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The 20 Top Surf Destinations For 2020

Looking for the top surf destinations for your 2020 surf trip? From reeling reefs in Indonesia to empty perfection in Mozambique, it’s time to get planning!

Looking for the top surf destinations for your 2020 surf trip? From reeling reefs in Indonesia to empty perfection in Mozambique, it’s time to get planning with my top surf destinations for 2020.

Get your board packed up and ready to go!

Just as a quick word of advice – even though I’ve given a rough guide to the surf ability you’ll need for each spot it really does depend on the swell, as many become advance or even expert only once they start pumping!

 

The Top Surf Destinations For 2020

Solomon Islands

Out of all the places I surfed in 2019 The Solomon Islands hands down takes the prize for my favourite surf trip. In fact it’s probably the best surf adventure I’ve ever been on!

Tropical paradise, empty lineups, warm water and no wifi…a total digital detox filled with reeling reef breaks!

And for those reasons it’s top of my 2020 surf destinations.

Sure it’s not the easiest or cheapest place to get to, but the reward is as close to perfection as I’ve found anywhere in the world. And if you don’t believe me watch the video edit I put together and then tell me you don’t want to head there too!

Best surf season = October to April

Top breaks = Anchovies, Donuts, Kologhose, Marista

Ability = Intermediate to Expert

Click here for my full Solomon Islands surf guide

 

Yamba, Australia

Yamba is one of those off the main tourist track destination in Australia that should certainly be on every surfer radar. This sleepy little beach town in Northern New South Wales offers an array of beaches and uncrowded surf.

For beginners Turners offers up a fun little beach break, where as more seasoned surfers will love the reeling rights of Angourie Point – just be surf to respect the locals and play nice.

There are a variety of camping sites all around the area and plenty of holiday lets too.for budget trips check out the Yamba YHA – Shane and the crew will take really good care of you and help you score the best spots!

Best surf season = February to May

Top breaks = Angourie, Turners

Ability = All levels

 

Byron Bay, Australia

byron bay surf spots guide australia pass wreck tallows
Main Beach Is Heaps Of Fun

Another one of my favourite spots in Australia, Byron Bay is renowned for its beach vibes, barefoot lifestyle and being a creative hub.

There are also HEAPS of surf spots all around Byron Bay and the nearby coastline suitable for all levels of surf.

From the famed right hand point The Pass to punchy left handers off the Wreck and more rugged waves along Tallows Beach there are plenty of surf spots to choose from.

Coupled with an abundance of accommodation, restaurants and nightlife it makes Byron Bay an epic surf destination…albeit rather crowded sometimes!

Best surf season = February to May

Top breaks = The Pass, Main Beach, The Wreck

Ability = All levels (depending on the spot)

Click here for my Byron Bay Surf Guide!

Canggu, Indonesia

Although the Buckit is easily the most famous surfing area in Bali – the hipster town of Canggu is an increasingly popular surf destination in Bali, especially for those looking to learn to surf or practice their skills on more forgiving waves.

More advanced surfers will also enjoy the waves round at Echo Beach – which offers a fast left hand reef and super punchy beach break with plenty of cover up opportunities.

Even though it’s pretty busy at times canggu makes the list as a great convenience surf destination – with plenty of guesthouses and hotels for all budgets, pumping nightlife and plenty of food options too.

Best surf season = May to September

Top breaks = Echo Reef, Batu Balong, Old Mans

Ability = All levels (depending on the spot)

Click here for my full Canggu Guide

 

Mentawai Islands, Indonesia

best mentawai surf spots guide mentawai islands indonesiaIf you want to go all out with some world class waves then you can’t go wrong with the Mentawai Islands – no top surf destination list would be complete without it!

Sure it’s not the easiest or cheapest place to get to – but the effort is worth the reward!

The Mentawais have a huge abundance of epic waves – from charging overhead barrels at Kandui to fun reeling waves at places like Beng Bengs and Burgerworld.

Plus it’s easily one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited – I’ve never seen that many palm trees before!

