Author Archives: Renuka
Wave Tribe editor and writer, helping to bring you great surf articles from around the world.
Author Archives: Renuka
Wave Tribe editor and writer, helping to bring you great surf articles from around the world.
Located in mainland Mexico at the entrance to the Sea of Cortez, the area is a magnet for south and southwest swells. Ranging from hollow A-frame beach breaks to incredible world class point breaks, surfers of all ability levels will get a thrill of a lifetime—or at lest Mexico-time.
The point breaks offer truly remarkable waves that can wrap for more than 500 yards. This wave can be both a hollow and thumpy—offering some barrel time and fast shoulders to race into the inside.
Most of the areas are all sand bottom and water temperatures hover around 75-85 degrees from May through November, hence no wetsuits are required.
In April, a vest or spring-suit may be desirable. Typically there is always an off-shore flow in the morning that lasts until early afternoon.
Surfing in Sinaloa is a damn good experience!
Type: point break
Reliability: fairly consistent
Best: Swell SW | Wind ENE
Average Sea Temperature : 25.9 °C
Best Season to surf: The important thing to remember is not to try during the rainy season—surf season is from March to Oct.
Patoles in Sinaloa is an exposed point break that has quite consistent surf. Summer offers the best conditions for surfing. Works best in offshore winds from the east northeast.
Groundswells more frequent than windswells and the best swell direction is from the southwest. Good surf at all stages of the tide and it’s rarely crowded here. Submerged rocks are a hazard though. Patoles can be reached by any rental car from Mazatlan in less than two hours.
Reliability: very consistent
Best: Swell SW | Wind ENE
Average Sea Temperature: 26.0 °C
Marmols Left Point in Sinaloa is an exposed point break that is usually a safe bet and works all around the year. Works best in offshore winds from the east northeast. Most of the surf here comes from groundswells and the best swell direction is from the southwest. Even when there are waves, it’s not likely to be crowded. Watch out for rocks.
Marmols Surf Quality and Wind Quality by season:
Reliability: fairly consistent
Best: Swell SW | Wind ENE
Average Sea Temperature: 26.1 °C
Dimas Rivermouth in Sinaloa is an exposed beach break that has quite reliable surf and can work at any time of the year. Ideal winds are from the east northeast.
Dimas tends to receive distant groundswells and the best swell direction is from the southwest. Waves at the beach are both lefts and rights. Even when there are waves, it’s not likely to be crowded. Rocks are a hazard.
Best: Swell SW | Wind E
Average Sea Temperature: 26.0 °C
Rucos in Sinaloa is an exposed beach break that has consistent surf. Summer offers the optimum conditions for surfing. Ideal winds are from the east. Rucos receives distant groundswells and the best swell direction is from the southwest.
Waves at the beach are both lefts and rights. Good surf at all stages of the tide. Rarely crowded here. Beware of rocks, locals and sharks.
Rucos Surf Quality by Season:
Best: Swell SW | Wind NE
Average Sea Temperature: 25.0 °C
Celestino in Sinaloa is an exposed point break that has consistent surf. Summer offers the best conditions for surfing. Offshore winds blow from the northeast. Ideal swell direction is from the southwest. When it’s working here, it can get crowded. Dangerous rips are a hazard.
Reliability: very consistent
Best: Swell SW | Wind ENE
Average Sea Temperature: 26.3 °C
El 29 A Dimas in Sinaloa is an exposed beach break that has very consistent surf. Summer offers the optimum conditions for surfing. The best wind direction is from the east northeast. Tends to receive distant groundswells and the optimum swell angle is from the southwest. The beach breaks offer lefts and rights. Rarely crowded here. Watch out for rocks.
Sinaloa Surf Adventures (SSA) is the longest running surf camp in Northern Mexico having been in business for 11 years. Recently, the camp was awarded the Mexico State Tourism award for top recreational business in Mexico.
Set in the small, tranquil fishing village of Las Barres, SSA provides a place to get away from the stress of everyday life while experiencing world class surf. This overlooked region in Mexico has been referred to as “the land that time forgot” and the “promised land”.
For decades surfers have flown right over the area for more well-known and overcrowded surf breaks. Arguably, the area around this part of Mexico has the most world-class breaks per mile on this side of the globe.
SSA is also very unique in that it surfs areas that are completely isolated and non-accessible. Image paddling out at your local break and it’s just you and your buddies, that’s what every day is like at SSA. There is simply no other place like SSA in the world.
SSA offers, best in class service, beach front accommodations, air conditioned rooms, great food, tons of memories and of course…world class, un-crowded surfing.
Barras de Piaxtla Surf Camp is located 1 hour and 15 minutes north of Mazatlán in the small fishing village of Las Barras De Piaxtla.
If you would like to spend your day learning how to surf on pristine secluded beaches, enjoying a cold drink in a hammock 10 feet from the ocean, sea kayaking, feasting on lobster, or warming your bones next to a beach bonfire, then Barras de Piaxtla Surf Camp is the place for you.
The waves are usually small to medium in height and perfect for surf lessons. There are no crowds and plenty of space to make learning how to surf easy! The surf camp will provide all your surfing equipment. All you have to do is show up!!
Culiacán International Airport is an international airport located at Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico. It handles the national and international air traffic of the city of Culiacán. It is easy and cheap to get to with flights from Los Angeles roughly 2 ½ hours with an average cost of $325.00.
The Palms Resort of Mazatlán is located on the beautiful beaches of Mazatlán, in front of the three islands in the Golden Zone.
This hotel really seems to go all out for it’s guests. They will book excursions, fishing trips and the restaurant will even cook your caught fish for you! If you sleep in late the cleaning service will still clean your room and they have an amazing coffee bar with fresh squeezed orange juice every morning if you decide not to sleep in.
