From Mozambique to Mexico, via Cornwall, here are great places to ride waves, find a bed close to the beach and eat drink and party after a day on the water.
A decade ago, Canggu was just a black-sand beach with one food shack, rice paddies as far as the eye could see and a fantastic reef break for intermediate surfers wanting to take their skill to the next level. The wave is unchanged, though a little more crowded in peak season and there’s now a vibrant cafe scene and some hip places to stay, though it’s kept a laid-back, wellness-crowd vibe with none of the brashness of Kuta or swankiness of Seminyak. The Shady Shack is a great new spot for juices, low-alcohol coolers and tasty vegan food. Canteen Café, where vintage surf and skateboards adorn the walls, does excellent coffee and brunch. The Chillhouse (doubles from €110 B&B) also offers surf lessons from €49, including board hire and a ratio of one coach to two guests. Yoga classes cost €9.
Sennen Cove , Cornwall
If Newquay is the loud, beating heart of the UK surf scene, Sennen Cove is its more peaceful and reflective soul. It takes another hour to get there, almost as far as Land’s End, but it’s worth every minute. The waves are some of the most consistent in the country, with a beach break that works left and right and will suit most abilities, but is far less crowded than many Cornish surf spots. The location feels wild and unspoiled with clear ocean, rolling grassy hills and craggy cliffs. The Sennen Surfing Centre offers lessons from £30, and board and wetsuit can be hired on the beach from £14. Yurt accommodation costs £19pp a night at Whitesands Lodge just inland from the beach. Ben Tunnicliffe’s Sennen Cove family-friendly restaurant is worth a visit for fresh, unfussy seasonal cooking, or a guest ale with a view of the waves at its wooden outdoor bar, the Surf Den.
Thanks to recent advances in wetsuit technology, surfing in the icy waters off Norway is not just possible but wholly enjoyable. There are zero crowds and the beaches are wild and rugged – in natural amphitheatres with steep majestic mountains all around. The cliffs also protect the waves from the wind and the swell is remarkably consistent, with breaks to suit all levels. Lapoint Surf Camps runs packages in the fishing village of Hoddevik for beginner and intermediate surfers, including accommodation for seven nights, small-group lessons, board and wetsuit hire and use of the house kitchen from €577.
California may be the obvious capital of surfing in the US, but Hawaii, where the sport originated, is its spiritual home. Waikiki, the beachfront neighbourhood of Honolulu, is a great place to learn to surf, as the water is warm, the waves roll in gently and the rides are long, so when you do stand up you really get to enjoy it. With its high-rise backdrop, Waikiki is often dismissed as a tourist trap but it’s now finding fresh favour among visitors wanting a tropical beach holiday with some urban benefits, such as good food and decent coffee. Affordable hotels aren’t easy to come by but Maile Sky Court has doubles from $105. Star Beachboys runs group surf lessons for $40pp.
In the south-west corner of the Algarve, Lagos is well-placed to pick up swells from every direction; it has breaks for all levels of surfer within easy reach. The town beach, Meia Praia, is a good beginner’s wave, while Zavial, 20 minutes’ drive west, is a world-class point break for experienced surfers. The attractive old fishing town boasts great sea-themed restaurants such as Escondidinho (Rua do Cemitério 38) and The Blue Door (Rua dos Ferreiros 17), but a big part of the Lagos sell has always been that it is a good place to party. Mellow Loco, run by pro surfers Marlon and Melvin Lipke, is the wildest spot, and Stevie Ray’s has popular live funk and soul nights. Health-conscious surfers will love new juice and salad bar Bora, healthy breakfast gem Fresca and the health store and restaurant Mar D’Estorias.The oldest surf camp provider in town, Surf Experience, is introducing a Girl Fitness Surf Week () by sports coach and surfer Sophie Everard from 24 September-1 October. It costs £800 and includes meals, surfing, yoga, trail running, mountain biking, outdoor fitness classes, accommodation and transfers from Faro airport; flights are not included. Lagos Surf Rentals rents boards from €15 a day.