The World’s Top Countries for Surfing

With coastlines around most of the globe, many nations offer world-class surfing. This guide reviews some of the best surfing destinations based on consistent waves, infrastructure and cultural surf experiences.

Hawaii, United States

Renowned for big, powerful waves including Pipeline and Waimea Bay. North Shore draws pros each winter. Mild weather all year attracts surf camps and schools.

Consistent Surf All Year

Trade winds generate surf spot on over 100 accessible reef and point breaks across 6 islands.


An archipelago spanning over 17,000 islands with every imaginable wave type. Heavy barrels at G-Land, Mentawais and Papua’s Supersuck. Low-key surf culture.

World-Class, Uncrowded Surf

Warm water and weather and friendly locals make recharging surfer’s paradise despite limited amenities outside towns.


Surfer’s mecca with more breaks than any country. Pipeline barrels at Bells Beach, Supertubes in Margaret River, Kirra’s perfect peaks.

Surfing Culture and Infrastructure

Decades of surf tourism mean amenities, events, education and conservation efforts abound across sunny coasts.


Waves wrap around three coasts including pointbreaks like Puerto Escondido’s Zicatela. Lodges in Sayulita and surf camps up/down Baja California.

Inexpensive Surfing Very Close to the U.S.

Mitigates costs while enjoying consistent, uncrowded waves near tourist centers.

Costa Rica

Waves peel across both coasts. Playas Hermosa and Jaco break surf and golf getaways. Eco-lodges amid jungles provide private points at Mal Pais and Dominical.

Emphasis on Conservation

Ecotourism supports sustainable forestry and protections for marine preserves around spectacular breaks.

South Africa

Multi-directional surf from Cape Town along Garden Route beaches to world-class Jeffreys Bay and Supertubes. Surf camps cater to all levels.

Infrastructure for Surf Tourism

World-class hotels, restaurants, gear shops and quaint surf towns back consistent Southern Hemisphere waves.


Hcane barrels at Hossegor, pointbreaks like Seignosse and high-speed racing waves at La Torche in Brittany and along the Basque Coast.

Surf Culture Meets French Style

Enjoy wine and pastries between sessions while integrating beach living at core Mediterranean spots.


Surging pointbreaks line the Silver Coast like Supertubos in Peniche. Consistent waves without crowds near coastal towns.

Remote Gems Along the Coast

Discover empty, undeveloped breaks amid dramatic scenery just 2-3 hours’ drive from major airports.


Warm water, strong swells and uncrowded reef/pointbreaks from Lima north. World-class Californian Barrels at Chicama and remarkable sandbar waves.

Inexpensive Surf Oasis Near South America

An up-and-coming budget-friendly surf locale close to Peru’s inland adventure destinations.

New Zealand

Famed pointbreaks from Raglan’s ridiculous barrels to Gisborne’s East Coast with surfing woven into Maori culture and beautiful scenery.

Committed Surf Tourism Infrastructure

Luxury surf lodges, events, education and conservation further cement reputation as surfing mecca.


This overview illustrates how countries spanning multiple regions offer world-class surf tailored to all budgets and abilities thanks to factors like infrastructure, consistent swells, uncrowded waves and culture integrating the lifestyle. With surf spots blanketing coastlines worldwide, any global explorer can satisfy their surfing passion.

Frequently Asked Questions

What country has the best waves for beginners?

Costa Rica, Hawaii and Mexico have many gentle waves suitable for novice surfers looking to learn.

Which country has the biggest, most powerful waves?

Hawaii’s North Shore and certain Atlantic spots in Portugal experience the biggest, barreling surf.

Where is surfing most culturally ingrained?

Australia, Hawaii and parts of South America like Peru have deep surfing traditions ingrained in local custom.

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