Surfing as a sport and a hobby has always been dominated by the Americas and, to a very great extent, Australia. Thus, it is on many beaches of the Pacific Ocean that one finds some of the legendary, scenic and challenging spots which are popular for surfing with different kinds of incoming waves that provide a natural challenge for surfers.These, as well as some other locations, make up the few beaches and waves that any surfing enthusiast must not miss. In fact, these are not only great for professional and hobbyist surfers, but also for vacationers looking for the perfect beach experience. Entire settlements have arisen at these areas solely around the sport of surfing, artistic surfboards, equipment shops, small and charming seaside hotels and eateries can be found by the dozen.
- Soorts-Hossegor, France
Nicknamed as the surfing capital of Europe, Soorts-Hossegor is a small settlement in South-Western France that has been famous for the surf culture that has sprouted there unexpectedly. Each year, the Quiksilver Pro France is hosted here and the beach breaks include the Gravière, La Nord as well as La Piste and Bourdaines in Capbreton and Seignosse respectively. Other than being a must visit for surfers, this city also has a vibrant night life, various lavish celebrity mansions and plenty of activity on the sea side for vacationers.
- Maverick’s, California
During the winter months, this beach faces 25 to 80 feet high waves due to the wind currents that hit Northern California. Maverick’s is a challenge that only the best of the best try and take up, and those who succeed automatically become legends. An invitation-only contest called the Titans of Maverick’s is held each and legends such as Daryl Virotsko, Kelly Slater and Tony Ray have competed and won in this. Not for the faint of heart, this beach is usually only visited by professional surfers.
- Palikir Pass, Pohnpei
From Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Located in the remote Pacific islands of Micronesia, this beach is usually less crowded other than visiting surfers, due to its sheer inaccessibility. However, this island has some breathtakingly beautiful blue beaches where each year about 20 surfers come to enhance their skills. The waves are high and break far away from the beach, and it is famous for its late take-offs, fast down-the-line rides and hollow barrels.
- Uluwatu and Kuta, Bali
Bringing Asia into surfing history, the Kuta beaches attract not only surfers from nearby Australia and Hawaii but also amateurs, tourists etc. The peak season for this 5 km long beach is April to October. Uluwatu is a reef located at a short distance from the beach which makes for some excellent surfer waves. This reef has been divided into various sections such as the Outside Temple, the Bommies, Temple, the Outside Corner, the Racetracks and the Peak.
- Teahupo’o, Tahiti
Also known as Cho Po, this island in the Southern Pacific Ocean, French Polynesia and Tahiti is a location frequented by professional surfers such as Kelly Slater, Andy Irons and Bobby Martinez. The coral reefs as well as the Pacific wind currents make for waves that have been known to go up to 23 feet in height, and various surfing records have been made and broken here time and again. The annual Billabong Pro Tahiti Surf Competition as well as the Teahupo’o ASP World Tour Event Champions is held here each year.
- Supertubes, Jeffrey’s Bay
Located on the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, Jeffrey’s Bay was known, for the longest time as a sleepy settlement of fishfolk and hippies. However, of late, it is much sought after by professional surfers and hosts the annual Billabong Pro ASP World Tour. Waves of different kinds are found here, such as Supertubes, Kitchen Windows, Albatross, Magna Tubes, Tubes, the Point and Impossibles, Boneyards. This beach is famous for its Supertubes, a wave format that breaks out at about 30 metres.
- Pipeline, Oahu
The most legendary and notorious beach of them all, Pipeline is located in Hawaii. Heavy waves that average at 9 feet tall come curling and crashing down onto the beach are a main feature of this beach. These waves have been conquered by many renowned names such as Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, John John Florence, Mike Stewart, Sunny Garcia and many, many others. Numerous deaths have also taken place at these treacherous waves.
Beaches, with their calm tides and relaxed nature, are not usually associated with high energy sports. However, these waves that form in the Pacific Ocean approach the beach with such height and ferocity that is frightening to imagine someone surfing them. However, conquering these very waves, even those located in the almost-unheard of islands in the middle of the majestic Pacific Ocean, is the passion of every surfer with a love for the sport.