Best surf season = May to September

Top breaks = Kandui, Ebays, Burgerworld

Ability = Intermediate to Expert

Click here for my full Mentawais Guide

 

Red Island, Indonesia

It’s pretty easy to list of heaps of well known surf breaks in Indonesia, but Red Island in Java is still flying slightly under the radar.

Often overlooked in favour of its famous neighbour G-Land (about a 3 hour drive away), Red Island is probably one of the emptiest beach breaks I’ve ever surfed! On my last trip there I saw 2 other tourists and 4 local surfers my entire stay!

Sure it’s not going to be a huge favourite with seasoned surfers wanting the best of what Indo has to offer – but if you’re looking to learn to surf or want empty waves and laid back vibes it’s a solid shout.

And if you do fancy something bigger you could always take a day trip to G-Land too!

Best surf season = May to September

Top breaks = Red Island Beach

Ability = All levels

 

Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia

Just off the coast of Bali (about a 30 minute speedboat in fact) lies the island of Nusa Lembongan. Despite the ease of getting there this awesome little spot is still largely unaffected by the crowds of Bali and you can score some super fun reef break sessions here.

Spots like Playgrounds (my personal favourite) offer up some fun lefts, or if you’re hunting the big stuff Shipwrecks is going to give you some famed Indo cover ups on the right swell.

The island itself is pretty chilled, with some awesome cliff side bars and restaurants – perfect for a cold cocktail as the sun melts into the water behind the surf.

Best surf season = May to September

Top breaks = Shipwrecks, Playgrounds, Lacerations

Ability = Intermediate upwards

 

Medewi, Indonesia

medewi surf bombora wave lodge bali surf resort review.Goofy footers – this HAS to be on your bucket list! Medewi is easily the longest wave I’ve ever surfed anywhere in the world – with my Apple Watch clocking in my personal best at 394m long.

…let that sink in for a second!

Yup Medewi offers up some truly memorable rides when the conditions are right. Don’t expect punchy barrels here though –  it’s a long carveable wall which is ideal for perfecting your rails to rail game.

The only downside is there not much to do in Medewi other than surf – so make sure you time your trip right (it’s about 2 hours north of Canggu) and chase the swell.

Best surf season = May to September

Top break = Medewi Point

Ability = High end beginner upwards

Click here for my full Medewi Surf guide!

 

Thulusdhoo, The Maldives

The Maldives is a hot spot for tropical surf perfection – but you don’t have the be a millionaire to enjoy it.

Hitting up the local islands in The Maldives is a great way to enjoy paradise without smashing your wallet heaps – and Thulusdhoo is probably the most well known local surf island.

Home to Cokes – one of the most famous waves in the country – the island has a huge range of surf camps, guesthouses and hotels to choose from, so all styles and budgets are catered from.

When it comes to the waves Cokes offers a fast, barreling right hander than works in a huge variety of swell sizes, but beware, when it’s pumping its experts only!

On the other side of the channel lies Chickens – a long reeling left hander which will get any goofy footers stoked. It’s definitely more forgiving than Cokes but can still pack a punch when it’s firing.

Best surf season =

Top break = Cokes, Chickens

Ability = High end intermediate upwards

Click here for my full Thulusdhoo Guide

 

Himmafushi, The Maldives

The second of my Maldives picks to make my top surf destinations guide for 2020 – Himmafushi is the place to head if you want to surf in The Maldives without smashing your budget!

Situated just a short speedboat from the airport you can kick back here for $50USD per night – including daily surf boat, brekkie and a double A/C,en suite room. Oh and that price is for 2 people! Now I bet you didn’t think The Maldives was that affordable hey?!

Wave wise you’ll have 3 spots on your doorstep too – with the awesome right hander Jailbreaks just a short paddle off the island.

Across the channel also lies 2 more famed Maldives surf spots – Sultans and Honkys – so whether you want to go left or right there are options for both.

