Around the World on a Surfboard

Get on board and explore Earth from the water.

According to the International Surfing Association, there are 35 million people worldwide who go surfing every year.[1] In addition to the waves, it’s the unique atmosphere of surf towns that draws visitors of all ages and skill levels. Here are just a few of those great towns.

Hanalei, Hawaii

The ancient Hawaiians are said to have been among the first to board surf, and the islands remain a global surfing destination. Located on one of Hawaii’s least developed islands, Hanalei offers challenges for nearly every level of surfing skill. Off the beach, hike through the five valleys of the Na Pali Coast State Park.

Florianópolis, Brazil

Floripa, as the locals prefer to call it, is Brazil’s island capital of surfing. Take your pick from 42 different beaches, from the novice-friendly Barra da Lagoa to the more challenging Joaquina Beach, which sometimes hosts professional competitions.

Taghazout, Morocco

With the arrival of European hipsters in the ’60s, this ancient Berber encampment became a surfing destination. The vibe is that of a frontier trading post, and you still need a 4WD vehicle to reach out-of-the-way areas. Beginners can surf off the beaches, while others can challenge themselves on the waves off Killer Point.

Byron Bay, Australia

Australia loves surfing, and Byron Bay offers one of the favored settings for it on the continent. Beginners can stay on the beach, while more advanced surfers can head south to Broken Head.

Shonan, Japan

Huddled on the country’s west coast, home to dark-sand beaches as well as reefs, points and river mouths for all levels of surfing, this former fishing town is considered the home of Japanese surfing.

Encinitas, California

If you’re looking for a fantastic Southern California surf experience, this prototypical beach town is the spot. Popular destinations include Seaside, Cardiff Reef, Swamis and D Street. Outside the official city limits, seasoned surfers head to Blacks, the La Jolla reefs, Ocean Beach to the south and Oceanside and Trestles to the north.

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