If you’re a keen surfer and love to travel (and lucky enough to grab some time off over the European winter), there’s plenty of choice when it comes to picking a surf destination, no matter what level you’re at.
Some destinations have their best, cleanest waves over the Northern Hemisphere’s summer. However, there are still plenty of options for those who want to spend winter hitting those waves!
Of course, presently, it’s a little difficult to book any holidays abroad. However, many of us are planning for when we are allowed to travel! Our list will clue you up on some great winter surf spots so as soon as the time comes, you’ll know exactly where you’re headed.
This winter, you don’t have to venture too far to enjoy some of the best waves in the Northern Hemisphere.
Just a short flight away from the UK lies a land of sunnier climes and consistent surf: Taghazout, Morocco.
Taghazout is hardly undiscovered; keen surfers have been arriving in swathes for decades, for good reason. The quaint fishing village is located not far from Agadir, to which you can fly easily from most UK airports. Otherwise, it’s a 3-or-4-hour drive from Marrakesh, if you wanted to explore the Red City before hitting the surf.
Best Surf Spots in Tagazhout
The North Atlantic swell makes Taghazout a brilliant spot for surfers all year round, plus the unique intertwining of North African culture and the ultra-hip surf scene go ways to supply the village with endless good vibes!
Hit up Anchor Point for 4-10ft peels of perfection, or check out Banana Beach for a more beginner-friendly wave. The lazy right is perfect for longboarders and the beach break is great for absolute beginners to tidy their skills.
When to Go
October to March is best for intermediates, while September through to April will see that beginners get their share of clean waves. Advanced surfers are better heading out between December and March for the bigger swells.
Costa Rica is an absolute mecca for surfers, particularly those who wish to avoid the overcrowding endemic to the classic surf destinations (ahem, Byron Bay, we’re looking at you).
Being only 9 degress from the equator, you’re basically guaranteed perfect weather. Plus, both coastlines promise excellent waves in the winter months. With over 300 beaches, you could surf a new one every day!
Its rich culture and friendly locals are the main draws to this island nation. And, it’s a great opportunity to brush up on your Spanish.
Best Surf Spots in Costa Rica
On the island’s southern coast rumbles the famous Salsa Brava beach break. A coral reef near the coast gives way to gargantuan waves, where it’s common to see tens of surfers on the same wave at any one time.
Just south of Puerto Viejo is the vibrant surf village of Cocles, popular with international surfers and tourists alike due to it’s funky Carribbean and reggae vibes. The surf here is consistent year-round, although the best time to visit is January to April.
You can’t discuss surfing in Costa Rica without mentioning Playa Tamarindo. Absolutely perfect for beginners, the Playa is blessed with offshore winds and 3-to-4ft waves which are great for practicing.
When to Go
Because of the vast array of beaches to pick from on all sides of the island, any time between December and April is advised to make the most of the good weather and quality surf.
Portugal is a favourite for many UK surfers thanks to its temperate weather and plentiful surf. Of course, the notorious Nazare is known for being one of the biggest (if not the biggest) swells in the world. In 2017, Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa successfully rode an 80ft (24.4m). So, not for the faint hearted!
For lesser daredevillish surfers (that would be most of us), the Algarve is perfect for beginner and intermediate-friendly waves. If you fall into this category, it’s safest to get yourself a beginner surfboard and head to the more sheltered Algarve coastline – particularly the West.
Additionally, surf schools and surf camps can be found in copious amounts on almost every well-known surf beach.
Best Surf Spots in Algarve
Ericeira is a fabulous spot – 8 kilometres of world class surf breaks, suitable for all levels.
Foz do Lizandro is popular with beginners due to it’s variety of beach breaks with both left and rights.
Matadouro is situated just north of Ericeira and offers mountains of fun with it’s left hander to the south and right hander to the north. The waves can be anywhere between 2-to-8ft, making it super versatile for varying competencies.
Around 10km north of Ecieira is Coxos. Coxos is known worldwide for its right-hand point break, not to mention its colossal barrels for any advanced surfers wishing to push themselves to the limit.
When to Go
September to January is the best time for advanced surfers to head over to Portugal as this is when the swells are biggest. For beginner surfers, you’re better off considering a summer holiday!
The south coast of Sri Lanka has become increasingly popular over the last few years, and the little surf towns are now packed with winter travellers looking to escape the cold.
The south coast is littered with surfer-friendly beaches; many of the locals live and breathe the surf culture, too. You won’t be short of places to rent a board or people to have a post-surf beer with, that’s for sure.
Best Surf Spots in Sri Lanka
Head down to Weligama and Midigama for beginner, intermediate and advanced surf spots. The two villages lie adjacent to eachother on Sri Lanka’s pristine southern coastline and are well-catered for visiting surfers.
Coconuts Point in Midigama is a great choice for more intermediate/advanced surfers, offering a crisp, peeling 400m ride along the palm-lined shore. Enter from the reef or paddle out from the sand.
Main Beach in Weligama is very accommodating for beginners; here, you’ll find hundreds of newbies waiting patiently for the gentle breach breaks. The waves are small and friendly, so an excellent choice before progressing to the larger waves of Midigama.
When to Go
Sri Lanka’s surf season is November through to March, with the peak months being January and February.
However, later in the year you can head up to Arugam Bay for great surf in March and April. The season here begins at the end of the season on the south coast. It’s a bit of a trek and may take a day or two if you’re travelling from the south, but it’s totally worth it for outstanding waves.
Things to Consider When Surfing in Sri Lanka:
Watch out for the locals – 9 times out of 10 they’re a friendly bunch, but when it comes to surf there’s definitely a pecking order. You’re likely to get rudely cut up if you’re not vigilant!
East Coast Australia
Okay, gather your air miles for this one: the Land Down Under is one of the most popular winter surfing destinations in the world. Specifically, the East Coast.
Easily accessible by flying into Brisbane or the Gold Coast, you have heaps of choice along this infamously sunny coastline.
Best Surf Spots on the East Coast of Australia
Surfers Paradise is so named for good reasons. The Miami-esque city, where skyscrapers line the white sand beach, is a haven for surfers.
The main beach, Surfers Paradise Beach itself, is a great place to head in December and January for some Northeast swell. It’s good to know that considerable parts of the beach are flagged off for swimmers, so it can be limiting. It’s great for beginners, as the waves are gentle but consistent all year round.
For a quieter, more local vibe, Burleigh Heads is a fantastic choice. More suited to the advanced surfer, there are plenty of barrels to be had and numerous peeling right and left handers.
A little to the south and you’ll find Byron Bay – the hippie-fied surf town emanantes alternative vibes and happens to have some of the best waves.
Main Beach is by far the most popular surf beach in the area. It’s good for all levels of surfers, but you might be waiting a while to catch that perfect wave due to the heavy crowds.
South of Main Beach is Tallows, which offers excellent right and left-hand breaks. It’s more suited to advanced surfers, as the rips here can be dangerous if you’re not so clued up on reading the water.
So, find your next winter surf break (when we’re all free to travel again) with our list of winter sun surf spots.
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