Best surf season =

Top break = Jailbreaks, Sultans, Honkys

Ability = High end intermediate upwards

Click here for my full Himmafushi Guide

 

Coffee Bay, South Africa

My favourite stop on my recent surf trip to South Africa Coffee Bay is stunning as a destination.

It’s small, super laid back and the coastline surrounding it is absolutely epic.

Expect empty lineups, warm water and some super fun waves across this beach break – with the lefts being the biggest draw here. There are also plenty of empty points and reefs all around the area too, with bigger swells lighting up all manner of secret and semi secret spots!

If you’re looking to learn to surf local hostel The Coffee Shack offers some of the cheapest surf lessons I’ve seen anywhere on the planet – about $4USD a lesson including all the gear!

Best surf season = April to September

Top break = Coffee Bay Beach

Ability = All levels

 

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is where I started my epic South Africa Surf trip and even after 10 weeks surfing all along the coast it still ended up being one of my favourite spots.

When it comes to waves there’s something for everyone. For beginners Muizenberg Beach offers one of the best learner waves in the world (also heaps of fun for loggers!) or for those more experienced Long Beach and Kalk Bay offer punchier beachies and reefs.

It’s position on the southern tip of Africa also means you’re almost always guaranteed offshore conditions on one side of the city or the other.

As well as all the epic surf Cape Town itself is filled with heaps of things to do – everything from wine tasting and hiking Table Mountain to chilling with penguins, snorkelling with sea lions and even paragliding.

Best surf season = April to September

Top breaks = Long Beach, Muizenberg, Kalk Bay

Ability = All levels

 

Tofo, Mozambique

One of my favourite surf trips of the year took me to Mozambique, where empty, reeling right handers were the name of the game.

Our main base for the trip was Tofo (aka Tofinio) which was not only stunning but served up more than enough waves to keep everyone happy.

Sure Mozambique is a bit more off the beaten track – but the extra planning and travel time is well worth it.

And of course if you’re not too keen on venturing solo, hiring a 4×4 and exploring check out this awesome guided Mozambique surf trip which I jumped on.

There are some spots further North which are well worth scouting out if the swell is right and you’ve got a full 4×4 setup, but I’m leaving them off the list for the moment…!

If you’re there in the right season too make sure you jump on a whale shark snorkelling trip – so epic!

Best surf season = June to August (good swell from Feb to Oct though)

Top breaks = Tofo Point

Ability = Intermediate upwards

 

Siargao, The Philippines

If you’re looking for another awesome surf destination to hit up in Asia then the Philippines is full of waves fuelled islands.

One of the most popular – both for tourism and surfing – is Siargao.

This island sits in the South West of the country and is home to a huge variety of surf spots – including the famous Cloud 9 which was once on the WQS tour.

Once described as Bali 30 years ago unfortunately a huge boom in tourism has made it more on par with the Indonesian island now in terms of prices and crowds, but like Bali there are still some epic waves to be had if you put in the effort.

In the last 2 years direct flights from Manila have opened up so the days of having to get to Cebu, overnight there before getting one of the 3 weekly flights over are behind us, making it easier than ever to visit.

I must admit I was torn about putting it on the list because of these changes – but if you’ve never visited before I know you’ll be stoked on it!

Best surf season = July to December

Top breaks = Cloud 9, Daku Reef, Stimpys

Ability = Best for intermediate upwards

Click here for my full Siargao Surf Guide

 

Taitung, Taiwan

Looking for somewhere slightly quirkier to hit up for some waves? Well how about Taiwan?

Yup there are some super fun wave there – in fact it even plays host to the WSL Longboard Championship.

With an abundance of cyclone swells heading its way there are plenty of spots along the coast, although Taitung tends to be the hub of Taiwanese surfing – with spots like Jinzun Harbour and Donghe Rivermouth lighting up during the season.

When you’re not surfing head out to the local night markets for a huge culture shock (chicken anus kebabs anyone?!) or for those not feeling as adventurous the steamed dumplings are next level!

Again it’s not one of the easiest spots to get to (mainly due to the language barrier) but it’s a surf adventure you wont forget in a hurry.