The bar will bring your margaritas to your room for you if you want to enjoy the sunset in privacy. The only issues I’ve seen are that the beds are a little hard and they could use a couple more servers around the pool. But for the views, cleanliness and service the price seems to be worth every penny.
The Quality Inn Mazatlán is perfect for if you’re on a budget and just need a nice place to crash after a long day of surfing.
They offer all the same amenities that all Quality Inns offer (free breakfast, wifi, pool and tv), there’s only 3 channels in English but it’s not like you’re in Mazatlán to watch TV anyway.
It’s about a 5 minute walk to the beach and many local clubs and restaurants are within walking distance just stay away from a place called “Panama” apparently they have terrible service. No mini fridges but all in all seems like a great place to stay for the value.
Pancho’s is located in Mazatlán in the “Golden Zone” right on the beach. Check them out for breakfast, lunch or dinner if you’re in the mood for some really good Mexican Seafood. Have an awesome Margarita with some Shrimp Kabobs, sit back and enjoy the beautiful view.
Surf’s Up Café is located in Mazatlán right next to the El Sol La Vida Beach Resort. When you walk in you can really tell that the owner Leanne loves what she does. Everything is homemade from the exquisite soups, caramel apples, burgers, hand cut papayas and Cubano sandwiches.
There’s tables right in the sand and live music is starting again in November. It sounds to me that the 2 kilometer drive off gravel road is worth the rubber.
The Social Cafe Lounge located in the heart of the Golden Zone
seems to be the place to be if you want “soft live music in the background, a large grownup drink in front of you and a beautiful friend to your right” ~Reviewer FrankyFigs2015.
The prices are amazing, they offer free wifi and parking and there’s live music on Thursday nights at 6:30, but get there early cause it fills up quick. The Social serves everything from Martinis, Cocktails, Mojitos, Vinos, Cervezas and more.
On they’re food menu they serve Salads, Pizzas, Sliders, Bagels, Paninis, Delicious Desserts and other great items. I can’t wait to try their “Cookies and Cream blended coffee drink with a little adult fun in it” 😉 Cash only.
The Huana Coa Canopy Adventure is off the hook! They offer three different options for your adventure. Combo #1 is Canopy + ATV, Combo #2 is Canopy + Horseback Riding and Combo #3 is Horseback riding + ATV. It’s kind of a long ride to get there but it’s definitely worth it and they even pick you up in a WWII vehicle.
They have an awesome staff including “Yara, Liz, Filipe, Danny and Jesus” who love their jobs and are fun to be around. Safety is their first priority, they have two lines just in case and you can zip upside down. When you’re done zip lining you have lunch and ride your ATV or horse to have a guided tour (with samples) of where they make their tequila!
There’s no pressure to buy any but you’ll probably want to since it’s better and cheaper then buying it back at your hotel. Don’t forget to bring your sunglasses and GoPro! Check out this Video about Huana Coa.
Want to learn to surf in a rad exotic location?
Surfline Morocco based near Agadir, is a surf school situated within the prime area of surf spots that Morocco has to offer. They offer the finest surfing experience, beginning with one-to-one or group surf lessons for the beginner all the way to surf guiding for the accomplished surfer who wants to get off the beaten track.
Due to their local knowledge we can show customers a unique and personal service.
They offer the complete package from accommodation to lessons and cultural excursions.
Surline offers a luxury accommodation in a Riad.[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]a riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard.[/box]
Relax with access to the Internet with Wi-Fi, in the pool and garden, or enjoying the views of the beach and Atlantic Ocean from the terrace & the beach is in 7 minutes walking distance .
On your surf holiday, we will ensure that you learn to surf from the best qualified, most experienced and respected surf instructors in Morocco. Their surf coaches are all ASI & BSA trained and from Morocco. No other surf camp in Taghazout, or Morocco can boast that!.
At Surfline Morocco they have very strict rules about how many people we will take to a point break—not interested in dumping 40 people on one spot and watching all of the locals get disgruntled as their surf session is ruined. They prefer to break the groups up and help you learn to surf under the close guidance of your groups surf instructor.
They limit groups to eight guests to one surf coach so you can be sure of some fantastic instruction.
At Surfline Morocco Camp they strive to teach surfers of all levels,we provide surf coaching for those that want to learn how to step onto the water, surfers that want to improve in order to start having more speed when racing with the green waves, or advanced surfers that want to be able to surf more vertically.
Surf instructors speak French and English.
All their lessons are provided on one of the best playgrounds in the world for all levels, the Moroccan waves—lessons are divided in groups of different levels:
10km of surfing perfection with something to offer for everyone from soft to the more advanced wave.Rolling fun beach breaks (Perfect for beginners and the intermediate skilled to develop perfect their skills to perfection.To the long famous point breaks such as anchor point and killers point!
Don’t be put off by the names though, with so much accessible coastline there is an almost perfect condition for every level every day!!!When the waves don’t suit you or you just need a rest there are plenty of other days out!Morocco is the perfect blend of surf and culture
SURF SCHOOL PACKAGE 1 week 400 € per person Included :
Nicaragua is a top surf destination because of the general consistency of the waves and good weather conditions. There are ride-able waves almost every single day. In the southern region, offshore winds blow all day long for an average of 300+ days per year. Spots in this zone are greatly preferred for surfing, but there are waves up-and-down the coast.
Nicaragua has some of the best quality waves in all of Central America, mainly due to the long sweeping beaches and rivers. Some waves are just better than others, but the better waves attract more people. Like in many other countries, the best and most popular spots are the most crowded. While it might not matter to a pro surfer, most of us would rather not fight for waves.
Nicaragua has so many surf spots which offer quality waves with less crowd compared to it’s cousin Costa Rica to the south Nicaragua offers plenty of waves that appeal to a wide range of skill levels. For many a hollow wave is better than a mushy wave, and hollow waves are the trademark of Nicaragua.
