Surf is everywhere. It rolls past our coastlines, whipped up by storms off shore, held up by offshore winds, and can go from playful to terrifying the blink of an eye. Sometimes it’s blue, sometimes green, sometimes gray. Whatever it looks like, it’s always beautiful. Islands have some of the best waves, and this gallery shows twenty of the world’s best surfing islands. From India to Indonesia, there’s a wave for everyone.
#1. Bali, Indonesia: From the powerful and ultra-consistent Indian Ocean waves to the sizzling nightlife, Bali has it all as the best surfing island on the planet. Since surfers began arriving in the early 1970′s, Bali has captivated and seduced millions of visitors with an intoxicating mix of surf stoke, unique Hindu culture and the charm and graciousness of the Balinese people themselves, whom have learned well what visitors want and how to provide it for them in abundance. There are problems to be sure, with overcrowded lineups, rubbish-strewn beaches and sewage disposal at the top of the list with no solutions in sight, but the party rolls on. Image: Callahan/surfEXPLORE
#2. Tavarua, Fiji: Tavarua established the Gold Standard for surf resorts worldwide back in the 1980′s. Despite recent changes allowing open access to anyone to surf Cloudbreak and Restaurants at any time, the tropical perfection of the island, the luxurious accommodation, easy access to the waves and warm hospitality of the local Fijian people is the big draw for staying on the island itself. Many guests return year after year, renewing old friendships with Cloudbreak and Restaurants, and with staff members who treat them like family while introducing their children to the charms of one of the world’s best tropical islands. Image: Callahan/surfEXPLORE
#3. Thanburudhoo, Maldives: A sliver of land in North Malé atoll in the Indian Ocean with the quality waves of Sultan’s and Honkies breaking on each side, uninhabited Thanburudhoo Island was once the exclusive surfing paradise of Tony Hinde-Hussein and friends in the 1980′s. The island later became a military firing range with bullets flying around and no surfing allowed. More recently, with no more shooting and surfing allowed again, the island became a favorite location for the many surf charter boats active in North Malé atoll and the growing number of local Maldivian surfers. Under the control of the Maldives Ministry of Defence, one of the last undeveloped islands in North Malé atoll may soon become a “boutique surfing resort” with exclusive surfing rights to two of the better waves in the entire Maldivian archipelago. Image: Callahan/surfEXPLORE
#4. Oahu, Hawaii: The island of Oahu in Hawaii has been a surfing fixture for decades. From the historic black and white images of the Waikiki Beachboys in the 1930′s to the longboard championships at Makaha in the 1950′s to the iconic tube slouches of Gerry Lopez and Rory Russell in the 1970′s, what happens on this island has influenced every aspect of modern surfing from surfboards to boardshort to contests. While the South Shore and the West Side have lost influence and appeal in recent decades, Oahu still shines a beacon to the surfing world every winter as the Triple Crown of Surfing brings the best surfers to The Country for three big-wave events and the resulting mediafest covering five weeks of the world’s best showcase of competitive and performance surfing. Image: Callahan/surfEXPLORE
#5. Siargao, Philippines: From obscure beginnings as a last refuge for Maui surfer, visionary and drug dealer Mike Boyum, Siargao Island in the Philippines has become one of the most popular surfing destinations in Asia. The international media exposure of the first media trip to Cloud 9 in 1992 and the support of the local government of Surigao del Norte Province to stage a very popular competition each year has kept the island on the radar of surf travelers worldwide. Despite chronic overcrowding at “Crowd 9″, the island and the hollow right barrels of the most famous wave in the Philippines continue to be popular with Filipino and foreign surfers alike and the completion of a long-awaited airport for easier access will ensure continued popularity. Image: Callahan/surfEXPLORE
#6. Lanzarote, Spain: Known as the European Hawaii, the Canary Islands get most of their swell in the same winter time period and have long been popular with UK surfers for a winter getaway to warmer waters and powerful waves. A forbidding volcanic landscape gives way to blue ocean in Lanzarote, with sharp lava reefs and powerful north Atlantic swell. With an abundance of accommodation and good variety of spots, Lanzarote deserves its popularity with European surfers with the only negative factor being the aggressive locals who deal with ill-mannered visitors by dealing out quick punishment. Image: Callahan/surfEXPLORE
#7. Barbados: Placed well out in the Atlantic Ocean, the former British colony of Barbados is a great island for surfers. Consistent tradewind swell from the Atlantic means very few flat days and the occasional hurricane swell in season can produce offshore winds and turn east coast spots like Soup Bowl near Bathsheba into world-class hollow pits. Barbados has many accommodation options from megabucks mansions to budget self-catering apartments and the small size of the island means many spots are within easy driving range. Image: Callahan/surfEXPLORE
#8. Santa Catarina, Brazil: Quality waves and a relaxed European vibe far from the urban chaos of Rio and São Paulo makes Santa Catarina island in southern Brazil deservedly popular with Brazilian, Argentine and Uruguayan surfers. The island features the excellent beachbreaks of Joaquina and Campeche and more than 40 surfable waves in the prime south Atlantic season of March-April and September-October. The state capital of Florianopolis on the lagoon side of the island is considered one of the safest and best governed urban areas in the country, with great restaurants and lively Brazilian nightlife. Image: Callahan/surfEXPLORE
#9. Reunion, France: The sublime tropical island of Réunion has long been on many a surfers’ Bucket List. From the dreamy perfect lefts of St Leu to trekking in the otherworldly cirques of the interior to chilling in the French ambiance of sleepy St Denis with a cold Bourbon beer, Reunion has almost everything. The waves are definitely there, generated by non-stop groundswell during the southern hemisphere winter of April to October. Unfortunately, so are a lot of big sharks, with five people killed so far in 2012 alone. With much local debate about what, if anything, can be done to make surfing and diving in Réunion less risky, local and visiting surfers proceed with caution and more than a little shark paranoia. Image: Callahan/surfEXPLORE
#10. Hispaniola (DR and Haiti): The Caribbean Sea is a rich surf zone and no island is blessed with more waves than Hispaniola. Shared between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the DR has many waves on the Atlantic-facing eastern coast and Haiti also gets waves both from the Atlantic Ocean and consistent seasonal windswell in the Caribbean Sea. The big differences are in culture and language, with Haiti being a former French colony and the DR a former Spanish outpost, and in the number of surfers. The DR gets thousands of surfing visitors each year and has hundreds of local surfers while Haiti gets very few surfing visitors and the number of committed surfers in the entire country is less than ten. Image: Callahan/surfEXPLORE
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Source: The Inertia | Author: John Seaton Callahan