Senior Editor
most popular surf destinations

Surf is where you find it, unless everyone else found it too. Photo: Reed Naliboff//Unsplash

The Inertia

It can be hard to find uncrowded waves these days. Surfing is fun, and everyone wants to get in on that fun. The irony is that everyone who complains about crowds is part of the problem, and unfortunately — unless you happen to own a wave pool — the only way to escape the crowds is to go off the beaten path or get stuck at a surf camp during a pandemic. But with a little research, those empty waves can be found. It all just depends on the time of year and how hard it is to get to a certain place. Luckily — or not so luckily, depending on how intrepid of a surf searcher you may be — we live in a world where just about everything is trackable, including the most visited surf spots on the planet.

The data was put together by a travel app called Visited, which enables users to look at some of the top travel destinations, tick places off their bucket list, make a custom map of their trip, set a few travel goals, and even get a custom printed map of where they went. It’s got a little over a million users, and the app recently used those users to figure out where the most popular surf destinations are. I’m not sure whether that means you should avoid them or flock to them, though.

So here, without further ado, are the ten most popular surf destos in the world, as rated and explained by the aforementioned app – their bot, not mine. Agree? Or just lame that they’re listed?

1. Biarritz is the top surf spot in the world, drawing tourists from far and wide to enjoy the beautiful beaches and catch waves in the scenic south of France along the Basque coast. The Grand Plage and Code des Basque beaches offer a wide variety of surfing for all levels, with excellent hollow waves.

2. North Shore, Oahu in Hawaii offers big waves and pro surfing contests along more than seven miles of beaches on the U.S. island state’s Oahu island.

3. Daytona Beach, Florida, in the southeastern U.S. is a surfing town that is a great place for beginners to learn and enjoy the 23 miles of beaches and ride-able waves.

4. San Sebastian is a popular surfing destination along the Bay of Biscay in northern Spain’s Basque Country. Zurriola Beach in San Sebastian is a prime beach for surfers of all levels.

5. Nazare along the coast of Portugal serves up big waves that attract high-level surfers from around the globe.

6. Uluwatu and Kuta in Bali, Indonesia, have some of the best surfing waves in the world, making them popular for surfers of all levels but especially intermediate and advanced surfers.

7. Byron Bay, located along the southeastern coast of Australia in the state of New South Wales, has something for every surfer, with a variety of beaches and waves as well as lessons and surf shops.

8. Honolua Bay located just north of Kapalua, West Maui in Hawaii, is world-renowned for its epic big waves including hollow, powerful, and long waves that challenge even the most experienced surfers.

9. Canggu, Bali is a popular surf spot in the resort village on the southern coast of Bali, Indonesia. With three beaches to choose from and a variety of waves, Caggu is a top surf destination for beginners through advanced surfers.

10. Apollo Bay in southwestern Victoria, Australia, offers picturesque surfing for all levels, with smaller waves by the beach in the sheltered harbor and larger, stronger waves heading farther from the harbor.


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