Surfing is all about hitting the right waves and finding the right spots. As any real surfer will tell you, not every spot is the same.
Here is my list of the fifty best surfing spots in the world.
1. Puerto Escondido, Southern Oaxaca, Mexico
Puerto Escondido is the most popular surfacing spot in Latin America—and for good reason. There are only two months out of the year when surfing is not allowed: January and February. With near year-round surfing, this great spot takes our top spot.
2. Uluwatu and Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
This island is a pacific paradise for traveling surfers. With some of the clearest water and best waves, this spot has become a meeting point for international surfers looking to catch their next big wave.
3. Maverick's, California
One of the most legendary surfing spots in the world, Maverick’s is home to some of the Pacific’s biggest waves. A favorite spot of skilled surfers looking for a challenge, Maverick’s has witnessed only a select few conquer its monstrous 82-foot waves.
Not for the faint of heart, Maverick’s has literally been the place where some surfers have succeeded—or died trying.
4. Backdoor, Oahu, Hawaii
We’re suckers for tough surfing spots. That’s why Backdoor’s made it into the top five of our list.
What can we say? The vicious tubes found here keep beginners at bay—leaving room only for the experts.
Do you think you have what it takes?
5. The Bubble, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
Another great tubing location, the Bubble has become a famed spot for locals in the Canary Islands.
However, that hasn’t stopped international surfers from flocking to the area for a chance at its great tubes.
6. Surf Pool, United Arab Emirates
Yes, we included an artificial wave pool in our top ten—even if it’s only because Surf Pool outclasses all other artificial pools of its kind. With full wave adjustability, Surf Pool makes for a great surf—even if it isn’t quite natural.
7. Manu Bay, Raglan, New Zealand
Though the waves aren’t the highest here at Manu Bay, there’s no place with a better atmosphere.
Surfers are regaled with music from the shore and have a fine selection of drinks to choose from when it’s time to come in from the water.
8. Les Cavaliers, Anglet, France
Les Cavaliers can become a battleground between locals and tourists looking to take the big waves. If you’re going here, make sure you’re ready to defend your right to ride the waves.
9. Bundoran Beach, County Donegal, Ireland
In contrast, you probably can’t find friendlier locals than at Bundoran Beach in Ireland.
Just note that the green waters here are cold—are you up to the challenge?
10. Hanalei Bay, Hawaii
This tropical paradise has something for everyone.
With one of the most scenic views of all surfing locations, Hanalei is a great place to take your family while you surf.
While you’re enjoying riding the waves, they’ll be amazed at the island’s great waterfalls and beautiful natural scenery.
11.Pipeline, Oahu, Hawaii
For many surfers, there’s no place better than Pipeline.
With legendary waves that are notoriously difficult to ride, Pipeline has long been held as the standard for surfers.
Do you think you have what it takes to master the waves on this Hawaiian island?
12. Surfer's Point, Barbados
In contrast, Surfer’s Point offers some of the best beginner-level waves out there.
Great for those looking to practice or for those who may just be intermediate, Surfer’s Point can help bring out the surfer in anyone.
13. Hossegor, France
Hossegor is without question one of the best surfing spots in all of Europe.
With some of the region’s biggest and best waves, Hossegor has attracted surfer’s from around the world—with some even deciding to move there.
14. Tofino, Vancouver Island, Canada
Do you think you’re ready to surf in the cold?
Tofino has some of the greatest waves in all of Canada—you just have to be prepared for chilly weather.
If you are, come out and enjoy a great surf while being surrounded by the region’s natural rainforest.
15. Coconuts, Samoa
No matter what your skill level is, Coconuts is sure to provide a challenge.
Their toughest waves break over live coral, giving even the pros a run for their money.
16. Honolua Bay, Maui, Hawaii
Honolua Bay is one of the world’s best surfing spots.
The trick is finding it.
Make sure you don’t get lost because, as some have reported, locals aren’t too willing to help you find your way.
It’s pretty simple to see why. With some of the best waves in the area, Honolua Bay is a must-visit for all surfers.
Eisbach features an artificially-occurring wave that’s great for beginners.
At only one meter high, this wave never falls—meaning you can ride it as long as you’re able.
Looking to ride the waves in peace?
Carrapateira may just be the place for you. With waves that reach three meters, this great spot is so rarely visited that you may feel like you’ve got it all to yourself.
19.Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka
One of the best natural experiences around, Arugam Bay mixes surfing with wildlife watching.
20. Cloud Nine, Siargao Island, Philippines
Cloud Nine is certainly not for the faint of heart. With raves that crash over beds of deathly-sharp coral, this popular surfing destination is only for the skilled—and the serious.
21. Rincon, Puerto Rico
The first of two Rincons on our list, this Puerto Rican spot offers one of the most laid-back surfs of any location in the world.
22. Sao Francisco do Sul, Brazil
A great spot to relax, the waves are only mild at Sao Francisco.
When combined with the nice local atmosphere, however, they help put Sao Francisco high on our list.
23. Rincon, Santa Barbara, California
Rincon can get quite crowded at times, as surfers look to make the most of its sometimes-giant waves.
If you think you’re up for the waves—and the crowd—this could be the right challenge for you.
