As more workplaces get comfortable hiring people who work remotely, the opportunities to travel and make a living have exploded. For a lot of surfers, this means as long as you have a solid internet connection you can set up shop next to your favorite wave and collect a paycheck. And according to John Furness, co-owner of Unleash Surf, a surf retreat for digital nomads, it’s also getting easier to stay connected in most coastal areas around the world.
“For the most part, internet speeds in surf-rich regions of the world are steadily increasing. But keep in mind that many of the best surf destinations have connection speeds of less than 6 Mbps, which would feel like 2002 internet speeds to most Europeans and Americans.”
In other words, Skype and other cloud-based software might be choppy or slow, which could impact your productivity or make you look unprofessional to your colleagues. So with that in mind, here are John’s recommendations for places that have an ideal combination of reliable internet and great waves.
Live the big city life and surf for your morning workout. North and south swells take seasonal turns hitting Lima’s coast so there’s rarely a day without waves. The neighborhoods of Chorillos, Barranco, and Miraflores are lined with parks that overlook spots for beginners, intermediate, and advanced surfers — all of which are within a short walk, transit or taxi ride to great co-work spaces, surf shops, and excellent food.
Find a trusty surf “butler” by the break to watch your car or your phone and keys while you’re in the water. Remember your earplugs as water quality can be questionable. Go for weekend surfs south of Lima in Punta Hermosa or Cerro Azul.
A compact gem of cobblestone and white-washed streetscapes with gorgeous sea views, cozy wine-bars and surf shops around every corner, Ericeira is a proud World Surfing Reserve with a beautifully-designed interpretive display about its surfing culture.
The surf is big, consistent and mostly for experienced surfers in the winter, but great for all levels in the summer and fall, although it can get crowded. Some waves are walkable from the town center but wave access is best facilitated with a car rental.
The shoulder seasons in the autumn and spring will get you the best deals on accommodation and likely decent surf. The internet is fast and data plans are cheap. Check out the Business Factory for a spacious and beautiful co-work option for meeting people.
Byron Bay, Australia
The vibe is part farmers markets-and-flip-flops and part upscale-design-and-gourmet. The surf is super-consistent and warm with the bigger swells arriving during the summer cyclone season. All levels of surfers will find spots to make them happy here and the main frustration is crowds. But being able to bike to great bars with live music, yoga classes, surf shops, and head out on palm tree-lined hikes can help you de-stress.
Living here isn’t cheap, though. Shared accommodation can run you $800+ USD a month and a night out is going to run you about six bucks per beer. There are a few amazing co-work space options where the wifi can be as fast as 200-250 Mbps and you can do yoga, tai chi, meditate or attend workshops to break up your work day.
Endearingly scruffy streets and a languid fishery characterize this laid-back village, which is as popular with international surfers as it is with Moroccan vacationers. Enjoy snappy right points and strong coffee. The internet isn’t the fastest and power outages do happen, so buy data just in case you need to tether off your phone. The swell window is October to April, although beginners could catch something year-round.
Although there are a couple of surf spots in town, you’ll need a car to get to the best points. Make sure you hike to the pools of Paradise Valley and visit a local hammam, where you’ll get a sauna, full body scrub, and massage for less than $30.
Plenty of Canadian and American surfers have made Sayulita their home for the rich culture and year-round swell. You can walk from the beach to yoga, your vacation rental, and plenty of great restaurants. Sayulita Cowork space has the fastest internet in town and is in the center of everything. There are also a few cafes with decent internet, but keep in mind that 10 Mbps is the max speed you’re likely to find.
Living expenses are less than half of what they are in Europe or North America. Healthcare in the area is exceptional and affordable. Recent growth in tourism has put a lot of pressure on water systems so the surf breaks in town aren’t as clean as spots a bit south of town.
This hipster travel town is a magnet for digital nomads, surfers, and Instagrammers for good reason. There are open-air cafes, picture-perfect food, yoga studios, and sexy pools galore. The surf suits all levels year round, but the biggest swells come to town from April to September along with most of the surf tourists. Internet speeds are improving but vary depending on where you are, but your best case scenario is 20mbps.
Canggu has the largest expat community in Bali, but with a bit of effort, you can meet Canggu residents who love the beach by taking part in beach clean-up walks. During the rainy season of November to March, garbage can wash down from inland rivers and mess up the water quality of the surf.
San Clemente, California
Live your California-fantasy lifestyle in San Clemente. There is plenty of sun, lots of yoga and all the healthy food you could want. The waves are as consistent as they are quality, albeit crowded. Surf culture runs deep here; it’s the HQ of the Surfrider Foundation, the Surfer’s Journal, and Stewart Surfboards, to name a few.
Beware, though. Life isn’t cheap in coastal California. Wetsuits and boards, however, are remarkably affordable compared to the rest of the world. There isn’t a co-work space in town but there is a great local library and cafes with solid internet. And if you need some big city nightlife you’re only an hour from San Diego and Los Angeles in either direction.
Lofoten Islands, Norway
Indulge your Northern Lights surfing fantasy in the Arctic circle among the raw and stunning landscape of the Lofoten archipelago. Winter swells are best and although the water is cold, you’ll be able to ski or snowboard throughout the winter and hike mountains in the summer. The people are outdoorsy and adventurous and they live it up with music festivals in the endless light of summer.
Living in the Lofoten Islands costs around $950 per month and the internet in Norway is the fastest in the world. Stay with surfing entrepreneurs at the Arctic Coworking Lodge, its owners will happily show you all the best waves and hikes in the area.