There aren’t many things better than rolling up to your chosen surf spot to see perfect, empty, reeling waves. Too bad it’s a pretty rare occurrence. But part of the reason why it’s so great is just that: it’s so rare. If it were an everyday thing, it would slowly lose its magic. Although dealing with crowds might make those uncrowded days that much better, here are some of the most far-flung, rugged surf destinations you’ll probably never be able to go to.
1. The Aleutians
Stretching westward from the Alaska Peninsula, the Aleutian Islands are undoubtedly one of surfing’s last frontiers. Those in more southerly regions of the world look to Alaska as a place where storms are born, waiting patiently for the wind-whipped sea to push the storm’s energy further south, organizing itself as it marches. While the weather in this part of the world can certainly be a major deterrent to the average surf-tripper, it’s not the only thing that makes surfing in Alaska harder than your average almost anywhere else on the planet.
Largely still unexplored, the coastline off the Aleutian Islands remains partially shrouded in mystery. Extensive travel in the area requires much more than just a car: bush planes, ATVs, boats, and long hikes are, most of time, the only way. As part Aleutian Arc, the islands cross into the Bering Sea, where some of the worst weather recorded has been served up.
But there is perfection in Alaska. And once found, it’s not likely to be forgotten. Along with amazing waves, the scenery and wildlife are some of the most spectacular anywhere. Teddy Roosevelt said it best: “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, or difficulty.”
2. Haida Gwaii/The Queen Charlotte Islands
Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, or the Charlottes, lies off the west coast of British Columbia. Home to some of the biggest trees and old growth forests in the world, they’re steeped in Native traditions. Just getting there is difficult – flights from Vancouver or Prince Rupert can cost a fortune, and the only other option is an eight-hour ferry ride through Hecate Strait, an area that can be treacherously stormy.
But once you’re there, you’re in one of the wildest places you’ll ever find. From October to May, storms brewed in Alaska hammer south, with almost nothing to stop them before banging into Haida Gwaii and turning the jagged coastline into a wave-strewn goldmine.
3. Sur, Oman
The Middle East isn’t normally thought of as a surfing destination, which is exactly why it’s a great one. Sur, the capital of the Ash Sharqiyah Region, is in northeastern Oman. On the Gulf of Oman, Sur is mainly a port city, known mostly for its shipbuilding. But there are a few spots along its sun-baked coastline that, while it may take a while to get there, are well worth the trip. Joe’s Point is one of these spots.
The only way you’re getting here is by a long, hot drive through a long, hot desert. Temperatures inland can soar well into 100 degree territory, but as you near the coast, they drop to more manageable levels. But the best thing about Sur? There will be no one else in the water… and, most likely, on land, either.
4. Taghazout, Morocco
In the middle of Morocco’s northwestern-most coastline, Taghazout is quickly becoming more and more of a surfing destination. Way back in the ’60s, Europeans trekked into Morocco in search of adventure. With them came the surfers, and they staked their claim in Taghazout for good reason. Because of its geography, swells that hit this part of Morocco are almost always long-period ground swells with reasonably consistent offshores.
Although Taghazout has its own little surf community, those with the taste for adventure can take a few quick trips along the wave-studded coastline and will find empty perfection.
5. The Falkland Islands
Sitting on the Patagonian Shelf, the Falkland Islands lie deep in the South Atlantic Ocean, to the east of Argentina, and north of Antarctica. While there are two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, there are almost 800 other tiny islands, varying in size from barren, rocky outcroppings to larger, beautiful parcels of land surrounded by nothing but open ocean.
The Falklands have been the center of a whole lot of political shit storms in the past – since the “discovery” by the Europeans, they’ve passed through numerous hands. Settlements have included the British, the French, Spanish, and Argentine settlements, and if rumors are true, much of the area is littered with land mines.
But as far as surf goes, it is most definitely there for the finding. This part of the world brews some major storms as warmer air flows down and violently mingles with cooler air from the north. There are more than a thousand miles of coastline to be discovered… much of which is largely untouched.
Have a recommendation for a rugged surf destination? Leave it in the comments section below for your chance to win $200 worth of Howler Bros. gear, perfect for a trip full of discovery!