Summer Surf Travel Guide

In the northern hemisphere the temperature is rising and layers are being shed. Thick winter wetsuits are being stored away in exchange for their thinner cousins or even board shorts for a lucky few.

However, for many of us the summer months and warmer climes are accompanied by inconsistent and/or poor quality swell. Well, surfers being surfers, this provides enough of a flint to initiate a surf trip. For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, the mercury has now fallen, so perhaps there is a bit of inspiration here for a surf trip to warmer climes, too.

Below I have listed 5 locations you could (should!) head to over the next five months. If my words don't convince you, surely the photos will.

June - Nicaragua

Nicaragua Surfing

Why? The photo above was just a couple of days ago - that's why! Imagine a mythical land where offshore winds consistently groom perfect head high beach breaks day after day, and all you need is a board and board shorts or bikini to enjoy it? Well, imagine no more! Thanks for the geographcal magic of the huge inland lake, Nicaragua enjoys 300+ days of offshore wind every year, and the Pacific Ocean is on the other side supplying plenty of long period swell.

How? Get in touch with Nicaragua Surf Report to get the low down on conditions and accommodation. Then be sure to hit up the dudes at Hostel Pacha Mama, particularly for their legendary Sunday Funday Pool Party! Oh and while you're there, be sure to grab an ice cream from the team at Scoops & Spokes.

July - Sri Lanka

Why? A relatively small island that is open to everything the Indian Ocean throws at it, Sri Lanka is increasingly on the surf travel radar. You are likely to get good waves any time of year, but by mid way through the season swells have been wrapping up the South East enough to push plenty of sand down gems such as Arugam Bay (pictured above). Throw in super friendly locals, amazing culture and incredible food at a price thats tough to beat and you're probably wondering why you haven't booked your ticket already!

How? Get on a plane to Colombo ASAP; I flew with Sri Lankan Airlines recently primarily because they were cheap, but was blown away by brand new planes, plenty of beer, and hands down the best airline food I have ever had (a curry to rival anything down on terra firma). From there, get a ride to the East Coast and go explore; while waves like Arugam Bay can provide a priceless but well known ride, there is more to be found for those who are a bit more adventurous. 

August - Indonesia

James Mitchell at Nias

Why? Um...really? You still need a 'why' to go to Indonesia?...OK, here it is. Whilst there are plenty of well known and relatively crowded breaks from Bali & Lombok, to the Java and Sumatra mainland and even some of the Mentawai Islands this archipelago has over 18,000 islands. Yes, EIGHTEEN THOUSAND. and while not all of them are exposed to swell, many are, and many have more than one rideable surf break. You do the math. In August, Southern Ocean storms send long period swells towards anything exposed to the Indian Ocean and Indonesia is a surfer's playground. Throw in some of the kindest locals you could ever wish to meet and a host of accommodation options from dirt cheap open air huts to 5-star 'don't lift a finger' surf camps and all you gotta do is decide when & where to explore. Oh, the same goes for boat trips...Giggity.

How? My personal approach is to get your flights in & out of Indo booked, and maybe your first couple of nights accommodation, and then plan the rest on the ground. This gives you best flexibility to chase swells and negotiate good deals in person. Of course, this won't always work with some of the more higher end options so maybe talk to The Perfect Wave if you want everything booked end to end for your dream Indo trip.

September - SW France

Why? While the French summer can provide waves (one of the few times in Europe you can surf in board shorts) the crowds leave after summer, and the consistency is ratcheted up a few notches when Autumn starts to hit. Storm activity in the north atlantic sends swell down into the Bay of Biscay, and the Hoosegor trench will ensure any energy in the ocean will pack a punch. On land delights in the form of French food & wine may have you feeling a bit slower than normal for some of the early dawn surf sessions though!

How? Fly to Biarritz or Bordeaux and get a train, bus or ideally rental car to Hossegor. I say ideally rental car, because then you have freedom to move around and find banks to yourself up and down the many miles of golden sand banks. You will still get waves if you stay in town and walk to the local beaches, but be prepared to share them with a few of your best French, and sometimes Spanish buddies if surfing Santosha, VVF or Hossegor main breaks. As far as accommodation goes, I always love staying at H2O Holidays in Capbreton.

October - Portugal

Portugal Surf

Why? Similar to France, Portugal's surf really hits the ignite button on Autumn (it is no coincidence this is when the world tour passes through both countries). After spending the last two months living here I am sure you, like I, will fall in love with the culture and friendly locals - very unique character to this country which is intoxicating.

How? Hop on a plane to Lisbon and party a couple of nights in Europe's new 'it' city (the locals know how to party too, trust me...). Then when you're ready to surf your way to a detox, grab a rental car and drive either north or will not be disappointed with the options you have at every stretch of breach or rocky point sticking out to sea. AirBnB will have you staying in amazing local apartments and houses particularly in the open countryside.

Where Else?

This a few of my favorite spots over the coming months, but is less than the tip of the iceberg. Where will your surf travels take you in the coming months?...Of course, if you're heading to warmer waves and are susceptible to surf rash, sunburn, bug bites and then some, SETT Surf Rash Cream is you best travel companion too, so be sure to grab some before you head off - Enjoy!


Thanks – Talk soon,

James (Mammoth)

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