The World’s Top 20 Surfing Spots

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Uluwatu and Kuta, Bali, Indonesia

Bali has some of the world most sought after surf beaches, with everything from the beginner level clean and manageable straight breaks of Kuta to the hard curves and powerful tunnels that crop up in Uluwatu, it’s hard to choose a top spot. The island draws in some of the most impressive surfers from Australia and America as it offers a relaxing atmosphere to train whilst they enjoy a low cost holiday and take advantage of the vivid Balinese culture.

Cloud Nine, Siargao Island, Philippines


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Okay, so Cloud Nine definitely makes it into the top 20 surfing spots… if you’re crazy. As most of you are, here we go; welcome to a crashing rolling powerful tunnel that plunges down onto razor sharp coral! ‘Oh dear’ I hear you say, but never fear, if you survive the push you’ll be right back out to try it again.

If you’ve ever heard of a Cornish Pasty, imagine one of these, made of water, wrapping around you as the potato blasts the underside of your board funnelling you towards the light.

Lima, Peru

Don’t be put off by the seemingly drab pebble beach sinking into gray water, some of the surf along the coast of Lima will change the way you look at waves.

From a meter to death defying, the waves kindly choose to break in three sections; almost as if they were large, medium and small suited to your abilities. You can expect clean, long rides from the break to the shore, but keep your mouth closed, the waters surrounding Lima are not clean!

Special K, Samoa

Special K is a spot some 500 meters off the southern coast of Samoa that can only be accessed by boat. A great place to relax as it is right out in the middle of the ocean, providing a real medium grade, not too intimidating surf for beginners to work towards, others to practice on and professionals to warm up with before they take on the island swell.

Sultans, North Male, Maldives


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A relliable reef wave ploughing through the Maldives’ incredible 1,190 coral islands. The Sultans is swarming with surf-holiday makers in the late Spring and early Summer, for good reason. It is advisable to surf with Sultans with a professional or a live aboard outfit as the area is known for hidden rocks and locals will know what zones to avoid.

Cloudbreak, Tavarua Island, Fiji

If you’re really looking for a spot that anyone can surf, head to Tavarua Island. The range is massive from gnarly hard cutting tunnel to lapping layers a child would be safe surfing.

The area known as Cloudbreak, on the other hand, is reserved only for the hardcore. The power behind this hollow wave has been building from 1,600 meters off the coast and can build up to ten meters in height.

Pipeline, Oahu, Hawaii, United States 

Not for the feint hearted, most surfers will never make it to a level to take on the Pipeline.

Of course, it is in Hawaii, the hole of surfing and it is anywhere up to six meters making it one of the heaviest waves in the world.

Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

A totally relaxed town with a backing beat of reggae, this spot is a bit of a Mecca for European travvelers where they take their pick of waved from a 70-kilometer stretch of white sand beach boasting surf for for all levels of boardies.

Also… never fear, a shark net is here!

Supertubes, Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa

Jeffreys Bay Open 2014

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A place for the experts, Jeffrey’s bay is divided into sections: Boneyards, Kitchen Windows, Magna Tubes, and the world famous Supertubes. Expect rides up to three hundred meters in length with a force behind you like a charging bull.

Montanita Beach, Montanita, Ecuador

A special area with few travellers, Mantanita Beach was only printed onto maps in the last few years and if often overlooked by holiday makers who head straight through Ecuador to the Golapogas.

There are barely 1,000 locals in the area and if you visit, which I recommend you do, expect a friendly crowd! After a day of vicious right-hand breaks, head to the après-surf on the village’s bar street, meet the ones who make this area come to life and talk surfing with those who know the area.

White Beach, Okinawa, Japan

Another great spot that suits almost everyone, White Beach is one of the only sandbars in Okinawa. Almost the area is busy you can practice here and warm up for the slightly more crazy reef breaks down the way; from Aha-Yoko to Suicide Cliffs, you can just keep building until you hit your limit.

Superbanks, Gold Coast, Australia

Known as one of the world’s finest breaks, boasting tubes and thick walls, Superbanks will blow your socks off, or booties, but don’t get too exhausted as the nearest parking to the surf is a good 2km away and the walk back with your surfboard can feel longer than the way there.

Sao Francisco do Sul, Brazil

Just below San Paulo, on the easterly coast you will find curving high quality sandbar, known for semi national surfing competitions. It has a great feel to it with a lot to do and fun in the air. You can wind down in one of the light hearted feeling beach bars and be sure to try the local food.

Killer Point, Taghazoute, Morocco


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Expect a complete mash up of Middle Eastern and African culture. This small town was discovered by a group of hippies in the early 1960’s and is home to wrapping tunnels, powerful breaks and many Killer Whales, hence the name ‘Killer Point’.

Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

Noe only an awesome surf spot but an all round tropical experience. Share this beach with wild monkeys (be warned they may steal your food) and elephants watching from the forest. Aurga is all about the all round experience.

Baja Malibu, Baja Norte, Mexico

Expect an exposed break with powerful winds, but an all-round hard-core experience. Ride both ways and rely on a sand based bottom to break your tumble; but be aware of powerful rip tides.

Tamarindo Beach, Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Yet another spot that works for all levels of surfer, enjoy a 500 meter stretch and warm water that can build up to give you a three meter wave. Tamarindo is a favourite for nature, with monkey and parrots jeering and cheering you as you wipe out.

Carrapateira, Portugal

One of our European favories, Carrapateria boasts a great deal of rock shelter with waves reaching anywhere up to 3 meters. Remember this is Portugal so if you take a coastal walk, be sure to be comfortable with nudity.

The Bubble, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands


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Like so many beaches in the Canaries, this tight right-hand tube wave works best when it’s head high or more. Although it is short the ride is worth it and the plunge is satisfying.

Surfer’s Point, Barbados

Head to the most southerly peak of this paradise shore and gaze out at those perfect glassy waters. Expect beginner-to-intermediate swell the entire length of the beach coming from both directions. TraveleZe


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Travel Writer TraveleZe
Jack Van Toorn, International Travel Writer and Guide Editor, currently Island Hopping from Thailand to Micronesia.

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