or a kamikaze, these five destinations are sure to unleash your inner surfer and give you an unforgettable ride. Surf’s up!

Huntington Beach, California

©Kirstin Scholtz

When it comes to surfing, Huntington Beach lacks neither history or passion.  California is a true surfing Mecca, sought after by the best-of-the-best to show off their skills. Known as Surf City, USA, Huntington Beach has the largest population of any beach in Orange County, California, and is also home to the first ever pro-surfing competition and the first ever televised surfing event.  There are now over 50 days of professional surfing competitions held here including the world’s largest competition, the U.S. Open of Surfing, which takes place near the renowned Municipal Pier.  Enthusiasts also travel here to visit the International Surfing Museum, Surf Walk of Fame and the Surfers’ Hall of Fame.

With beaches facing four different directions and the legendary Santa Ana winds, Huntington Beach is a desirable surfing destination offering unique conditions.  The swells hold quite a reputation; not for their height, but for being the most consistent on the West Coast.  However, be prepared to fight for your wave of choice, as the waters can get crowded with eager surfers waiting for their chance at the perfect ride.  And don”t forget your wet suit, because the water stays cold almost year-round.

Waimea Bay Beach, Hawaii

It is argued that surfing originated in Hawaii, which is now home to some of the most prestigious surfers from around the world. Waimea Bay Beach, located on the North Shore in Oahu, features 112 miles of shoreline and is considered to be the heart of Hawaii. The shore”s strong rip current and wave height often leave people feeling skeptical about attempting to catch a wave, however, tow-in surfing has made riding one of the most spectacular waves in the world more approachable. Surf here any time, but take heed during the Winter months when swells can reach over 30 feet!  Hawaii has taken surfing from a sport to a cultural phenomenon.  Surfing is a way of life for the locals, so when you visit be sure and sign up for surfing lessons with experienced instructors so you can learn how to paddle out and catch a wave like the pros.

Queensland, Australia

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When you hear Australia mentioned in the news it is often about salt water crocodiles, jellyfish or cyclones.  However, with thousands of miles of coastline and approximately 287 sunny days a year, how can atoledo you not be intrigued about planning a visit?  Surfers Paradise Beach, located on the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia, is referred to as the heart of tourism.

Although this is a place with many dangers, the Gold Coast is home to some of the most desired beaches around the world, and is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts alike.  With over 35 miles of coastline and a 492-foot wide beach, overpopulation can still occur due to the high percentage of tourists.  Alternate areas with first-class waves for surfers of any skill level include the renowned Burleigh Heads on the East Coast, and the Margaret River region on the West Coast. Whether you want to shop, dine, relax or surf, the white sandy beaches of Australia offer something for everyone.

Gisborne, New Zealand

New Zealand is a country that encompasses a unique variety of firsts. You can be the first person in the world to greet the sun in the early morning at Wainui Beach in Gisborne, and if you’re looking for a good swell check out the Gizzy Pipe, (but wait until the sun is highest in the afternoon otherwise the waves are a bust). The swells at Wainui Beach are consistent and feature a variety of waves ranging from small to large, but the fast-breaking hollow tubing waves make surfing here a challenge.

Another first for New Zealand includes a pro surfing event that has never traveled here before 2011: the O’Neill Coldwater Classic Series searches for the harshest surfing conditions around the world for their competition.  Pro surfers lay everything on the line as they attempt vertical drops down the waves while fighting the icy temperatures of the waters. The O”Neil Coldwater Classic is one of the most popular and well respected surfing events in the world where only the most talented pro surfers can compete.

Teahupoo, Tahiti

Found on the southwest tip of Tahiti, still unknown to many mainstream surfers, the small town of Teahupoo is noted for having the heaviest wave in the world.  This surfing hot-spot is reserved for four-star qualified surfers only.  Translated into English, Teahupoo means something along the lines of “to sever the head.”  Between their cyclone-shaped swells and colossal lips, only those brave enough dare to challenge this intense barrel wave.

Being caught in the falling lip of a wave can send a surfer underwater so deep and so fast that the pressure change breaks their eardrums and the capillaries in their lungs.  Fractures and broken bones are not uncommon in Teahupoo.  Although the risks are high, for surfers who are destined to put themselves in the center of the kinetic vortex of these big waves, the bragging rights, if you survive, are legit.  We recommend you catch these waves before they catch you.

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