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The Wayfarers Surf Travel Guide: Where to Surf in Each Month of the Year
July 1st, 2019 + Wayfarers Atlas

Selecting the right surf travel destination and the ideal time of year to travel there is often a complex process. It comes down to the individuals and what you want out of your surf holiday.

While summer may seem like the perfect time to hit the beach, you are often faced with crowds, onshore winds and average surf. In most destinations around the world, it’s often winter that is prime time for scoring incredible waves.

The art is in finding the ‘sweet spot’ for any destination where you get the balance between waves and weather.

 

Here’s our epic 12-month travel guide on the best places to surf throughout the year.

 

JANUARY: California

Season: Winter

Climate: Sunny days with the average high sitting around 18°C (around 64°F)

With over 800 miles of shimmering coastline along the Great Pacific, it’s not surprising the Golden State is one of the most popular surf meccas on the planet. With generally larger and more consistent swells coming out of the west and northwest, California in January is prime season for spots in Santa Barbara, Ventura, South LA and most of San Diego. You can expect mostly blue skies, sunny days, large and consistent surf and light winds all day long with slightly cooler water temps and fewer crowds in the winter months.

If you’re looking for warmer weather and waves, consider a trip during Fall (September to November) with average temperatures around 21°C (around 70°F) and a good combo of swell, excellent wind conditions and fewer crowds.

 

Stylish Stays in California: The Surfrider Malibu

The Surfrider Malibu

The Surfrider Malibu The Surfrider Malibu

Image courtesy of The Surfrider Malibu

 

 

FEBRUARY: Mexico – Punta De Mita

Season: Winter

Climate: Dry and hot with the average temperature sitting around 27°C (around 80°F)

From November to March, the waves are pumping along the Riviera Nayarit coastline in Mexico. Punta De Mita is a fishing village and luxury resort area on Mexico’s Pacific coast. It’s surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, enjoys toasty warm temperatures during winter and has easily accessible breaks making this a true surfer’s haven.

El Faro, Stinky’s, Le Lancha, El Anclote and Punta Burros are just some of the fun breaks you can enjoy in this peninsula region, where swells from the northwest and southeast offer up reliable, consistent surf year round.

Just to the north is the vibrant surf village of Sayulita, a bustling little town filled with palm trees, cobblestone streets, colourful street flags, boho boutiques and hippy-chic cafes galore. Drift lazily in the early morning glow, soak up the peeling, chest-high rights, groomed by a warm offshore wind and green waters and then wind down with tequila cocktails and tacos beneath an orange-hued sky.

 

Luxury Stays in Punta De Mita: The Four Seasons Punta Mita

Image courtesy of The Four Season Punta Mita

 

Luxury Stays in Sayulita: Amor Boutique Hotel

Sayulita luxury accommodation, Amor Boutique Hotel

Image courtesy of Amor Boutique Hotel

 

 

MARCH: Sri Lanka (West Coast)

Season: End of the Dry Season

Climate: Warm days and clear skies with the average temperature sitting around 32C (around 90°F)

With tropical warm water and fun waves, Sri Lanka a big drawcard for wave lovers who are looking to leave the wetsuit at home. Surf spots like Weligama Bay or Hikkaduwa work beautifully during the European winter months. The best season to surf the west coast is between January and April when the warm equatorial sun keeps the air temps at around 30°C and water temps close to 28°C. If you want to head east, wait until the next season (April to October) which is when everyone flocks to surf spots like Arugam Bay and Pottuvil Point.

 

Exotic Stays in Sri Lanka: Cape Weligama

Aerial view of Cape Weligama

 

 

APRIL: The Maldives

Season: End of the Dry Season

Climate: Warm days and clear skies with the average temperature sitting around 32C (around 90°F)

The allure of bamly turquoise waters, crowd free waves, luxe vibes and an island paradise to call home. That’s the dream, right? April is a great time to head over and enjoy the warm kiss of the Maldivian waves. Surf season kicks off from April and runs through to October. The biggest swells are likely to occur from June to September. Holidaying in the postcard-perfect Maldives takes the word “paradise” to a whole new level and this time of year is perfect for wave hunters of all levels.