Best surf season = October to March

Top breaks = Jinzun Harbour, Donghe Rivermouth

Ability = Intermediate upwards

 

Bristol, UK

Ummm…Bristol?! How the hell did the city of Bristol in the UK make the list?!

Well it’s pretty simple really – in November 2019 The Wave opened…powered by Wave Garden technology it’s now one of the best artificial wave pools in the world, pumping out perfect lines 365 days a year!

Sure it’s not quite the barreling lines of Kellys Wave pool, but the Wave in Bristol can pump out 15-20 wave sets, with only a few minutes re load time in between, allowing you to easily grab 10-15 waves in an hour long session.

At the moment you wont be grabbing any stand up barrels (they’re currently risk assessing all the wave variations) but you’ll get a super fun hackable wall and even. cheeky little head dip on the inside.

For beginners it’s the perfect place to learn to surf too – with a controlled, safe and structured environment.

Expect to pay £45 for an hour long session (including all the gear) which is a small price to pay for perfection and although it’s not the same experience as the ocean your waves are guaranteed, which is a huge advantage!

Best surf season = Year Round!

Top breaks = The Wave

Ability = All levels

Click here for my full review of The Wave

 

Croyde, UK

So how did a second UK destination make the list? Well I have to admit Croyde is where I learnt to surf so I definitely have a soft spot for this sleepy beach village on the North coast of Devon.

For those learning to surf on a small swell the beach offers some super fun, soft waves and there are plenty of surf schools in the area who will get you up and riding.

For more experienced surfers when the swell rolls through from the Atlantic a low tide session at Croyde will produce more classic barrels than you’d expect and it’s the training ground for big wave surfer Andrew Cotton who calls the village home.

If you need to hire or buy any gear go see my buddy Sam at the Little Pink Surf Shop and he’ll hook you up!

Best surf season = August to November

Top breaks = Croyde Beach

Ability = All levels

 

Montanita, Ecuador

If Canggu and Byron Bay are up your street then you’ll love Montanita in Ecuador – which is basically the South American version of them!

A few hours from the international airport in Guayaquil this town is all about the waves.

The beach break offers up plenty of softer waves for beginners, but also some super fun banks for more advanced surfers when the swell picks up.

Experienced surfers will want to hit up La Punta though – a really fun right hand point break when will keep you more than entertained and is home to quite a few local and national surf competitions.

After a hard day in the waves kick back with a cold mojito in cocktail alley (find Eugenio, he makes the best ones!) and dance the night away at Cana Grill to some epic salsa tunes.

Best surf season = December to April

Top breaks = La Punta, Main Beach

Ability = All levels (depending on swell size)

 

La Libertad, El Salvador

The only Central America spot on this years list (mainly as I still haven’t got around to exploring that area yet!), La Libertad came onto my radar after watching the stories of Patricia of World Wide Travelog on Instagram.

Heaps of culture mixed with reeling right hand point breaks is a formidable combination to ignore – especially in an area of the world where your money can go a long way too.

Spots like Sunzal offer a more beginner friendly waves (it’s also a favourite with long boarders) where as spots like Pinta Roco are world class – hollow, long and reeling.

Best surf season = March to May

Top breaks = Punta Roca, Sunzal, Conchalío

Ability = High end beginner upwards

 

Ahangama, Sri Lanka

Surfing in Sri Lanka has been on the rise recently and one fo the most famous spots to head to is Ahangama.

Although not as high level as Aragum Bay on the East Coast, Ahangama offer a huge range of waves – including beginner beach breaks and fun reefs too.

It also has the added advantage of being much easier to reach from Columbo Airport too – so less time travelling is more time surfing!

The rising popularity of Ahangama has brought some crowds with it – but there’s also a huge range of guest houses and surf camps for a range of budgets as a result, making it a firm favourite for those planning a quick, tropical escape.

Best surf season = October to April

Top breaks = Ragith Surf Point

Ability = All levels (depending on swell size)

 

What top surf destinations would you add to the list?

Where are you heading for some waves in 2020?

 

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