Top 10: Surfing Beaches

Some people hit the beach to relax and bask in the sun, but the real beach lovers are those who engage in a much more energetic activity: surfing. If you are among the growing number of adventurous sportsmen who love to hang 10 , you'll be very interested in the following list. It outlines the world's best surfing beaches, based on quality and frequency of the waves, weather and accessibility.

Number 10

Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain

The northernmost of the Canary Islands, Lanzarote arguably boasts Europe's best surf. Though the swells are not huge, the warm waters and consistent waves keep surfers coming back for more. The resort of Famara is the ideal spot for you to catch waves, as it has a mile-long beach and a British Surfing Association Surf Clinic where you can hone your skills with the aid of a teacher. The ideal time to get gnarly at Lanzarote is from November to February, when the waves are biggest and the weather is perfect.

Biggest waves: 6 feet

Number 9

Kandahar Beach, Mexico

With access to the water from reefs, rivermouths and beaches, surfers of all talent levels can enjoy the swells at Kandahar. In fact, in addition to novices and experts, longboarders and shortboarders can take advantage of the different waves. The beaches are not as crowded as some of the other spots mentioned on this list and so, you'll always have enough room to ride, even during the busy months of May and June.

There are fast, wild waves at The Boca, great longboard conditions at La Saladita, and challenging breaks at Troncones Point. To take advantage of these great spots, it is highly recommended that you rent a car.
Biggest waves: 15 feet

Number 8

Huntington Beach, U.S.A.

Though the surrounding area has been given a Hollywood-like facelift, no amount of construction can change the waves at Huntington Beach. Known as Surf City, U.S.A., Huntington has, by many accounts, the "perfect break." On good days, the wave curls just right and is easy to catch off of the large pier. Professionals ride these babies during the annual OP Pro Surfing Tournament and International Surfing Championship.

Contrary to popular belief, the ideal time to catch "the big one" is not during the summer months. The oft-surfed south side area often gets battered by high winds and the break is not as good as it is during winter, which is the time locals claim is ideal.
Biggest waves: 10 feet

Number 7

Isla Ensenada, Panama

Hardly distinguishable on any map, this paradise lies five miles off the Panamanian coast. But after the discovery of some world-class breaks, this site has begun teeming with surfers.

To visit, you must join the Morro Negrito Surf Camp (which is actually two islands), which gives you access to the beach, in addition to the small breaks of the Big Island and the 10 challenging breaks of the Small Island. Since only 20 lucky surfers can join the camp at a time, no area is ever crowded. What's more, there are still beaches on the islands that have yet to be developed, so there are plenty of opportunities to explore, especially during the peak surfing months of April through October.
Biggest waves: 8 feet

Number 6

Surfers Paradise Beach, Gold Coast, Australia

The name says it all. One of the busiest Australian destinations, Surfers Paradise Beach is unrivaled when it comes to surfing conditions. Though the waters may be crowded, most visitors argue that the ride is well worth the wait. Off of the 492-foot wide beach, you'll find the warm Pacific waters very inviting. Swells for every skill level offer riders a long, fun-filled trip. To get the best waves and weather, visit from March to June, or September to December.

Of course, part of the allure of Surfers Paradise is the extracurricular activities, which include plenty of nightspots, parties and restaurants. Don't forget to take advantage of these while on the Gold Coast, dude.
Biggest waves: 12 feet

Number 5

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

After the popular surfing film The Endless Summer 2 showcased Tamarindo's goods, tourists were tripping over themselves trying to get to this Central American hotspot. Now developed into a full-fledged resort, Tamarindo has not lost its edge as an exclusive surfing spot. Spots like Little Hawaii and Witch's Rock are among the most legendary, thanks to aggressive swells and almost perfect weather.

Unlike other areas in life, size doesn't matter here in Tamarindo. Longboarders and shortboarders alike are welcome here, as the rivermouth opens to a world of waves accommodating both styles. Peak tourist time is during the winter months, but the great waves continue from April through July.
Biggest waves: 9 feet

Number 4

Jeffrey's Bay, South Africa

A notorious surfing destination thanks to its six superb breakpoints and consistently great weather all year, Jeffrey's Bay sees some picture-perfect waves roll onto its beaches, including "Kitchen Windows," "Magna Tubes" and "Albatross." It is no wonder the popular Billabong Surfing Festival attracts the world's best surfers here every July -- the conditions are ideal.

For purists, there is no better place to be. There are no distractions or over-the-top resorts -- if you don't surf, there is not much else to do. Enjoy it while it lasts, especially during the peak months of May through August.
Biggest waves: 8 feet

Number 3

Buzios, Brazil

At first, Buzios appears to be nothing more than a typical Brazilian fishing village, but look closer and you'll find 23 (count 'em) beaches to serve your surfing needs. The area is so nice, in fact, that it has been dubbed "the jewel of the Carioca seaside."

At Manguinhos, windsurfers can be spotted year round thanks to the 10 to 25 knot winds, while the shortboard surfers can be found off the beaches of Pero and Geriba. Generally, the conditions are calm and inviting, especially during the peak months of December through February. As a bonus, several beachside clubs and bars await you following a day on the waves.
Biggest waves: 8 feet

Number 2

Papara Beach, Tahiti

At Papara Beach, surfing is not only an attraction for tourists -- it is a way of life. At this legendary location, nature has put in place all the necessary tools to make any surfer drool. From the clear water to the light breeze and postcard beach, you're all set here in Tahiti.

Only a short paddle out from the beach will bring you to waves that rise to challenging heights, while a short boat cruise brings you to the huge monster waves that make this area famous. Whether you try out these big ones or stick to the breaks closer to land, you need to be experienced to visit this perfect surfing spot. Ideal conditions exist between November and April.
Biggest waves: over 20 feet

Number 1

Waikiki, Hawaii

No list concerning surfing would be complete without a top entry from Hawaii. True surfers will appreciate Hawaii's -- and especially Waikiki's -- deep history of the sport, which was popularized in the early 1900s on beaches that are still bustling today.

There is a reason, other than lore, why Waikiki has become a surfing mecca. The clear waters, constant sunshine and enormous breaks are almost too awesome to believe. Beginners can learn to surf at Canoes, while pros can experience the waves that come crashing at the Queens section. Though conditions are great year round, the best of the best riding happens from May to September.
Biggest waves: over 20 feet

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