Unless you have enjoyed the feeling of 'riding a wave' it's hard to explain just how free surfing makes you feel. As well as giving you a sense of freedom, surfing also has other positive benefits. It increases your balance and fitness while giving you confidence in yourself and your abilities. Becoming part of the surfing community is also a great way to share experiences with new friends. If we have tempted you to think about surf holidays, read on for our top ten suggestions of where to find a wave.
Considered to be the birthplace of surfing, Hawaii offers warm water, tropical beaches and the perfect year-round climate. Since ancient times, surfing has been an integral part of the Hawaiian culture and lifestyle. From October to March, every Hawaiian island has huge surfing swells but the north coastline of Oahu Island definitely has some of the world's best waves.
Surf holidays based around Newquay's Fistral Beach offer a world-class experience whether you're a novice or a seasoned surfer. Fistral Beach is just a short walk from Newquay's hotels while its guaranteed waves make it the home of several national and international surfing competitions each year. Surf shops and surf-themed restaurants all add to the laid-back atmosphere.
If you're just starting out as a surfer then Kuta Beach in Bali is the place to go. It offers several major surf schools as well as board hire while during the dry season of April to August its waves are just the right height for beginners. At the end of a day's successful surfing, join other surfers enjoying the buzzing nightlife scene.
Australia is one of the world's most iconic spots for surf holidays. Every coastline combines beautiful scenery with breaking waves suited to all surfing levels. Although crowded, Bondi Beach remains one of Australia's most popular surfing spots or enjoy a more tranquil experience near Perth on one of Rottnest Island's 63 beaches.
A magically beautiful coastline and world-beating swells make South Africa a surfing hotspot. Jeffrey's Bay offers the 'second best wave in the world' backed up by a hip surfing scene. Further away from Cape Town is Elands Bay where a choice of beaches and conditions cater for surfers of all experience levels.
Made famous by the Beach Boys, surfing is definitely big in California. In fact, for many, it's a way of life whether watching or taking part. Huntington City Beach is long enough to escape the crowds while Swami's Surf Beach at Encinitas is a mecca for expert surfers riding 'The Wedge'. This wave can reach up to 30' in height.
Surfers have the pick of Portugal's entire coastline. Carcavelos, close to Lisbon, is a popular but busy summer spot which regularly hosts international surfing competitions. Also popular is Sagres. This dramatic location is the epicentre of surfing on the Algarve. For a less crowded experience, head to the Alentejo coastline south of Lisbon. You'll find high-quality surf schools at destinations such as Vila Nova de Milfontes.
With year-round sunshine and some of Europe's best waves for beginners, Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands should definitely be on your list of surf holiday destinations. Head to Corralejo for a good choice of surf schools while the lagoons of El Cotillo near Las Palmas not only deliver a relaxing surfing experience but a good post-surf atmosphere.
Two areas in France stand out for excellent surfing. One is the north-facing coastline from North Brittany up to Belgium. Here strong reef breaks provide a challenge for experienced surfers. The other is from southern Brittany through to the Spanish border. One surfing destination worth checking out here is Hossegor in the Landes region. Its waves are not for the faint-hearted.
Landlocked Munich might not immediately spring to mind as a surfing destination but experienced surfers with their own boards can combine a city break with the challenge of riding the standing wave at the Eisbach. Be prepared for cold water and strong currents whatever the season. Only one person can surf at a time, so beat the queues by going on a rainy day!
For those who like a round or two, our range of golfing destinations, will have you reaching for your clubs along with your passport.