Uniting communities around the world, surfing is a great way to experience the ocean whether you are just starting out or you’re a seasoned wave rider. From the rugged Chilean coast to crystal clear Tahitian waters, there are endless places to celebrate International Surfing Day 2023 (18 June) and here are five top picks from around the world.
Latin America’s most famous breakpoint, Chile
With more than 4,300km of dramatic coastline, Chile is one of the best countries in South America for surfing. Receiving spectacular and reliable waves from the Pacific Ocean all year round, the coastline is dotted with surfing hotspots from North to South. Visit the town of Pichilemu where visitors can find waves for all levels of surfers as well as the iconic Punta de Lobos, Latin America’s most famous break point located just south of the town. For those new to the surfing world, head to Pichicuy, 85 miles north of the capital, the region is also known for its tasty local cuisine and traditional woollen products.
Miyako Island, Okinawa, Japan
Located around 186 miles southwest of Okinawa, Miyako Island, part of the Miyakojima archipelago, is the fourth largest island in the Okinawa prefecture. Its beaches are well known for their sparkling white sand and beautiful emerald waters which are home to a wide variety of marine life and coral reefs. Gaining popularity as a surfing destination in recent years, Miyako Island is a great alternative to the more commonly known surfing spots in other parts of Japan. There are options for visitors who are looking to rent equipment, or even take surfing lessons, however advance booking is advised.
New South Wales, Australia
From city surfing at Bondi Beach to catching a wave at iconic Byron Bay, the 1,200 miles of diverse New South Wales coastline offers a range of gnarly surfing experiences for all levels. Renowned for its reliable waves and relaxed surfer town vibes, Byron Bay is one of New South Wales’ favourite surf destinations.
Book a lesson at Byron Bay Surf School or head to Belongil, the most northern beach of Byron Bay to avoid the crowds during peak seasons. Head down south to Mollymook where ocean temperatures stay warm all year round and the waves are gentle, beginners can even take a lesson with former world champ Pam Burridge. Advanced surfers can head to Shoalhaven to try their luck at surfing world-renowned breaks like The Farm and Mystics.
The Islands of Tahiti, French Polynesia
Whether it’s surfing, stand-up paddle boarding or bodyboarding, The Islands of Tahiti is a paradise for water-loving travellers. Tahiti alone has more than 30 surfing spots, of which three are world famous: Teahupo’o, Taapuna and Maraa. For the established surfing visitor, there are secret spots in the islands frequented by pros and locals, commonly found in Tuamotus and the Marquesas Islands.
The Islands of Tahiti also offers the perfect environment to enjoy kitesurfing or windsurfing whatever the level. Beginners and younger children can practise on the calm, safe waters of the lagoons before attempting a more substantial inter-island trip. www.tahititourisme.uk
Huntington Beach – Surf City USA, California, USA
Experience the relaxed Californian surf culture at Huntington Beach, known as Surf City USA. It has ten miles of wide open sandy beaches with something for all abilities including beginner lessons at an abundance of different surf schools all the way up to professional surfer level as Huntington is the host of the U.S. Open of Surfing, taking place 29 July – 6 August 2023.
This nine-day competition is said to be the world’s largest surf event and is the site of world-class surfing as well as world-class beach parties. Surfing was introduced to the town in 1925 by legendary Hawaiian swimmer and surfer, Duke Kahanamooku, and it spread from there along the California Coast. Visit the Surfing Walk of Fame to learn about the famous names who have surfed the waves at Huntington Beach or head over to Huntington Surfing Museum to learn more about the incredible surfing history.