Crashing waves and endless horizons beckon surfers to the water. Whether you are a novice or a skilled long-boarder, discover five dream surfing destinations around the world.
Relaxing on a beach vacation may mean sitting with a good book for some travelers, but for others, the thrill of communing more closely with the power of the sea and catching a wave on a longboard is the real lure to the ocean. From gentle waves to looming swells, there are opportunities for new surfers and experienced riders alike at top surf spots around the globe. The rush of that first moment you successfully stand on your board can be hard to recapture, but surfers of all experience levels are sure to find their sweet spot at one of these destinations around the world.
Laguna Niguel, California: An Iconic California Experience
Located just south of Los Angeles in Orange County, the beaches of Laguna Niguel have hosted surfers for over 60 years — the sport made its U.S. mainland debut in 1907 at nearby Huntington Beach. In fact, the world’s oldest running surf contest, the Brooks Street Surfing Classic, is based on the beloved Brooks Street Beach (you can sit on the benches high above the beach to take in the pro surfers on busier days). But for a true novice, start with personal coaching arranged by your concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel to help you master the basics before you try to really tackle the waves.
Maui, Hawaii: A Beiginner's Dream
The first recorded account of surfing in Hawaii can be traced to the writing of British explorer Captain James Cook’s crew in the late 1770s. But the practice of surfing dates back to the ancient Hawaiians, who used the sport as conflict resolution between tribes. While Hawaii as a whole is home to some of the most intense pipelines in the world, the beaches of Maui are as known for their beginner-friendly waves as the island is known for poke and shaved ice. (A perfect post-surf snack!) Kapalua Bay has been named the Best Beach in the World by Condé Nast Traveler, making it a perfect place to get your sea legs. The beach is also well-suited for standard board or body surfing (otherwise known as boogie boarding), depending on your interest. After a day spent learning how to catch a wave, soothe your sore muscles with a massage at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Kapalua, where treatments are based on ancient indigenous practices.
Half Moon Bay, California: Where the Pros Go
While Southern California has long been an iconic spot for surfers, the Northern California coastline actually has some of the state’s most impressive waves. The Titans of Mavericks is an annual competition that takes place in Half Moon Bay, where avid surfers come to ride some of the biggest waves in the world (the competition was actually cancelled recently due to the waves being too big). From your perch at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay on the southern-most tip of the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, you can take in all the action. If you find yourself so inspired, work with the concierge to craft a surfing lesson tailored to your own experience level.
Bali, Indonesia: Discover the Sisterhood of the Surf
The beaches of Bali are known for their dreamy, saturated sunsets floating over seemingly endless horizon lines. But how you spend your time during the days leading up to sunset can be anything but languid. For women who are looking to travel solo or have a more active girls’ getaway, there are several companies that specialize in female-only surf camps in Bali. Learn how to surf in a non-judgmental environment with plenty of encouragement and a strong focus on leading an overall healthy lifestyle. And don’t be intimidated by the feeling of stepping into a deeply embedded foreign surf culture — an American actually introduced surfing to Bali in the 1930s, and it didn’t really pick up full steam until the 1970s. Today, the sport is so well-loved that at The Ritz-Carlton, Bali, surfing is part of the daily activity schedule, allowing guests to craft an experience suited to their skill level.
Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico: Solo Surfing on the Outer Reefs
For intermediate to advanced surfers, Dorado Beach is blessed with world-class surf breaks on the outer reef, only accessible by ski or boat. To experience a day of head-high waves, ask the concierge at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve to arrange a guided session. For extra assistance riding the best and biggest waves, your guide can tow you on a Jet Ski to the heart of a breaking wave, helping you catch waves that would have otherwise been difficult to paddle. The waves on the outer reef are also known for their seclusion, allowing you to experience the meditative calm that comes along with surfing at its finest.