There are many major surf spots in Nicaragua among them are some popular spots that are listed below:
Playa Hermosa is one of the best kept secrets South of San Juan Del Sur. Playa Hermosa is over 1 mile long and is accessible only by boat and features lots of empty peaks with no local surfers!
The wave quality is better than average and features lots of peaks, long walls and the occasional barrel. This spot is fun for almost all skill levels. Because it is located South of SJDS, Playa Hermosa needs more swell than others to break, but this touch of inconsistency is more than offset by the lack of people in the line-up. You will never have to share a peak here if you don’t want to.
Surf Tips: If you are coming to Nicaragua to surf alone, stay in SJDS and take the short boat ride to surf Playa Hermosa. The best months are April through September. Mid to High tides are best. Please be cautious while travelling in these beaches.
WATCH OUT FOR: Empty peaks.
It is a lesser known spot located in Central Nicaragua. It is a consistent beach break, located just outside of the offshore wind corridor and only 1.5 hours from MGA International. As such, it’s best to try and surf it in the mornings when the winds are light. The wave is fun and rip-able and occasionally lines up for some sick hallow sections off the river mouth. If you want fun, but non-threatening waves and absolutely no crowds to hassle with, this is the wave for you.
Surf Tips: Access the wave through Gran Pacifica and make your way North. The best peaks can be found a short walk to the North of the parking area, in front of the river mouth. It’s best surfed on a lower tide. You can also drive straight to the beach by paying the guards $5 at the entrance.
The two best places to stay are Gran Pacifica or the Los Cardones Eco Lodge down the road. For more amenities closer to the break the Grand Pacifica is the spot. There is a good wave right out front or you can walk to Aschunchillo. I stayed at Los Cardones once, it is very rustic compared to the Grand Pacifica. There are a good group of people that hang out there but the rooms are sub-par in my opinion. If you are going to stay there grab one of the rentals on the property.
WATCH OUT FOR: The black sand beach can get very hot in the sun.
At the end of the road, in front of the river mouth, lies one of the best and least surfed beach breaks in Nicaragua.
Astillero is a small fishing village, but it is also known for it’s hollow waves and lack of crowds. It’s best surfed when there is a little bit of swell in the water as it is usually a bit smaller here. The rights are usually better than the lefts and there are multiple peaks to choose from – Works best when it’s double overhead or less and around a mid-tide.
Surf Tips: Get a 4wd and drive down the beach – you can park in front of the wave and avoid the long walk. Be careful not to get caught by the high-tide.
WATCH OUT FOR:Dirty water during the rainy season and petty theft if you leave your vehicle unattended.
As the name indicates, this spot is one of the most fun and rippable waves we have in Nicaragua. Breaking across a cobblestone reef, Playgrounds is often compared to a warm-water Trestles. The left is usually longer than the right, but you can easily go both ways. Equally fun on long boards and short boards, Playgrounds is a wave that a broad range of people can enjoy. This wave starts getting fun at about chest-high and holds size up to double-overhead.
Playgrounds is a boat-only spot and while there can sometimes be a few people in the line-up, you can also surf here by yourself. Stay anywhere in Tola with boat access.
Surf Tips:To score it without the crowds, try surfing Playgrounds in between swells during the season. It’s usually better in the morning or with light winds.
WATCH OUT FOR: The rocks! Don’t put your foot down unless you want to take home a battle scar.
If you want to get barreled, Playa Colorado is the place to visit in Nicaragua. The secret is out and you won’t be surfing this spot alone but if it turns on, you will likely get one of the best barrels of your life. Playa Colorado is a private beach and is accessed by either staying inside Hacienda Iguana (a private beach and golf resort) or by boat. This wave can work on all tides, changes personalities frequently and can dish out a beating.
Surf Tips: Stay inside Hacienda Iguana if you want to score Playa Colorado – if you can time the boats and the crowd you can still score an empty line-up here. Bring your paddle arms and an extra board or two!
WATCH OUT FOR: Boats, Santana Walkers and other eager surf-trippers who will all paddle out and sit right next to you.
A wedgy beach break that almost always has a fun peak. Playa Santana is best known for its Consistency and Wave Quality. On small swell pulses, this break is punchy and rampy. When the swell get’s bigger, it’s a full-on barrel-fest. If there’s one bummer about Playa Santana, it’s the crowd of locals that live in adjacent Limon. It’s rare to surf this spot alone and if it’s good, you could be battling 40 heads for a peak.
Surf Tips: The wave turns on at mid to high tide and stays fun until about mid-tide going out. If you want to beat the crowd, try waiting until after high-tide to paddle out. Early season, when the water is cool, also cuts down some of the crowd.
WATCH OUT FOR: Other surfers!
Playa Maderas, the most popular surfing beach near San Juan Del Sur. Playa Maderas is predominately a beach break and breaks year-round. It’s a rippable wave that caters to a variety of surfing abilities. Maderas is famous for its Consistency and Wave Quality . San Juan Del Sur is home to many local rippers as well as busloads of wannabe surfers so expect to share the line-up when you are here.
Surf Tips: If you zig when all the other’s zag, you can still get fun and uncrowded waves at Playa Maderas. When the swell is small, try showing up at low-tide. You’ll most likely have the beach to yourself and there will be some fun corners to ride. This also works when the swell is BIG, when most people go surf somewhere else and it’s too much for the casual surfer to handle.
WATCH OUT FOR: Other surfers and submerged rocks!
Popoyo is a staple and it’s the wave that put Nicaragua on the surfing map. This powerful reef break goes both left and right (the left is usually better) and offers long, powerful walls and sometimes a thick barrel section. It’s very consistent and magnifies even the smallest swell. As you might imagine, there is a pack of locals and ex-pats alike who have this place wired. It’s a shifty wave, but it’s only one peak so competition for your daily quota is guaranteed here. This wave breaks over shallow reef, so take that into consideration as well.