 

Luxury Maldives Surf Resorts: SONEVA FUSHI

View More Maldives Surf Resorts

 

 

MAY: Australia

Season: Autumn

Climate: Warm days and clear skies with the average temperature sitting around 25C (around 77°F)

It’s hard to pick just one spot to surf in Australia, particularly on the East Coast where endless waves abound. While the summer months bring hot days and balmy waters, autumn months usher in consistent swells, fewer crowds, crisp mornings and perfect offshore winds. Our pick is Cabarita Beach in northern New South Wales! It is home to some super fun beach breaks and located only a short drive from the world-class breaks around Snapper Rocks, Kirra and Byron Bay.

 

Luxe Australian Beachfront Stays: HALCYON HOUSE

Exterior of Halcyon House and Pool area

 

 

JUNE: Costa Rica

Season: Wet Season (Winter)

Climate: The average temperature sitting around 32C (around 90°F)

Exotic Costa Rica is a popular destination with a super chilled vibe and consistent surf and warm water temps all year round. From top notch breaks to beginner-friendly waves and everything in-between, Costa Rica offers picture perfect waves for surfers of all skill levels.  The mornings are often sunny with tropical storms rolling through in the afternoon. June is considered shoulder season with the combo of relatively good weather and regular swells.

Check out the region’s top surf towns of Tamarindo, in the region’s north, or to the lesser known locale of Santa Teresa.

If you are on a pilgrimage to re-live the 1964 film, Endless Summer II and surfing Witches Rock or Ollie’s Point is top of your bucket list, consider a stay at the Four Seasons. This luxe property is the closest resort to these iconic breaks and offers guided boat transfers.

Chilled Out Stays in Costa Rica: Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsular Papagayo

Four Seasons Costa Rica luxury surf resort

Image courtesy of the Four Season Costa Rica

 

 

JULY: Indonesia – Bali and the Mentawais

Season: Dry Season (Winter)

Climate: Warm days and clear skies with average the temperature sitting around 27C (around 80°F)

Offering the most consistent and impressive waves on the planet, you can surf breaks in Indo for most of the year but the start of the cooler dry season means the West Coast and famed Bukit Peninsular is starting to light up. Trade winds blow east to west, grooming the southern ocean and creating the perfect surf conditions.

While the Mentawai Islands may take a little longer to get to, these remote reef breaks are worth every minute. The most consistent surf season for the Mentawais is between March and October.

 

Bali’s best Surf Resorts: SUARGA PADANG PADANG

view of pool from wantilan ocean deluxe Suarga Padang Padang

View more incredible Bali Resorts

 

Mentawais Best Surf Resorts: RESORT LATITUDE ZERO

Mentawais Surf Resort accommodation at Resort Latitude Zero

View more Mentawai Surf Resorts

 

Ultimate Luxury at Sumba’s Best Surf Resort: NIHI SUMBA

Marangga view to the Occy's Left

 

 

AUGUST: Fiji – Mamanucas Islands

Season: Winter

Climate: Warm days with the average temperature sitting around 27C (around 80°F)

Palm trees, warm turquoise waters, friendly locals, kids’ clubs, sundrenched golden sands … what’s not to love about Fiji? Ask any diehard surfer, and they’ll tell you the best time to surf in Fiji is whenever you can make the trip! It’s best during the dry season between April and October when consistent swells roll on in. Legendary breaks such as ‘Restaurants’ and the iconic `Cloudbreak’ for the seasoned surfers are there for the taking so dive on in and enjoy.

 

Fiji’s Best Surf Resorts: SIX SENSES FIJI

View from beachfront pool villa deck at Six Senses Malolo Fiji

 

Fiji’s Coral Coast is best around November to March (Matanivusi Resort is our fave eco-friendly resort in this location). Only a short boat ride from Matanivusi Surf Resort, are three right-hand reef breaks that, depending on the wind, tide and swell, can offer the experience of a lifetime. And from November through to April, the reefs near Qamea Resort & Spa (nestled in the northern Fijian islands) become a surfer’s oasis. The winds are light and variable, producing chest-high to overhead waves with occasional bigger days.

