Most people consider surfing a sport for the sun-drenched shores of Southern California, Hawaii or Australia in places where tanned surfer boys and women can ride waves in paradise. Whereas there’s a kernel of truth to that stereotype, surfing has come a long way since the times of the Beach Boys and Gidget. It’s really a worldwide phenomenon, showing up in such numerous places as India and Morocco. VacayDaze highlights a couple of surprising locations to catch a wave and hang 10!
Nazare, Portugal has what several consider to be the biggest waves within the world, cresting as high as eighty feet. Nazaré is a well-liked surfing destination thanks to its terribly high breaking waves that form thanks to the presence of the underwater Nazaré ravine. Because the ravine creates constructive interference between the incoming swell waves, it makes their heights a lot of larger on this stretch of coast.
The large Waves season in Nazare is between October and March, which is winter season in Portugal, however April works too in some years.
For those that have to book the trip beforehand, a minimum stay of two weeks within the region is suggested to make sure that you catch at least one day of large waves although a three week stay will increase the possibilities of catching huge waves days.
St. Lawrence River, Montreal, Quebec
Montreal surfing centers on a standing wave in the St. Lawrence river caused by a constant river rapid. First things first, yes there’s surfing in Montreal. You may be questioning, “How can an inland city have a legitimate surf scene?” While the city isn’t situated beside an ocean, it does provide a reliable wave and the wave simply happens to be situated in a river.
River surfing on standing waves was popularized within the early-1970’s, and has become a style of urban surfing in several cities across the globe. While using a similar technique to catching waves within the ocean, river surfing is its own distinctive experience since for the most part the wave simply doesn’t stop.
In Montreal, the rapids of the Saint Lawrence river offer a few of choices for stationary surfing.
Santa Cruz, California
Cold-weather surfers round the world owe a debt to Santa Cruz, California where the wet-suit was popularized within the late 1950’s. The old saying goes, “If a butterfly flaps its wings over the Pacific, Santa Cruz gets swell.” Well, really there isn’t any saying like that, however there ought to be. That’s because the coast forms a kind of natural bight, the area’s myriad beach breaks, points, and rocky reefs absorb swell from almost about any direction, from northwest to dead south, translating to ride-able waves nearly each day of the year.
Big waves, secret spots, outer-reef bombies, even a world-class right-hand reef-point in Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz has all of them. The first waves surfed within the Continental U. S. were ridden in Santa Cruz by brothers Jonah, David, and Edward Kawananakoa in 1885, and the town has had a thriving surf scene since.
Do not be fooled by the chilly temps, the organizing principal in the lives of most Santa Cruzians is surf, and with various legendary breaks dotting the coast, it’s no surprise this sleepy gem has become the de facto capital of cold-water surfing.
Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Tofino, Canada, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, is considered the country’s prime spot to catch a wave. With 22 miles of beaches and an exposed coast, surfers of all talent levels have access to year-round surf in Tofino. Add in surf and SUP (stand up paddle boarding) surf competitions and artists inspired by the wonder of it all, and you’ve got Tofino’s surf culture.
Tofino, the de facto surf capital of Canada, has been a hot spot on the cold-water surf map in recent years. Snuggled within the stunning grandeur of the Pacific Northwest, Tofino is the kind of place you’ll be able to return to getaway from the rat race and still get a legit cup of Joe. A small, dedicated crew of locals are committed to scouring the area’s myriad beaches and offshore islands once the conditions are ripe.
Of course, this is the West Coast of Canada and therefore the weather can be a bear. Cold, gray and rainy are typical for the winter months, whereas the summer brings the nice weather and tourists. No matter what, after you land in Tofino, it’s a magic little surf zone.
Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
With a known name for the most consistent surf on the East Coast, wave-seekers descend on Cape Hatteras, North Carolina where conditions are best in the spring and fall. Forget Hawaii and Golden State, on the East Coast, the most effective place for surf is on the Outer Banks, and this region is noted as one of the best surfing destinations from the Big Apple to Sunshine State.
Surfers from everywhere around the country as well as around the world flock to the Outer Banks for the annual ESA tournament, or right after a storm swell, to paddle out to the Atlantic and revel in a number of the best waves on the coast. Luckily, you do not have to necessarily be a professional to paddle out. While there are some areas notoriously noted for continually having a series of outstanding, giant waves, nearly any beach will be an ideal practice ground for newcomers to the sport, and variety of native water sports companies provide lessons to guests who have forever wanted to hang 10.
There are variety of water sports on the Outer Banks, such as kite-boarding, hang gliding, kayaking and even stand up paddle boarding, but for most locals, surfing trumps all, and guests are welcome to take a lesson or two, grab a board, and be a part of the local surf scene.
Although the water’s chilly year-round , surfers still gravitate to the Reykjanes peninsula close to Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik. You would be hard-pressed to search out a more uniquely hard-core surfing destination, one that receives swells from all angles most of the year and one that provides a variety of waves for surfers of all skills.
Large barrels, slow mush burgers, clean waves, junky waves, Iceland has all of them, and more. Astonishingly the key word really is variety. The Reykjanes peninsula is loaded with reefs, slabs, points, and even a bowling beach break. Plus, Iceland is perhaps a place you never thought about going to surf, however with today’s wet-suit technology, there isn’t any excuse.
The Reykjanes peninsula has surf year-round, obviously it gets large in winter, however the best time to catch manageable waves with comparatively benign weather is throughout the first fall which is September through October and late spring, or April through May. Summer also offers fun surf, however travel and lodging costs are sky-high since it’s peak tourist season.
Montauk, New York
Montauk, New York is unambiguously positioned to let surfers catch waves from storms that don’t make it farther into shore. A hundred and twenty miles East of New York lies the very last town on Long Island, Montauk.
It once was a sleepy-eyed fishing-surf village, however it’s become more popular Summer with guests. After Labor Day, the crowds head back to Manhattan, and the waves begin to pump with the beginning of hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean.
At the remote bay of Yakutat, Alaska surfers will ride waves within the shadow of an 18,000-foot snow-capped mountain. The Last Frontier’s Yakutat Bay extends to the Gulf of Alaska, where grey sands meet the crashing surf.
Consistent swells that balloon out and up to twenty feet have made the tiny village of Yakutat one among Alaska’s self-proclaimed surf meccas of the world. It’s typically noted as “The Far North Shore” and the town’s sole surf shop is aptly named Icy Waves. The Yakutat area is definitely for surfers who can handle the cold. In order for surfers to endure the cold water temperature, they wear wet-suits, gloves and booties.
Although the water is cold, the big swells of Yakutat Bay are hard to resist. The stark-white 17,000-foot Saint Elias Mountains, that hold the world’s most extensive ice fields outside the polar ice caps, are in full view on a sunny day, providing gorgeous views and a surf experience not very easily forgotten.