Surf Tips: Popoyo breaks at all tides but most people tend to prefer high tide. Give low tide a try, with a smaller swell, and you will be rewarded. Otherwise, try Popoyo during a long stretch of good surf (the crowd will be tired and Panga Dropsmellow) or in the off-season.
WATCH OUT FOR: The reef!
If you want a solid wave across all of the criteria, look no further than Panga Drops. This isn’t the best wave in Nicaragua by any means, but if you value a wave that is fun most of the time, doesn’t really ever get too crowded and can be enjoyed by most skill levels, you have to consider Panga Drops. Located at the North end of Playa Colorado, this wave is a deep-water, horseshoe reef which magnifies swell and throws shifty lefts and rights at you. It breaks at all tides, on all swells and all times of the year. You should definitely try it when visiting Nicaragua.
Surf Tips: Panga Drops breaks pretty far out and is affected by strong offshore winds, most common in the off-season. Try checking it out on a solid swell with light or no-wind and you’ll be trading big, shifty peaks with just a few friends.
WATCH OUT FOR: Stingrays and strong currents!
This house is located within easy access to most surfing beaches. They arrange airport transportation, arrange for surf lessons, board rentals and more.
Popoyo Surf Lodge is nestled into the valleys of Nicaragua’s southern Pacific coast in Playa Guasacate. PSL rests on on a 14 acre spread of tropical gardens, amidst a surfer’s paradise, intimate and personal, with access to a seemingly endless supply of world class surf breaks. These breaks receive year round swell from the southern hemi’s and the waves are groomed to perfection by the consistent, prevailing offshore winds. Here you get to experience an unparalleled knowledge of the waves, the breaks and the the local community.
NSR has scoured the coast of Nicaragua to find the very best places for surfers to stay. All rental properties include access to killer waves. They are perfect for all surf trips. If you’re looking to minimize your travel time and maximize your surf time, stay with Nicaragua Surf Report (NSR) – beach rentals with waves!
Villa Pinolera is a beautiful private residence located in trees, only steps from Maderas Beach and 15 minutes outside San Juan Del Sur. You can be here within 3 hours of arriving at Managua International Airport. Villa Pinolera is a full service rental, complete with housekeeper, 24 hour security guard and even a meal plan service providing three delicious and freshly prepared meals per day.
Surfari Charters provide professional guided transportation on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua for hard core surfers and fishermen, with a family style twist.
If arriving on an international flight, you’ll land at Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (MGA) in Managua. As well as flights from neighboring capitals such as San José and San Salvador (served mainly by COPA and TACA), Managua receives direct flights from major US hubs Atlanta, Miami and Houston through Spirit Airlines, Continental, American Airlines and Delta.
You can enter Nicaragua by land from Honduras and Costa Rica. International buses pull into Managua, often via Granada and Rivas (if coming from the south); it’s also possible to take local services to and from the border. There is a water crossing from the border at Los Chiles, Costa Rica, to San Carlos; from here it is a five- to seven-hour bus ride or an hour-long plane ride on to Managua. It is also possible to cross from La Unión in El Salvador to Potosí in Nicaragua, either by arranging to cross with local fishermen, or with the passenger service Cruce del Golfo.
Most budget travelers to Nicaragua at some point find themselves in a Nicaraguan hospedaje – a small and usually pretty basic pension-type hotel, most often family-owned and run. Simple hospedajes charge around US$5–15 for a double. For this you get a bed and fan; in many places you’ll have to share a bathroom, and breakfast is not normally included. Hostels (US$5–10 for a dorm bed) are common in backpacker hot spots like León and Granada but rare elsewhere.
Hotels (from US$20) tend to be more luxurious, with air conditioning, cable TV and services like tours and car rental; you are less likely to see these in very small towns. Camping is pretty rare, thanks to the low cost of accommodation. If you’re determined to camp, the most promising areas are beach spots around San Juan del Sur, Isla de Ometepe and the Corn Islands.
Ecuador has many beaches to offer quality surfing. I took a trip there a few years ago and—of course–I took my surfboard.
The coast of Ecuador is 2,237 km (1,390 miles) long. Perfect waves are available in Ecuador all year-round, and surfers enjoy the mild year-round weather, especially in the northern region where the weather conditions attract many surfers from all over the world.
Surf tourism is very important to the local economy, and the beaches offer significant enjoyment because of top quality waves combined with affordable prices for lodging and food compared to other surf destinations in South America.
There's also a national marine reserve off the coast, which has a gigantic whale population—whales are cool!
Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands offer contrasting surfing environments. The Galapagos are remote, 563 mi west of continental Ecuador, quite fickle and rocky. It's an island—95% of it is national park.
Whilst mainland Ecuador can be party-mad and offers a multitude of accessible sandy beach barrels through to long points and reefs.
They do however share the same exposure to both north and south swells; both will suffer decay before reaching their shores but what does arrive, as a consequence is of high quality, losing much of the short period associated with locally generated swells.
November to March being the primary swell season. Ecuador's surfing is focused around the northern reaches of the country and the famous surf town of Atacames.
Water temperatures between the Galapagos and Ecuador are also divergent, the former being in the path of the Humboldt Current and a good few degrees cooler.
Trade winds blow from a southerly direction all year, swinging more easterly for the Galapagos and westerly for Ecuador, though mornings are typically offshore on the mainland. Ecuador is known primarily known for its right point breaks, but the country has a wide and diverse coastline, offering up hollow beach breaks and reef breaks as well.
This zone extends from Bahia de Caraquez (about 1 hr north of Manta) through Canoa and north to the Mompiche area in Esmeraldas province.
Bahia is not a major surf town except on giant SW swells when it has one of the best left point breaks in Ecuador.
