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Great surfing destinations

Great surfing destinations

What makes a great surfing location? Well, handily placed inviting accommodation, friendly locals, a nice atmosphere and (of course) waves.

These are our picks of great surfing locations.

We’ve also added some handy tips when it comes to your  travel insurance,  so you can ride the waves with peace of mind that you’re covered in case anything goes wrong.

Patrick Ikhena
From the Travel team
minute read
posted 29 JANUARY 2020

Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa

South Africa has perfect conditions for surfing. Its coastline is lashed by the Indian and Atlantic oceans and produces great waves pretty much anywhere. It’s the Cape area, though, that’s best known for its surfing.

Jeffrey’s Bay (or J-Bay to the locals), is one of the most famous surfing destinations on the globe. Located in the Eastern Cape, the area produces waves to challenge the most experienced of surfers. This includes the so called Supertubes offering the highest walls of water.

For beginners there’s Muizenberg, a safe and inviting environment with great waves for the novice to start honing their skills.


As of 23rd Match 2020, the UK Government announced a series of restrictions to travel, public spaces and gatherings. For a minimum of three weeks, people are being instructed to stay at home whenever possible. For this reason, travel insurance policies purchased from this date, for trips within the UK with a start date before 13th April 2020, will not be valid.
The UK Government also instructed all British tourists and travellers, that are currently abroad, to return to the UK as soon as possible.
As of 17th March 2020, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised against all non-essential travel abroad for an initial period of 30 days. This means that any travel insurance purchased from this date, for trips outside of the UK with a start date before 16th April 2020, will not be covered by the provider.
Coronavirus was declared a pandemic on 11th March 2020, so this may also affect your policy, particularly those taken out on or after that date. Please check any existing policies carefully, to find out what you’re covered for.
For more information please see our travel insurance and coronavirus pages.

Oahu, Hawaii

No surfing list is complete without the inclusion of the self-styled home of surfing – Hawaii. Here, surfing is more than simply a recreational sport, it’s become engrained in the culture of the islands.

Waikiki is probably the spiritual home of surfing and is a great place to learn to surf, as well as offering good swells for the more experienced.

Oahu, said by some to be the best place to surf in the US, is a surfer’s dream. Here you’ll have the chance to ride the perfect Pipeline waves, which can grow to more than six metres in height.

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Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica

Costa Rica has literally hundreds of beaches along its coast and surfers have flocked to Costa Rica’s waves for years, well before the rest of the country caught up on the tourism possibilities.

With so many great breaks, it’s hard to single out just a couple of surfing spots in Costa Rica. The beach town of Playa Grande is famed for its leatherback turtles, wonderful sunsets and yes, great waves.

For beginners and experts alike, try Tamarindo Beach, half a kilometre of great beach, warm water and 30-metre long waves.

Tofino – British Columbia, Canada

The surf capital of Canada combines great waves with a truly magnificent environment. Surrounded by a spectacular looming rainforest in one of the prettiest spots on Vancouver Island, it’s set in nearly 350,000 hectares of beauty and wildlife.

Just as the scenery is stunning, so too is the surf. With a variety of breakers, the beach is suitable for surfers of all abilities. When you’re done with the sea, the summer brings nonstop markets, festivals, and cultural events.

For the hardcore enthusiast, the winter brings the biggest waves if you can brave the cold wind and water – just remember to take a really good wet suit.

Bundoran, Ireland

Ireland may seem an unlikely destination for surfing, but it’s known as “Europe’s cold-water Indonesia” and Bundoran is a seen as a must-do by many surfers.

The beach near the centuries old fishing village catches just about every breaker that makes its way across the North Atlantic. This makes for a great supply of waves that average about 3-4 metres in height – with the occasional giant thrown in for good measure.

Though the cold may put off some surfers, that’s more than made up for by the warmth of the hospitality in the local pubs.

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What about getting surfing insurance?

Surfing insurance could be included in your standard travel insurance policy, however restrictions may apply, so you may need to upgrade your policy.  

It’s a good idea to read the policy information carefully before taking out the policy, as a full list of sporting activities covered or excluded can be found in the policy wording.  

If necessary, talk to the insurance provider to make sure you get the cover that you really need for your trip. You’ll be able to find out if it’s included at no extra cost or if you need to pay an additional premium.

Put simply, travel insurance with surfing cover is a must because it may provide:

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