 

 

SEPTEMBER: Samoa

Season: Dry Season

Climate: Warm days with the average temperature sitting around 29C (around 85°F)

Samoa is the very definition of an undiscovered surfing paradise. With the perfection of Indonesia (less the crowds) and the power of Hawaii, Samoa is a stunning tropical destination with world-class waves that will blow you away. Both Samoan islands of Upolu and Savai’i attract swell all year round, with fantastic reef breaks scattered to the North, South, East and West. You’ll find the most consistent swells coming up from the southern ocean, exploding on Upolu Island’s south shore during the May to September season. Try your hand at any number of magical surf spots, including A’ufaga Village, Salani and Boulders (a classy left break nicely tucked in out of the SE trade winds).

 

Great Surf Resorts in Samoa: SINALEI REEF RESORT and spa

Aerial view of Sinalei Reef Resort and Spa, Samoa

 

 

OCTOBER: Philippines

Season: End of the Wet Season

Climate: Hot, wet and high humidity with the average temperature sitting around 32C (around 90°F)

The typhoons in the North Pacific start sending strong swells towards the pristine Philippine islands around August, so it’s a great time to start seeking out the perfect wave in the following months. The waves are generally best between September and May with the legendary Cloud 9 on Siargao offers picture perfect barrels at this time of year, and only a 15-minute drive away from the divine Nay Palad Hideaway.

 

Great Surf Resorts in the Philippines: Nay Palad Hideaway

Nay Palad Hideaway beachfront

 

 

NOVEMBER: Portugal

Season: Winter

Climate: Mild with the average temperature sitting around 18C (around 63°F)

Offering up a charming culture, delicious cuisine, friendly locals and excellent waves, Portugal really does have it all. And with a coastline facing both west and south, Portugal is an absolute swell magnet. In autumn (September – November), the swells kick in, the waters are warm, and it’s a little less crowded than the summer season. It’s the perfect time to check out the spots on the central coast, the likes of Peniche, Ericeira, Nazaré, and the breaks near Lisbon. If you’re just starting out, you might want to head over between September and May, but for experienced pros, a November trip will see you scoring consistently good waves in a romantic European setting.

 

Great Surf Resorts in Portugal: Noah Surf House

Noah Surf House Portugal

Noah Surf House PortugalNoah Surf House Portugal

Image courtesy of the Noah Surf House Portugal

For barefoot luxury in a rugged locale, families and adventure lovers will love the luxe, eco-conscious Santa Barbara Eco Beach Resort on the northern shore of the island of São Miguel. There are only 14 contemporary luxe rooms in this tranquil place. Put it on the surf holiday bucket list.

 

 

DECEMBER: Hawaii – Oahu

Season: Winter

Climate: The average temperature sitting around 27C (around 82°F)

The spiritual home of surfing, Hawaii is blessed with consistent swells and beautiful water temps all year round, but December is the ideal time to watch the North Shore of Oahu do its thing. Its a jaw-dropping experience even to watch the giant swells roll in and the surfers gutsy enough to tackle them.

There are only two seasons in Hawaii – summer (“kau”) from May to October and winter (“ho’oilo”) from November to April and winter is prime time for swell on the North Shore. December can be a busy time of year in and out of the water with the world’s best surfers in town for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. If Pipelines not for you then head down the road to the likes of Lanis and Jockos which are much less crowded and forgiving.

For those looking to avoid the crowd of pros, consider a trip in April-May. During the spring you will capture Waimea and Pipe with plenty more space and mellower vibes. For those surfers who prefer to avoid death-defying rides, Puaena Point close to Haleiwa Town is the go-to for surf schools seeking safe passage and rad rides without the mammoth size.

 

Great Hotels on Oahu: Turtle Bay Resort – North Shore

Turtle Bay Resort Oahu North Shore

Image by Wayfarers Atlas

 

Some of the top things to consider when choosing a destination:

Your surfing ability – What kind of waves are you after and when do they roll in?

Crowds – School holidays and peak summer periods will always equal a crowded lineup.

Budget – Always expect higher rates during school holidays and peak summer periods.

Climate – Some tropical destinations around the world are ideal during winter when temperatures are lower. The wet season in a lot of countries brings swell but also heavy downpours.

Wind – Do your research and always consider trade winds – that could mean checking if you will only have a 2-hour window to surf in the morning before it turns to mush or if the resort pool is going to be hit by onshore winds for most of the day.

 

There is always a place around the globe where’ll find the perfect wave – you just need to know where.

Let us know you find the right destination! Get in CONTACT with us to discuss the best option for you and your family.

 


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