The Canoa zone contains a series of river mouths and sand points that come alive on NW swells and produce fun rippable waves over a sand bottom that is more forgiving in most areas.
This is a great area for beginners and intermediates. Mompiche is Ecuador’s most famous world class left point break that comes alive on big NW swells which Ecuadorian surfers wait patiently for and then descend on it. Fortunately it is remote enough to still catch it and especially some of the surrounding waves reasonably uncrowded from time to time.
This zone extends from Manta where the coastline faces due North with dead-on exposure to winter Northwest swells at several point and jetty breaks, out to the San Lorenzo Cape, a rugged zone containing a series of remote point and reef breaks which work on a wide variety of swell directions and tides with varying wind protection, and finally to the south facing end of the cape which contains some of Ecuador’s hollowest beach breaks and river mouths.
All in all the Central Zone has Ecuador’s most uncrowded surf. Here on any given day you can regularly expect to surf with almost no one, but this zone also has the most difficult access and hard to read conditions so that you could waste a lot of time here checking spots for nothing, making local knowledge and experience crucial to scoring.
This zone is located between the Central and Southern zones on a less populated stretch of the coastline. Wave hunters base camp and bungalows are located here and the break out front is an exposed beach break breaking right and left depending on the swell, offering a wide variety of options for all levels of surfers.
If a dominant North swell is showing, the beach lights up like a point break with rights peeling on the outside for about 200 yards then to an inside section that barrels hard.
If you catch a South or West swell, the conditions will vary depending on tides with many empty left and right peaks to ride, but never the less the waves are rarely flat.
If you are learning with a surf school, they will take you out when the tide is low in the surf and close to shore to judge your ability.
However, if you are an advanced surfer incoming tides always bring bigger surf with an outside peak just a short paddle away. The best part about this beach is the lack of crowds due to our remote location in a very large mountain range. You will surf alone. Our beach breaks year round with little to no crowds.
This zone includes the popular beaches of Las Salinas and Montanita. These breaks are best on SW swells but some also work very good on NW. Las Salinas is the backyard for Guayaquil based surfers who are only 2 hours away.
The coastline around Las Salinas here is indented and contains a variety of points, reefs, jetties, and beach breaks with sometimes restricted access that has to be negotiated. Montanita is a Bohemian surf mecca and party town frequented by international youth and backpackers as well as active lifestyle South Americans.
Some of the more popular spots can still be surfed with reasonable crowd levels very early mornings (when a lot of surfers are hungover or just closing the bars). Surf guides can easily transport you away from the more crowded spots to surf uncrowded waves in and around this zone within a reasonable driving distance while you may enjoy the social atmosphere, beach activities, and nightlife.
Some of the most popular surfing spots in Ecuador, which also have links to their own Wikipedia pages, include:
Atacames – A beach town located on Ecuador’s Northern Pacific coast.
The Galapagos are an area of volcanic islands distributed around the equator in the Pacific Ocean and are 500 miles from the mainland coast of Ecuador mainland. San Cristobal is a favorite spot in the Galapagos for surfing, where the surf is from both the North and South Pacific, and the “surf season” is from December until May.
However, people surf all year round in the Galapagos & Ecuador. The Galapagos Islands stand ready, willing and able to funnel NPAC swells into perfect reef surf. Manta made a name for itself in the surfing world in 2004 by hosting the Body boarding World Cup.
Montañita – It is one of the better spots to surf with waves in the months between January to March are as large as 2 meters.
Playas is a coastal city located in the province of Guayas, Ecuador.
Punta Carnero – is a popular surfing location, and the beach been chosen many times for national and international surf competitions.
Salinas was the site of the ISA World Junior Surfing Games Ecuador in 2009.
Ecuador’s prime surf season is from December to April. This is the season of NW swells generated by winter storms in the North Pacific ocean and NW-SW combo swells (or West swells), transitioning into the Southern hemisphere swell season. Winds during this time of year are predominantly glassy to offshore along most of the coast resulting in often good to epic conditions.
During this season Ecuador is a world class surfing destination and one of the most consistent places to score tropical waves during the Northern hemisphere winter. El Nino Years (when the Pacific storm track drops further south) are particularly legendary in Ecuador.
May-November has dominant onshore winds (S-SW) along much of the coastline although mornings can still be glassy. This season is very good especially for beginner to intermediate surfers just looking to enjoy some really fun uncrowded waves off the beaten track, or for someone passing through Ecuador or this part of South America who wants to drop in.
Probabilities for Ecuador to see swell over 3 ft and 13 ft between 280-315 degrees (top graph) and between 200 and 315 degrees (bottom graph). January is the best month to see appreciable NPAC swell in Ecuador.
There are higher chances to see larger, more significant swell from the South Pacific from April through September, but winds aren’t as good then. Average wind speeds (top) and directions by month (bottom) for a point just offshore Montañita, Ecuador.
Notice the speeds diminish and turn more southerly during December through March. This suggests better potential for light offshore to variable winds in the mornings before afternoon sea breezes kick in.
Ecuador has incredible surf variety. There are an equal proportion of rights to lefts, and an equal proportion of points, rock reefs, jetties, river mouths and beach breaks. Some of the breaks, depending on their orientation, work best on north swells, others on south swells and others on combo or “West” swells, making Ecuador a very dynamic surf destination.
In general the breaks are very tide sensitive. An approximately 2 meter(7 foot) tidal range will make or break a lot of the spots. Most spots are also heavily direction sensitive and swell dependent, some being magnets for swell and others needing larger swells to turn on.
Wind is another variable to throw in as some spots are more protected than others. The vast majority of breaks are not visible from the main highways and require turnoffs at unmarked roads and some time to reach, which means you can waste an incredible amount of time looking for surf here if you don’t know where to go and when to go.
