The World's Top Surf Spots
Published on: September 5th, 2017
Last modified: July 27th, 2023
Whether you’re an expert at riding big breaks, or a beginner who fancies learning how to handle a board, we've lined up the perfect places for you to catch your next wave.
From vibrant city shores to idyllic island beaches and jungle shrouded bays, take a look below for the world's top surf spots.
1) The Guanacaste Coast, Costa Rica
Nicknamed the ‘Gold Coast’ for its sweeping golden beaches, exotic nature, easygoing atmosphere and sublime climate, there’s plenty to keep you both amused and relaxed even when you’re not out enjoying the water.
2) Durban, South Africa
When it comes to this awesome sport South Africa really does have heaps to offer, from location to variety, and Durban holds the title as one of the country’s ultimate surf settings. Its world-class waves are deemed the most consistent in S.A due to regular swells and fantastic conditions, while the beaches themselves are lovely. What’s more, Durban offers the chance to spice up your surfing with diving opportunities with black tip reef sharks and ragged tooth sharks.
A modern, cosmopolitan city which enjoys a warm sub-tropical climate all year round, Durban features some of the country’s most impressive cultural diversity and history, best breweries, craft markets and fine restaurants. One thing’s for sure: this is a destination that’ll never let you get bored, on or off the waves.
3) Uluwatu, Bali
While Bali is regarded as the place in Southeast Asia for surfers, Uluwatu is considered to have the finest waves on the island. With its first-class surf break and professional-grade waves, this area draws in adrenaline junkies from Australia to Hawaii.
Uluwatu also provides an unusual touch with its majestic temple looming on the dramatic cliffs above the shore. Making a truly spectacular sunset view over the Indian Ocean, this is one of the most sacred temples in all of Bali.
The best of the rest
4) Byron Bay, Australia
You can’t talk surfing without mentioning Australia, and Byron Bay in New South Wales is famously one of the best around. There’s a huge number of different beaches to choose from around here, but it’s The Pass at the end of Clarkes Beach that regularly ranks as one of the country’s best surf spots. The surfer’s lookout here gives you a panoramic view of the entire bay, making it both scenic and handy for beach hopping if needs be.
5) The Northern Beaches, Peru
Deep in the north of Peru is the idyllic Mancora beach where surfing is not just a sport, its a part of the culture. Everyone here surfs, from the young to the old, in superb conditions of perfect waves and reliable winds. Meanwhile friendly locals and exceptional cuisine add to the stunning area, making this a delightful choice.
6) Florianopolis, Brazil
In the city of Florianopolis, in southern Brazil, you’ll find Argentines and Europeans grabbing their surfboards to try out some of the wonderful waves found on the vast, secluded beaches. Early March to late May and late September to early November are the best times of year to head here and it is always advised to bring a wetsuit with you.
7) Lima, Peru
Whether you know everything there is to know about surfing, or you’ve never tried it before, the Peruvian capital provides fun for all. Thanks to the coastline’s small, medium and large breaks, Lima promises an amazing range alongisde clean, long rides and relatively uncrowded beaches.
8) Jeffrey's Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Arguably Africa‘s finest surfing destination is Jeffrey’s Bay in the Eastern Cape. Just an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth, Jeffrey’s Bay boasts international acclaim, hosting the yearly Billabong Pro ASP World Tour surfing competitions. The crème de la crème of globetrotting surfers, including Kelly Slater, flock to this South African town for its long, fast barrels and rides of up to 300 metres long.
10) Cape Town, South Africa
A wealth of surfing hotspots are located in the dazzling city of Cape Town. From huge, powerful waves in large beaches to little, soft swells in coves – sun-bleached surfers can enjoy their fun all year round here. Charming Hout Bay, or Dungeons as it is known to the local surfing community, offers grand waves, numerous reefs plus the annual Red Bull Big Wave Africa competition.
11) Nihi Sumba, Sumba Island, Indonesia
The founder of Nihi Sumba, on Sumba’s southwest coast, set out looking for the perfect wave, and when he found it, he camped out on the beach for four years before the locals would allow him to build there. Now, Nihi Sumba is one of the most popular surf spots on the planet, not just because of its great lefthand reef, but because of the unique culture of the island and the unspoiled land that surrounds the beautiful resort.