Tracking surf spots that could use a coat of gloss.
If we didn't freak you out with the threat of killer jellyfish on your next aquatic adventure, then maybe you'll have the courage to visit our latest surfing spot. Just know that it sits just west of the San Andreas Fault, and we all know things have been shaking out west.
Just south of the Point Reyes National Seashore, Bolinas, California is a great honky tonk surf town--if you can find it. The locals remove any signs put up on the main road indicating the way into town. The Marin County public works department tries to provide directions to the town, but often new signs stay up for less than 24 hours.
The surf is consistent and not too severe, making it the ideal location for both beginners and intermediates. Surf schools like 2 Mile Surf Shop offer lessons for both individuals and groups and will certainly provide the gear to keep you warm in the cooler waters of Northern California. If you venture to Bolinas, just be sure to respect the locals--and don't tell them you read about it here!
We were shocked--shocked--to see Matthew McConaughey, Our Lord Of Perpetual Bare-Chestedness, with a covered torso on a recent surfing trip in Malibu. The famously shirtless new dad covered up with a neoprene top that he paired with board shorts in a fashion move that probably puzzled the paparazzi out of harassing him.
Maybe this is just a promo shoot for his upcoming movie "Surfer Dude," but if Matt really wanted to rip up some waves he'd check out our Honky Tonk Surf Towns map. Watch the trailer for this year's most pointless movie--featuring McConaughey, naturally shirtless--after the jump.
If Anne of Green Gables had lived 50 years later, she might have tied up her braids and hitched a ride to this northern coastal fishing town nicknamed "The Crick." Once a refuge during the Seven Years' War, the town now thrives primarily on lobster fishing and a smattering of summer beach traffic.
The best surf up here starts in August. If the waves are inconsistent during your stay, consider a sea kayaking tour or walk up to the famous lighthouse.
We know it's out of season, but we can't help including at least one Australian outpost in our Honky Tonk round-up.
Its population has swelled since the '80s, but we like to think Torquay township, in the state of Victoria, retains some of its pioneer charm. The site of one of Australia's most famous shipwrecks, this 19th-century picnic spot southwest of Melbourne has become a surf magnet thanks to its proximity to the scenic Great Ocean Road along the southeastern coast and the Surfworld Museum celebrating the beach bums of yesteryear. The awesome currents, of course, don't hurt either.
It's a balmy 50 degrees today in this southeastern Alaska town, and the waves are waiting: From an Inuit word meaning "the place where canoes rest," Yakutat catches great Pacific tides which keep the water warmer than the air year-round.
Don't by spooked by its proximity to the North Pole; boarders might find that with a wetsuit the ride is downright toasty. And how bad-ass is it to surf alongside a glacier? Photographer and Alaska native Scott Dickerson puts it this way:
There must be something about Alaskan surfers and the challenges that they must overcome to surf "the last frontier" that drives them to another level of addiction.
The town of 600 people, sandwiched between Mount Saint Elias and Mount Fairweather, even has its own gear outpost--the Icy Waves Surf Shop (635 Haida St.). Plus: No bears!
[Photo: Bold Searcher]
There's a reason the Eastern Surfing Association picked Buxton, North Carolina for its Best of the East surfing competition this September: The little village marked by the famous Cape Hatteras lighthouse picks up tides from northern Canada, giving it some of the biggest waves on the East Coast.
The fishing's not bad, either, and unlike other eastern surf oases, you probably won't have to attack a shark to get clear waters.
The ESA Easterns will be held September 21-27. The closest major airport is Wilmington International (ILM).
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Hanalei Bay is a two-mile crescent shaped epitome of a surf town on the north shore of Kauai. It features a low-key attitude, great surf during the winter months and that all-important picturesque setting. There are even lifeguards to keep you safe after even the most gnarly wipeout. (Maybe that's why our readers love it so much?)
If you work up an appetite from all the surfing and sun, check out the nearby taro plantations. The starchy Hawaiian vegetable is a staple for islanders, though cooked up as poi, it doesn't always impress visitors.
The Hanalei Wake-Up Cafe has more mainland fare. The walls are covered with pictures of great and not so great surfers, and plastic chairs and an outdoor balcony make this place an ideal hole-in-the-wall breakfast spot. We recommend the Over the Falls French Toast, but get there early as the place closes by 11:30 am.
Finally, check out the Princeville Resort if you need somewhere to stay. Even when surrounded by stunning ocean views, who doesn't love an infinity pool?
Playa Jacó and the nearby Playa Hermosa are only about a two-hour drive from the airport in San Jose, but are a world away from the aggravation of flight delays and new baggage fees. Jacó offers more of a beginner experience and has plenty of dive bars to check out once the sun has gone down. Hermosa is better for the more experienced, but either location provides solid conditions and the surfer lifestyle. If this is your first time, check out Jacó Surf School for some tips.
Each beach offers a chance to take in the surf in a location that hasn't been too, too overrun. (Though Jacó isn't exactly secret.) If you want to wake up, surf, grab a bite to eat and then repeat--this is probably your place. The weather should be fairly stable this summer, as the rainy season doesn't hit until September.
It's not just the presence of some of Hawaii's best surf schools that make this town on the north side of Oahu a prime surfing destination. In its evolution from remote plantation to tourist destination, the city of 2,225 described by Outside magazine as "the anti-Waikiki" has lost none of its charms, and the waves still hit its shores in a way that makes even experienced riders say, "Dude!"
With a high sand-to-reef ratio and a low difficulty rating, new surfers can feel comfortable, too. Major surfer dude and singer Jack Johnson even wrote a song called "Haleiwa."
To get you in the mood, we've also got some footage from the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, held in Haleiwa in 2005, just after the jump.
Ever in search of the real (or imagined) next thing, The New York Times was off surfing in Peru lately. And the little surfing town of Punta Hermosa was the standout in a country fully stocked with deserted beaches.
It sounds like something we'd definitely wanna get in on:
Curling waves fan out in all directions like Neptune's block party. Each break point presents a different challenge. There's Kon Tiki, which offers untamed waves so massive that it takes a strong arm even to paddle out to it; La Isla, where homegrown pros...can often be found; and Pico Alto, a brawny break with swells that can range up to 25 feet high.
Most people won't be tackling those waves, so the Times has info on a couple other surf destinations that are well off the beaten path. (We're talking epic taxi rides and Soviet-era puddle-jumpers.) These aren't the types of towns you just jet to for a weekend, but from the sound of it you could definitely melt into the sand if you had a week or two to spend in Peru.
A town can pick up some serious surf cred when it's name-checked in the ultimate ode to the sport, "Surfin' USA." And among the other names you'll hear in the Beach Boys classic is Swami's, one of Encinitas' 11 beaches and probably its best known.
That said, it's not the nicest spot for just relaxing. At high tide, the rocky beach is submerged and you'll have to go straight into the water. With lots of surfers in the water, this isn't the best spot for newbies, either.
And if you're skipping the surf for some reason, the Encinitas Garden Festival is happening on May 3. But check out the waves you'll be missing after the jump...