The answers to these equations rely on a combination of surf forecasting, years of local knowledge, and cell phone communications with friends (spotters) up and down the coast.
If you have enough time you could always discover many secret and semi-secret spots with no crowd factor. By contrast, if you go to Montanita, Ecuador’s best known surf spot, expect to find a few dozen surfers, mainly locals, hugging a tight take off zone on the point.
Direct flights to Ecuador’s international airports in Quito and Guayaquil depart from a relatively small number of places outside of Latin America. In the United States, regular services leave from Miami, Houston and Atlanta; in Europe, they go from Madrid and Amsterdam.
Higher prices are likely in the July to September high season and during December. Popular combinations are Quito and Lima, or Quito and La Paz, and tickets cost about the same as a normal return.
Ecuador is too small to warrant its own airpass, but is included in larger networks, such as the LAN airlines Airpass , which links LAN destinations and offers further discounts if you have a transatlantic ticket with them.
While there are few direct routes to Ecuador, it’s easy to pick up connecting flights to the main hubs. Approximate flying times from the US to Quito without stops are four hours from Miami, and around five hours from Houston and Atlanta.
Quito is about seven and a half hours from Toronto and Montreal, or about ten hours from Calgary and Vancouver. Prices range from around US$450 return from Miami, US$700–900 from Houston and CAN $900 from Toronto, but shop around, as prices can vary greatly.
There are no direct flights to Ecuador from Britain and Ireland, but there are plenty of indirect flights to both Quito and Guayaquil involving a change of plane in either a European or American city. Typical journey times are between fifteen and seventeen hours, with Iberia and American Airlines offering marginally faster services. You can expect to pay around £550–800 return including tax in the low season and £650–900 in the high.
There are no direct flights to Ecuador from Australia or New Zealand, though there are two main indirect routings, one via Santiago in Chile, the other via the US. The most straightforward is the Qantas/Lan Chile route from Sydney to Quito and Guayaquil, stopping in Auckland and changing in Santiago. Typical travel times are around 25 to 40 hours. Expect to pay at least A$1700 from Australia, and NZ$1800 from New Zealand.
To get to Ecuador from South Africa, you’re best off flying to a South American hub, such as São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Santiago or Lima, from where there are ongoing services to Quito. Johannesburg to São Paulo with Varig is a ten-hour flight costing upwards of around ZAR5000. From São Paulo there are direct flights daily to Quito with Taca, which take another eight to nine hours.
Surf camps can offer a variety of accommodation such as apartments, hotels, rooms, camping or dormitories together with food, surf lessons and group activities.
Often included are guided surf tours of the best local spots along with surf hire, videos, photography, professional coaching and even some night life. The prices offered by them are best in South America and it is also quite affordable. Some of the popular surf camps are Waterways, Live the Life, Bungalows La Buena Vida Surf and Stay , Galapago Surf Camp, Balsa Surf Camp.
Chile is widely known as the goofy footer’s paradise.
Chile has some great surfing, especially in the northern region where the weather conditions attract many surfers from all over the world—Chile is the Northern California of South America and the home of my favorite poet Pablo Neruda.
Surfing in chile is possible all year except for the winter months, unless you bring your tow-in gear.
The water temperature ranges from 15 to 20 °C (59 to 68 °F).
The further south you travel bigger the waves and swell, most surfers concentrate on the central to norther parts of the country.
Chile has a very short surfing history. The first local surfer dates from the beginning of the ’70’s.
Chile has been increasingly in the international spotlight these last few years for its consistency, infinity of spots, huge, perfect waves (nearly all lefts), and crowds that some have compared to California in the ’50s. Led by three of the best Chilean surfers, Ramon Navarro and Cristian Merello, a local big-wave chargers from Pichilemu and Diego Medina, winner of the 2005 Billabong XXL
Paddle Award for a monster caught at Punta de Lobos, a solid Chilean scene is starting to emerge and progress at a quick pace.
Chile can be separated roughly into three big regions.
The northern regions hold mostly Hawaiian-style reef-breaks. The north has the driest desert in the world, and its rocky bottoms produce some of Chile’s most powerful and hollow waves, which easily break a lot of boards, so be sure to bring a good quiver.
The central region, which is the most accessible for its proximity to Santiago, offers many spots that are for the most part friendly, but beware: 15-foot-plus days are not uncommon, and 25-foot-plus happens on a regular basis. The Central region mostly hold the left-hand point breaks.
Then there’s the south region, a pristine, green environment overlooking an infinity of left tubing point breaks waiting to be explored. Similar to that of Central region, South holds most left-hand point breaks.[box type=”info” size=”large”]300 days a year of surf.[/box]
With a national average of 300 days a year of surf, it is very unlikely to fall on a long flat spell. Swells hit the 4,000-mile coast of Chile year-round, and they can hit hard. Respect the locals and the environment, be careful of Pisco intoxication, be curious, explore, and you’ll spend probably one of the best surf trips of your life here.
While surfing in Chile one should be aware of the different weather conditions that varies according to region. Chile has a variety of climatic conditions ranging from subtropical to tropical temperate and near polar due to its great lengths.
Chile can be divided into three climatic zones, (1.) the north which includes the Atacama Desert which is characterized by arid and dry conditions. (2.) The central region of Chile which has a Mediterranean climate with mild wet winters and long dry summers and (3.) the south which is cold and wet with prevailing winds of gale intensity.
Rainfall increases from almost nothing in the Atacama Desert in the north to 5,080 mm (200 inches) in the south. Average annual temperature ranges in Santiago are from 3 to 14 degrees Celsius (37 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit) in July to 12 to 29 degrees Celsius (54 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit) in January.
The cold waters of central and southern Chile can be brutal to surf, therefore, surfers adventuring into those areas are strongly advised on using a protective wet suit to protect against the elements.
