Every year, we watch the world’s best surfers gather at the coolest surf towns in the world. But what do we actually know about these ASP towns? In case you feel like channeling your inner Parko and heading to these warm, exotic locales to catch some of the best waves in the world, we’ve done our best attempt to break it down for you.
So whether you’re a beginner or an expert, here’s a guide to those perfect, glassy swells that qualify for ASP World Tour locale material:
1. Pipeline, Oahu, Hawaii, United States
Let’s start with the big one – the one that pretty much decides our ASP World Champ. Pipeline is the daddy of all waves. Most surfers will never be good enough to surf here, but there’s nothing wrong with dreaming of one day (maybe) riding its perfect crest. Aptly, it’s located at the island that created surfing, and is one of the heaviest waves in the world. If you can tackle it, you won’t regret surfing this flawless water tube and experiencing one of nature’s finest.
2. Keramas, Bali, Indonesia
Ask just about any pro surfer, and they’ll name Bali as one of their top three surf beaches, since this paradise island can boast abundant world-class breaks all over. This year, the first elite tour event in Indonesia since 2008 will be happening at Keramas, an internationally-recognized venue of high-performance surfing. While the righthand reef break of Keramas will serve as the primary venue, performance-oriented beachbreaks of nearby Canggu has been noted as a backup location. We look forward to the ASP Top 34 doing battle here for years to come.
3. Gold Coast, Australia
Another of the world’s finest breaks, the Gold Coast consists of a bunch of righthand pointbreaks. South-to-North, these are: Snapper/Rainbow, Greenmount (Coolangatta beach), Currumbin (The Alley) and Burleigh. Plus there’s a new artificial reef at Narrowneck. There’s also miles of beachbreak, which can be just as enjoyable. We suggest you road trip up the east coast of Australia and take your pick. Each bay is set up for the Australian national sport and you’ll be able to rent boards in most locations. You may well have the ride of your life, which will produce tubes and solid walls.
4. Barra de Tijuca, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Rio is a metropolis with rich cultural heritage, loads of beautiful people, and a huge center located with a breath-taking cathedral of 2,000 foot mountains bordering Guanabara Bay, with a massive statue of Jesus Christ overlooking all. Brazil offers year round warm weather and there are some good waves to be had. Between April and October, South Brazil garners swells from the east and south with powerful Antarctic swells that can get up to 10 feet. Its crowning surf jewel? Barra Da Tijuca, a fun wave for all surfers with rights and lefts, and the site of this year’s Billabong Rio Pro.
5. Cloudbreak, Tavarua Island, Fiji
Tavarua Island Resort, the heart shaped island in the South Pacific, is the premier surf and water sport resort in Fiji, and offers something for everyone. Cloudbreak, however, is a difficult wave to surf and is strictly for experts. The only way to surf Cloudbreak is to check into the Tavarua Surf Resort in Fiji. Cloudbreak is almost a perfect left, and has three main sections: the point (also called “the top”), the middle, and the inside (also called “Shish Kabobs”). The inside looks like the safest bet to most newcomers, but the boat drivers will tell you otherwise. The point and the middle are actually more rippable, and the inside is not called “Shish Kabobs” for nothing: the reef gets really shallow there, and it is very sharp.
6. Teahupoo, Taiarapu, French Polynesia
In the middle of the South Pacific lies the islands of French Polynesia. Amidst the incredible natural beauty, warm weather and plenty of waves, lies Teahupoo, one of the heaviest and scariest waves on the planet just off the shore of Tahiti Iti. “Chopes” is one of the high spots on the ASP World Tour, and is also one of the most challenging waves of the season. Known for the surf break and heavy, glassy waves offshore, often reaching 7 to 10 feet, and sometimes up to 21 feet, Teahupo’o is included on Transworld Surf’s list of the’ Top 10 Deadliest Waves’ and is commonly referred to as the “heaviest wave in the world”.
7. Trestles, California, United States of America
Trestles is a collection of surfing spots at San Onofre State Beach in San Diego. Trestles consists of, from north to south, Upper Trestles (Uppers), Lower Trestles (Lowers), and Middle Trestles (Middles). Lower Trestles is arguably the best surf break in the mainland United States, and is California’s premier point/reef break and a world-class showcase for high-performance surfing. It is here where the most futuristic maneuvers in surfing are attempted and perfected, and this world famous surfing break is known for consistently producing contestable waves.
8. Hossegor, France
Located on the Atlantic, expert surfing spot Hossegor has been dubbed the “surfing capital of Europe,” and has long been one of Europe’s premier surfing locations, with a series of world-class beach breaks such as Gravière and La Nord, and with nearby beach breaks in Capbreton and Seignosse such as La Piste and Bourdaines. Well known as a seaside resort and surfing center, it is considered as one of the best surfing locales in the world, with the city’s economy totally centered around surfing. People come from miles around to watch the pros ride tubes, and heavy walls break on the unnervingly shallow sandbank.
9. Bells Beach, Victoria, Australia
Bells Beach, a coastal locality of Victoria, Australia and a renowned surf beach, is the home of the world’s longest-running surfing competition – the Rip Curl Pro Surf & Music Festival, which was first held in January 1961. Bells Beach is a small bay and straight stretch with two headlands facing the Southern Ocean. Bells Beach has waves of ten to thirteen feet on good surfing days rising to as high as 16 feet depending on tide and wind conditions. The final scene of the film, “Point Break,” is set at Bells Beach (although the actual scene was not filmed there).
10. Peniche/Cascais, Portugal
Peniche, a seaside municipality and a city in Portugal, is known for its long windy beaches, and as Europe’s most consistent and flexible surf spot, has very good waves. The Peniche Peninsula is considered ideal for both novice and expert surfers. There are a wide variety of waves – sand, reef, left, right, hollow, mellow – all within a few minutes of each other. Supertubos is the most popular wave in the region, with very fast and powerful (tubular) waves that look so similar to the Hawaiian Banzai Pipeline that many now refer to it as the “European Pipeline.” The world-class wave found at Supertubos is being touted as one of the best beach breaks in the world. Waves can reach up to 13 to 16 feet in height, drawing their power from the long and deep swells which are fuelled by the Atlantic Ocean.