24.Fulong Beach, Taiwan
With a sandbar that produces two-meter waves, Fulong Beach offers the perfect practice for beginner and intermediate surfers.
25. Watergate Bay, Cornwall, England
Waves max out around three meters at this English surfing spot.
Though not the most popular surfing destination in England, we like it because it ranks up there with the country’s best in terms of the surf—and because you’re likely to have the beach more or less to yourself.
26. Nihiwatu, Sumba, Indonesia
Great for those looking for left-handers, this private beach is one of the most popular private surfing destinations in the world.
27. Trestles, Orange County, California
Trestles is another of the most popular surfing destinations in the world.
Broken into five different areas, Trestles offers great breaks and solid waves to those looking for a good surf.
The best surfing may be found in Lower Trestles—but be warned; it’s crowded.
28. Teahupo'o, Tahiti, French Polynesia
With one of the most dangerous breaks in the world, Teahupo’o offers a challenge only for the most-skilled surfers.
Despite its danger, Teahupo’o offers one of the most thrilling surfs in the world—making it a popular destination for those looking to prove their surfing worth.
29.Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia
Ready to surf with the sharks?
Okay, not really, but authorities have started using shark nets in Byron Bay.
One of the milder surfing locations on our list, this great spot is another one that’s aided by a campy atmosphere.
30. Black's Beach, San Diego, California
Though it can get crowded, Black’s Beach is a great location for expert surfers.
With one of the best breaks in the nation, Black’s Beach attracts skilled surfers from all around.
31.Lance's Right, Sipora, Mentawais Islands, Sumatera Barat, Indonesia
The waters at Lance’s Right are always the perfect temperature.
Oh, and don’t forget that you get some great waves to boot.
32. Surfrider Beach, Malibu, California
One of the best locations for surfers of all abilities, Surfrider Beach lives up to its name—but you can expect it to be crowded every weekend.
33. Jaws, Maui, Hawaii
With left, right, and barrel waves that can reach an impressive 88.5 feet, Jaws is another surfing location that’s not for the faint of heart.
34. Ponta Preta, Maio, Cape Verde
Ponta Preta is only for experts.
With waves breaking over exposed reefs, Ponta Preta demands its surfers have only top-level skills.
35.Superbank, Gold Coast, Australia
Looking for some great walls?
Superbank has you covered—sometimes quite literally.
36. Supertubes, Jeffrey's Bay, South Africa
With some of the longest rides of any spot in the world, Supertubes has—well—super tubes.
Famed for its right-handers, this beach is the favorite of some of the best in the industry.
37. P-Pass, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia
P-Pass is another spot with famed right-handers.
Only at this one, there are fewer people—meaning you get to keep more breaks to yourself.
38. The Box, Margaret River Valley, Australia
Surfers going to the Box need to be careful.
Known for its slab waves, water becomes unexpectedly deep at this popular surfing destination. Due to its popularity, the Box has inspired surfers to find similar dangerous slab waves all across the globe.
39. Killer Point, Taghazoute, Morocco
One of the most interesting things about this popular surfing location is how it got its name:
The large number of killer whales lurking around.
Still, this spot remains a favorite of hardcore thrill seekers everywhere.
40.Cloudbreak, Tavarua Island, Fiji
Are you looking for an expert challenge?
Then head to Cloudbreak. With 10-meter high waves, it may feel as though they really are breaking in the clouds.
Needless to say, this is a site that’s only for experts.
41. Pasta Point, Maldives
Guests looking to ride some of the wild left-handers at this famed location are going to have to pay a pretty steep price.
$340 a night to be exact.
Why? Because only those staying at Dhonveli Beach Resort & Spa have access.
42. Tamarindo Beach, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Want to ride three-meter waves while watching monkeys in the background?
Tamarindo Beach is the place for you.
Good for surfers of all skill levels, this popular Costa Rican spot is a must-visit for some.
43.Pedra Branca Ericeira, Portugal
Home to the Pedra Branca reef break, this quiet European beach has something for beginner to expert surfers.
If you’re looking for a non-crowded beach that has a lot to offer, Pedra Branca should be at the top of your list.
44. Riyuewan, Sanya, Hainan Island, China
Though you may not think of China as a popular surfing spot, it does feature one world-class surfing location in Riyuewan.
Despite the country’s large population, the waves aren’t crowded, meaning more fun for you.
45. Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Buxton, North Carolina
The waves here are fun to ride—but are unfortunately caused by hurricanes.
46. Baja Malibu, Baja Norte, Mexico
With both left and right waves available, Baja Malibu offers a great surfing experience with just one drawback:
The water quality is some of the worst in the nation.
If you want to come out to this destination, make sure no water gets in your mouth.
47. Surin Beach, Phuket, Thailand
Surin Beach’s waves leave much to be desired, but their active crowd and nightlife make up for it.
One of the more popular European spots over the last seventy years, Biarritz is great for surfers of all abilities.
49.Sultans, North Male, Maldives
One of the best surfing spots in the spring, Sultans offers one of the more dangerous experiences because of its potentially-fatal rocks.
50. Montanita Beach, Montanita, Ecuador
This great spot is new to the surfing scene, but that hasn’t stopped surfers from coming out to catch its right-handers in droves.