When you think of surfing, your associations usually go to Hawaii, Australia or California. But if you wander off the beaten path just a bit, you may discover the better side of surfing and the draw that makes the sport a lifestyle -- perfect breaks, idyllic beaches, and no one to fight the waves with -- just you and wide open waters.
Constant wind, subtropical climate and warm waters at all seasons make Fuerteventura a fantastic surf, kite and windsurfing destination all year round for experienced and beginning surfers alike.
Among the most challenging in the South Pacific, treacherous shallow reef breaks make Samoa a thrill for adrenaline junkies. Both Upolu and Savaii have some excellent surfing in both winter and summer with winter producing a bit more reliable swells.
Pavones, Costa Rica
Offering one of the world’s longest lefts which, on a good day, can connect for 2 - 3 minute rides. The wave has several sections which allow for carving, pumping and tricks.
While you may think of Fiji as a honeymooner’s paradise, by no means does the island lack adventure. Namotu Left and Cloudbreak in the Mamanuca islands 20 minutes from mainland are some of the most respected spots in the South Pacific. While the name may conjure up images of lazy days on the water, don’t be fooled, these blue waters can throw you for the barrel of your life. Looking to stay on shore? There are some excellent breaks around Beqa and Kadavu in the Southern Islands. So go ahead, romance the waves.
Bali is blessed with a short, hot wet season and a long cool, dry season April-November which most tourists prefer. Bali boasts over 20 top quality breaks on the southwest and southeast coasts of the island and around the Bukit (Uluwatu) Peninsula.
Post civil war and earthquakes in 1992, El Salvador has steadily reemerged as one of the world’s best surf spots. With dynamic swells, long rides and barrels, La Libertad has both public and privately gated beaches for seclusion.
Pichilemu is the most famous spot for surfing in Chile as they play host to the national championships, but locals would tell you Ritoque is the most beautiful. With waves that can get up to 7 meters, beginners may want to hang on the beach.
A spot that seems almost too good to be true — consistent waves year-round and warm water make Nicaragua one of the best off-the-beaten-path surf destinations. With a reputation for being a bit sketchy that is highly unfounded; enjoy having most of the beach to yourself.
With dozens of surf breaks within a 90 mile radius, most head to Peru for Chicama, a massive southwest swell. The locals know the north produces bigger waves in much more regular density. An added plus? The water is significantly warmer due to the influence of Panama current.
An hour north of Puerto Vallarta, east of Punta Mita and south of Sayulita, find a little hidden gem in a lesser known Mexican tourist locale. Known for perfect right breaks and endless sunshine, it’s a great spot for beginners and experts alike.