If you’re looking to hit the waves with your board over the colder season, you may need some inspiration for winter surfing destinations. Nothing beats the feeling of getting amped and charging at the sea to practise some gnarly moves, so why should the fun stop when summer ends?
There are plenty of places you can go to continue enjoying the sport, so there’s no need to bail until next year. You can opt to cheat winter entirely by heading straight for the southern hemisphere and going back into the summer season. Alternatively, you can see what the countries closer to home have to offer; you really don’t have to go far to paddle out and live that die-hard surfer life.
We’ve compiled a list of the best places to surf in the winter. From cheap winter surf destinations to longer-haul holidays, read our full guide and start planning your next beach break.
If you’re wondering where the best surf spot is in Europe in winter, Morocco ticks a lot of boxes and is a popular choice. The North African country has it all. You can experience bigger waves between November and February due to the changing Atlantic currents and winds, so you’ll be able to surf exciting swells if you have an intermediate to advanced ability.
Having said that, there are many beginners who take to Morocco for winter surfing. There’s such a range of areas and conditions to choose from that you’ll be able to select your spot based on your experience. It also doesn’t hurt your enjoyment that the weather is so warm, particularly in the south; the air temperature doesn’t tend to drop below 20 degrees in the Taghazout and Agadir areas. Even the winter water temperature in Morocco is around 18 degrees, so you can enjoy long hours perfecting your skills.
Anyone questioning whether you can surf in the winter clearly hasn’t considered heading Down Under. Okay, so it isn’t actually winter here, which is what’s so great. You get to escape the UK cold and make the most of brighter, warmer days, with water temperatures of around 24-26 degrees. At the same time, you get to ride bigger swells at this time of year and see less crowds, because this is cyclone season in Oz.
Winter surfing in Australia is topped by regions like the Gold Coast, with Bondi Beach and Byron Bay best exemplifying the beautifully warm, clear waters you can immerse yourself in.
The fact that the Canaries are closer to the UK than many other surf destinations makes it a convenient choice for a winter escape. Any of these volcanic islands could make the grade for best places to surf in the winter. Fuerteventura is particularly popular as it has such a beautiful landscape, with traditional Spanish culture and a good arts scene.
The island boasts long, sandy beaches and a variety of waves that cater to surfers of different levels; the North Atlantic swells provide enough excitement at this time of year for those looking to be challenged. Water temperatures remain pleasant during the winter, and there’s a relaxed atmosphere, making it an ideal spot to unwind. It also has good nightlife and plenty of sunshine all year.
Portugal’s coastline is famous for its consistent surf conditions. While the winter weather is milder than in the UK, the country still provides powerful Atlantic swells. Peniche, Ericeira, and Nazaré are just a few of the fantastic surf spots you can explore; the latter is the proud home of the world’s biggest wave.
Portugal has a relaxed culture and welcoming surf community, particularly at this time of year as the most committed stick around to enjoy their passion. There are also plenty of areas suitable for beginners. You can enjoy a traditional, rustic culture, striking landscapes and breathtaking sunsets, while getting more of the beaches to yourself as the crowds die away for the season.
You can’t beat the surfing culture in the place where the sport as we know it was born. With a 360-degree swell window, there’s superior surfing to be enjoyed. Hawaii’s consistent swells, generated by the Pacific Ocean, create some of the world’s most challenging and exhilarating waves, making it a pilgrimage site for surfers from all over the globe.
In particular, the northern shores are great at this time of year, where you can find iconic destinations like the Seven Mile Miracle, with 36 exceptional breaks. Pipeline, Sunset Beach, and Waimea Bay are favourites you won’t want to miss. The winter months, from November to February, see the biggest waves, attracting professional surfers and spectators alike. The water remains comfortably warm year-round, allowing surfers to enjoy these world-class waves without the need for a wetsuit.
Winter surfing doesn’t get much better than in Indonesia if you like your weather tropical and your waves dependable. There are huge swells to be found alongside warm waters and jaw-droppingly picturesque beaches. Choose from an array of islands, from Bali to Lombok, Java to the Mentawai Islands.
Indonesia’s stunning landscapes complement the surf experience, as does the vibrant culture. You can immerse yourself in local traditions, enjoy delicious Indonesian cuisine, and explore lush jungles when you’re not in the water or on the beach. The welcoming, laid-back atmosphere makes it a perfect destination for surfers looking for a winter getaway filled with unforgettable waves and experiences.
A list of the best places to surf in winter wouldn’t be complete without Sri Lanka. For an exotic winter surf adventure, it offers warm tropical weather, unfailing swells, and beautiful beaches. Spots like Arugam Bay on the east coast and Hikkaduwa on the west coast are popular among surfers. In the southern province, you can surf all year round and enjoy the swells of either coast.
As well as its 330+ days of annual sunshine, Sri Lanka offers a rich cultural experience and delicious cuisine for anyone wanting to explore beyond the waves.
If you don’t mind the colder conditions in the UK than other areas on this list, Cornwall is a fantastic choice. If this sounds bold, it may surprise you to know that many people do surf in winter in the UK, so you won’t be alone out there on the coast. In addition, there are many physical and mental health benefits to cold water exposure therapy, so you’ll be positively glowing.
The southwest of England is a strong winter surfing destination as it offers reliable conditions during the colder months. The Atlantic Ocean’s swells bring powerful waves to Cornwall’s rugged coastline, bringing opportunities for surfers of all levels to hone their craft, from beginners to seasoned pros.
Winter surfing in Brazil is a pretty safe bet for warm water, pristine beaches, and a lively surf culture. The country’s extensive coastline, especially along the northeastern region, offers an array of surf spots suitable for all ability levels. One of the standout surf destinations is Praia do Rosa in the state of Santa Catarina, with consistent swells and an extremely friendly vibe.
Other notable surf spots include Itacaré, Florianópolis, and Ubatuba, all offering great waves and a relaxed scene. Any of these destinations offer diverse landscapes, pristine coastlines, and a thriving surf community.
Costa Rica’s dry weather, reliable waves and unforgettable scenery make it one of the very best winter surf destinations. The country experiences offshore winds, steady swells, and pleasant water temperatures, creating excellent surf conditions year-round. Its Pacific coastline, in particular, offers a wide range of surf spots suitable for any level of surfer. The Guanacaste region on the northwest coast is a popular choice, with famous breaks like Tamarindo and Playa Negra.
Beyond the surf, Costa Rica’s lush jungles, diverse wildlife, and stunning beaches provide ample opportunities for adventure and exploration. You can go zip-lining through the rainforest, visit volcanoes, or relax in your downtime on pristine shores.
Get Surfing Insurance with SportsCover Direct
It doesn’t get much better than experiencing the freedom of catching waves. However, taking to the ocean doesn’t come without its dangers, so it makes sense to take out a suitable surfing insurance policy.
SportsCover Direct’s surfing insurance offers cover for a range of risks, with various options designed for your needs. Whether you have a collision, suffer an injury from physical exertion or have your equipment damaged, you get peace of mind from financial protection. Our travel insurance includes trips abroad, whether for leisure or competitive surfing, including medical costs or the event of cancelled trips. You can choose a bolt-on if you already have an existing insurance policy, or take out our sports accident insurance with options for personal liability and income protection.
Find out more and get an online quote in minutes. If you need any support, our helpful team are on hand to answer any of your questions.