There are many Surf Schools around Chile and they are located in close proximity to the popular surf spots. The major surf school include Magic Chile International Surf School where Surfing lessons are taught to tourists with such a passion that you will want to surf all the more.
Surf Lodge Punta de Lobos is a stunningly designed lodge located on a hill top in the heart of Chile’s surf coast. If you stay there you will get to experience a wide choice of world class waves without the crowds. The stay at Surf Lodge will allow you to experience super consistent surf, world class big waves and abundant empty breaks.
Deep Connection Adventures aims to deliver a high quality experience for those who love the sea and its waves, who wants a unique experience, from the last corner of the world. The surf rentals are way cheaper than anywhere else in South America.
Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in Santiago is the main gateway into Chile. From there, you’ll be looking at a road trip that could range from five hours (to Pichilemu) to 20 or more, depending on how far south you want to go.
Visa’s are available upon arrival, but be aware that citizens of many countries will have to pay a “reciprocity tax” when they arrive in Santiago. Airport code is SCL.[box type=”info” size=”large”]By Pablo Neruda
Whom can I ask what I came to make happen in this world?
Why do I move without wanting to, why am I not able to sit still?
Why do I go rolling without wheels, flying without wings or feathers,
and why did I decide to migrate if my bones live in Chile?[/box]
Some of the most popular surfing spots in Chile are:
Located south west of Santiago, Pichilemu is the number one surf spot in Chile.
This town is the host of the annual national championships and also known for hosting some Internationally Popular Surf competitions. Pichilemu offers something for every kind of surfer from Beginners, Intermediate to Advance level surfers.
Beginners usually try to catch their first waves at the beaches of Las Terrazas or La Puntilla. While more skilled usually hang out at Infiernillo, and only the most experienced surfers adventure into Punta de Lobos where the waves can get up to 6 meters high.
The Locals here are so courteous and always ready to offer help.
Ritoque is one of Chile’s most beautiful places for surfing. On the 13 kilometer long Ritoque beach waves can get as high as 7 meters. It is located just north of Viña del Mar.
Close by the city of Arica is the Playa Gringo, whereas the name tells many US Americans go to surf. Even though there are spots with rocks in the water, the qualification for the national championship takes place there. Waves can get up to 4 meters high.
Totoralillo is located 12 km to the south of Coquimbo and 450 km at the north of Santiago. This Tahiti style beach, white sanded and clear water, offers all level surfers 6 different waves to enjoy: Derecharcha, Punta, Cabañas, Muro, Cacho and Pipe, right and left waves. It counts with a surf school, and different cabins where to stay.
India has over 7500 km (4600 miles) of coastline, including that of the island groups, and this provides many opportune places for surfing. The largest waves are usually seen between May and September, the pre-monsoon and monsoon season.
Some of the more well-known spots for surfing are Mahabalipuram, Kovalam(Covelong) and Manapad in Tamil Nadu, Murdeshwara and Kapu Beach in Karnataka, Kovalam and Varkala in Kerala, Little Andamans and Lakshadweep
Stand up paddling and surfing as in the current form was not a familiar sport to Indians, until recently when things started to change, starting with the coastal villages and the coastal communities. “The kids here are born and brought up around these waters and this sport comes too easily to them,” says Madhumathi of Bay of Life Surf School “You power the board. It does not need any mechanism”, And once you start paddling, you will be introduced to the vast Eco-system that is right in your backyard. There are mangroves, schools of dolphins; we’ve even spotted a whale shark once- says Madhumathi Ravi
“There are, it must be said, big pluses and minuses about surfing in India. The greatest plus point right now about grabbing your surf board and heading to the ocean anywhere in the country, is that you will not have too much company. That was a key factor that attracted Ed Templeton and his wife Sofie, the co-owners of Surf & Soul in Varkala. “The surf was good, the water warm, and the most attractive part was that there was nobody else in the water. Where else in the world do you get that?” says Ed.
On most days the waves are likely to be quite gentle—anywhere between 2 ft and 5 ft. The waters are good enough for most surfers. You can go stand up paddling any time of the year. The best time for surfing is between September and November and then again in March, April and May. June, July and August are only suitable for professionals.
India’s beaches does not have a consistent life guard program except few regions like Goa or Kovalam in Chennai ( run independently by Bay of Life Chennai) hence it’s better you surf with a buddy at all times. Try already explored surf spots first: It’s sensible to first cover familiar surf spots in India before attempting to search for new ones. This way you get familiar to Indian environments, currents and local knowledge before attempting remote locations. Watch out for Currents: It’s better to familiarize yourself with rips and currents pertaining to the surf spot by asking around and talking to fellow surfers, local fishermen of that area. Local Culture and Activities: Make sure you dress appropriately for different beaches in India, some regions are more orthodox than the others. Drinking on the beach, dressing provocatively might sometime invite unwanted trouble. Watch out for that fishing boat!
Surfing Federation of India is the governing body for surfing in India. The State Associations are:
The Shaka Surf Camp, Manipal.
On the west coast of Karnakata, this is the spot where Malayvia and Pathiyan set up the Shaka Surf Club. The beach is a great place to learn to surf, and, if you’re lucky, spot dolphins. “We rent out boards and have been doing a surf camp since Christmas,” says Malayvia. “We’ve got a campsite and one side looks over a river and the other the sea. It’s mainly a spot for beginners, and the waves are normally 3ft-4ft but in the pre-monsoon season the waves can reach 10ft-15ft. Over the monsoon season we close”.
Soul and Surf lesson in Kerala
“At this beach town there’s a great place called Soul and Surf which is run by a couple from Brighton called Ed and Sophie. It’s similar to west coast of Karnataka in terms of surfing but it gets slightly bigger swells. Soul and Surf, which was opened in 2010, is the first surf and yoga retreat in Kerala. Recently it has been running “pop-ups” in other locations, including Sri Lanka, the Andamans and even Devon, in the UK.
