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1. Hawaii, USA
Lets start with the archetypal and iconic surfing location. Garish shirts, Luaus and surf just about sums up Hawaii. It has also enjoyed longevity and remains one of the worlds best surfing locations. The options are plentiful for novices and professional boarders and the islands are a friendly place. January is the best time to go where the water has a temp of 24 degrees C and the waves rise in huge swells. Best spots are Hanalei Point, Banzai Pipeline, Off the Wall, waimea bay and North Shore. To be really challenged (if you dont mind sharks), head to Pier One.
2. Cornwall, UK
Some raised eyebrows? Although you might catch some waves on some Scottish and welsh beaches, there really is only one place to surf in the UK and thats the south western county of Cornwall. It fully deserves its inclusion as one of the best places to surf in the world even if it is a small area compared to the others. On a concentrated stretch of unspoilt coast from Newquay to Bude, the surf beaches are set among stunning wild rugged scenery. Newquay is very definitely a surf town and boarders will find plenty of reefs and point breaks. Check out Barrets Zawn for a challenge.
3. Perth, Australia
If there is ever a nationality that totally understands beach life it is the Australians. Most people think of Sydney when it comes to Aussie surf beaches but the cognoscenti know Perth in Western Australia, is one of the worlds best surf destinations. If you dont mind sharing the water with lots of other surfers, Trigg Point is the best beach close to the city center. Bunbury, Avalon Point, Margaret River and Surfers Point are ideal locations south of the CBD and if you go north, youll find the bigger swells. July and August are the best months for the best waves but its also winter so youll need a wetsuit.
4. California, USA
If everyone had an ocean, across the USA, then everybodyd be surfin, surfing Californ-I-A. So sang the Beach Boys. Did you know there are nearly 500 surf spots along the coast of California? The reason the Sunshine State is one of the best places to surf in the world is because you can take your pick from quiet secluded beaches with the waves practically to yourself or a real hard core party beach. Spots around LA are for social surfers but serious boarders head upstate. Some of the best spots are Surfrider Beach, Old Mans, Fort Point, San Onofre and Ocean Beach.
Theres probably around 100 surf spots along Spains Mediterranean coastline. Spanish surf spots are very much geared to the average surfer and, there really isnt anywhere with extreme surf. Tarifa on the very southern tip can get some blustery days but the swell is hit and miss. What makes Spain one of the best places in the world to surf is its accessibility to all and the consistently good weather Beginners will find Majorca hospitable whilst hard heads will find Galicia appealing, especially in January and February at Seijo Branco and Rinlo.
6. Cape Town, South Africa
Sublime beaches with the backdrop of the magnificent Table Mountain what more can a surfer want? Youre spoilt with 150 great surf spots in Cape Town, easily making it one of the worlds best surfing locations. Surfs up all year round here but the largest swells are to be experienced between June/August. Theres a huge expanse of sea where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, giving plenty of open water for those waves to build. You also have the bonus of being in Cape Town, one of the worlds great tourist destinations.
7. The Maldives
The breathtakingly, stunningly beautiful 1190 islands of The Maldives are probably primarily considered a premier diving destination but it is also one of the best places to surf in the world. The water is a translucent aquamarine and the beaches are flat and silky soft. The weather is typically tropical. The swells are good all year round peaking in July/August. Extreme surfers should head for Meeru, beginners will enjoy Ninjas, whereas Pasta Point, Yin Yang, Five Islands and Tombstones are good for everyone.
8. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Surf to the Samba beat in Brazils beach capital. Head to Rio in July/August for the best swells and water of a pleasant 20 degrees C. Even though its one of the worlds best surf destinations, its relatively cheap staying in Rio so its surf by day, party by night. The best beginners beach is Canal de Camboinhas and off the scale for the surfing ego is Laje Cartao Postal. Those without a deathwish will find an adrenaline rush at Reserva or Baixio Tropical.