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.

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.

Josh Daniels
From the Travel team
minute read
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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.


A travel traffic light system has been introduced for international travel. From 19 July 2021, trips to green and amber listed countries are legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. However, you’ll still need to fulfil any pre-departure requirements, such as testing. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant local authority.

If a country is on the green or amber list, you still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. This is to ensure you’re aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and to check travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed at short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice for the latest information.

The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to red listed countries. Should you choose to travel against the FCDO rules, you will not be covered by any travel insurance policy you purchase. Some providers do offer cover for international travel if you’re travelling for essential purposes, however most do not. In all cases, should you have any queries please check the policy wording or contact your chosen provider before purchasing to ensure the cover meets your needs.

Travel within England, Scotland and Wales is permitted under the current guidelines. However, public health rules and lockdown restrictions continue to vary, including entry restrictions for Northern Ireland. Check the latest guidance from the official tourism boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

Our panel includes insurance providers who quote cover for all medical conditions declared on our website, with no exclusions.

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPs) has launched a directory of insurance providers on its Money Advice Service website that may be able to provide quotes over the phone, if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at the Money Advice Service or by calling the British Insurance Brokers’ Association on 0370 950 1790.

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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