If you are very much interested in surfing or yoga or better still a combination of the two– the only place you could think about is Soul and Surf, India. You can always surf at beautiful, tourist free beaches, points and jetties surrounding Varkala, Kerala each morning. You can also enjoy the sunset Yoga sessions each evening on the roof top.
The Kovalam Surf Club
The Kovalam Surf Club at Lighthouse Beach was founded in 2005 to encourage local children living below the poverty line to stay in education. The main rule for the kids who wanted to participate in the surf lessons was: “No school – no surfing!”. The club also runs a surf school, rents boards and run tours for visitors.
Kallialay Surf School.
There’s also plenty of surf to be found on the south-east coast of India, with a couple of good places near Pondicherry where there are good waves, with stronger currents “and more barrelling”. The Kallialay Surf School – which opened in 2009 and is one of the first surf schools in the area – is a good place to get your gear and it offers rentals, lessons and courses.
Mumu Surf Shop
Also on the east coast, just south of Chennai, is another surf spot at the village of Mahabalipuram. This is a very hard point break, but it’s really nice to surf. The surf shop there is run by a local, Mumu, who was brought up in a fishing family but was introduced to surfing by visiting Australians. He runs a school as well as offers surf board rentals and repairs.
When Ishita Malaviya first picked up a surfboard, she could count all of India’s native surfers on her fingers. Now, as interest in the subcontinent’s untouched beaches begins to swell, India’s first, and only, professional female surfer is at the heart of a flourishing scene she hopes can bring real social change to the country.
“I think surfing can be a very positive thing for India,” she says. “For the girls who start surfing it’s opening their eyes to a whole new world. There are so many barriers for them – especially once they reach puberty and their interaction with boys can become very limited – but when they’re in the water it can break down some of those barriers.”
Malaviya, who is sponsored by surf wear brand Roxy and runs the Shaka Surf Club on the west coast of Karnataka with her partner Tushar Pathiyan, first started surfing in 2007 after a chance meeting with a German exchange student at the university she was attending, who had a board.
Now, Malaviya and Pathiyan give lessons to travelers and – most importantly to them – the local villagers in Manipal. Over the new year they opened a surf camp –Camp Namaloha – that they hope will support their work to build a sustainable surfing community that’s shared and enjoyed by Indians as well as tourists.
While the Shaka Surf Club already runs surf lessons and hires boards, the camp now offers a place for visitors to stay in the otherwise remote location, with tents and a beach shelter where travelers can enjoy barbecues and bonfires in the evenings.
Pathiyan is keen to set up a Shaka Surf Club in India’s other surfing states, such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu, and they are also in the process of putting together the first Indian surf team. Last December, with the help of Quicksilver India, the pair released a short documentary: A Rising Tide. It tells the story of surfing in India and features many of the key characters who have contributed to its development.
“Indians are terrified of the sea,” says Malaviya, pointing to the thousands of drownings that occur in the country every year. “But now all the kids in the village surf with us. Before, none of them were even swimming. They’re conscious of the environment and know how to rescue people from the water. That’s the kind of change I want to see.”
According to Malaviya, too many Indians think of the ocean as a “dumping ground”. “I want people to have a healthier relationship with the water,” she says. “Once you start spending time in the water you develop a respect for it – you want to keep your beach clean.”
Of course, finding ways to get more women into surfing is always something on her mind. “I just couldn’t believe that in a country of over a billion people I could be the first woman surfer,” she says.
“But Tushar and I made a trip along the coast to meet other surfers at all the different spots and we asked if any other girls were surfing and they just said no. It’s very humbling. Now there are other girls surfing, I was just lucky enough to live near the beach so could go a lot; most of the girls don’t get the opportunity to come so often.”
Malaviya, who grew up in Mumbai, was inducted into the surf lifestyle after visiting the Surf Ashram in Karnataka, founded by American surfer Jack Hebner and run by a group of surfing devotees who have since become known as the “Surfing Swamis”.
“We couldn’t afford to stay at the ashram and the lessons were too much for us,” says Malaviya. “But we made a deal with them to bring groups of students from the university in exchange for a group discount. That’s where we came up with the idea of the Shaka Surf Club.”
For the next two years Pathiyan and Malaviya shared one surf board between them, learning to surf by watching videos and picking up tips from the Swamis. “We’d take turns; when Tushar was in the water I’d just sit on the beach and clap,” says Malaviya.
By the time the couple had graduated from university in 2010 they were completely smitten. “Our parents were like what? What is surfing?” says Malaviya. “They said, you can surf, fine, but don’t expect us to pay for it.”
The growing community of surfers in India (Malaviya estimates it is only 200-300 strong, excluding travellers) has steadily been catching the attention of pros from around the world. In 2013, Malaviya was joined by a group of female surfers, including Crystal Thornburg-Homcy from Hawaii, who travelled there to make a feature-length documentary about the scene.
Set to premiere at festivals this spring, the film, Beyond the Surface, looks at the ways surfing can be used to empower women in India and support positive change in the country. “It was very different to what we were used to,” says Thornburg-Homcy. “Women are often not allowed in the ocean for a variety of reasons: such as their dowry can be affected if they are injured or that families don’t want their girls to have dark skin. The cities are a bit different, but this is what we found in the villages,” she says.
Thornburg-Homcy adds: “I think when other women saw Ishita in the ocean that was really eye opening for them. She was breaking a lot of cultural boundaries.”
Both Thornburg-Homcy and Malaviya expect the coming years to see even more growth in the sport in India, as more businesses see the potential in surfing as an attraction for travelers, and more locals head out to the waves.
“I’m not expecting it to become a Bali: we don’t have such epic waves,” says Malaviya. “But I’m just happy with things starting out slow and growing organically. My hope is just that there will always be a nice vibe.”