Cold-water surfing in SA’s Cape. Pic by Alan van Gysen.

We, as South Africans, have recently been given the “go ahead” to venture out and visit far-away lands, again! Oh, 2020 – what an exciting year you have been?! So, we thought we should comprise a list to get our travels bugs activated again, and randomly choose some of the best cold-water surf spots out there on the planet. Because, let’s admit that sometimes we want to live life on the edge – Surfing tropical islands in our bikini’s and board shorts will always be the ideal surf paradise, but, what about making cold-water surf adventures a “thing”? So, read on! And, please feel free to comment below on some of YOUR favourite cold-water surf destinations out there!

  1. Chicama, Peru – Chicama is a paradise for people who enjoy wave riding. Waves here can carry you as far as 2 km. The left hander at Chicama is the Queen of Peru’s northern region. You can easily understand why when you realise that there are few places in the world where you can ride endless waves without having to get off your board. And, we’re serious when we talk about record breaking material. Cristobal Col, a local surfing star, established a Guinness record for longest distance ridden on a wave in 2012. The young Peruvian surfer completed 34 manoeuvers on one wave, which he rode for 2 minutes and 20 seconds. –
  2. Peniche, Portugal – Peniche is well known to most surfers. Peniche is suitable for beginners and for the world’s best surfers. A great place to go and discover surfing in Portugal. The only drawback is that it can be busy. But that is not without reason. Peniche has many surfing options. It is a peninsula. And if it is too intense on one side of the island, then it is often good on the other. Thus, both beginners and advanced learners always find the waves that suit them –

3. Bells Beach, Australia – Bells Beach is one of the best surf peaks in Australia. The cold water spot located 100 kilometers southwest of Melbourne offers a long explosive right-hander that will test your rail game skills. Despite being a crowded peak, Bells Beach has plenty of waves for all levels of surfing. The reason behind Bells Beach’s legendary swells is its ocean floor. Providing a perfect contour to harness the big swells of the Southern Ocean. This leads to long waves rolling throughout the beach. Letting surfers spread out for a range of epic wave sections –

4. Dunes, South Africa – Just a bit more south than Noordhoek in Cape Town, take a short 20 minute walk down a long white sandy beach and you will be greeted by some of the best A-frame waves you have ever laid your eyes on. Dunes handles up to 10ft, and can be considered a fairly exposed beach break. The surf is consistent, and winter is definitely the best time of year for surfing at this spot. The best swell direction to look out for at this wave is southwest. The beach breaks offer lefts and rights –


Cape Town’s Atlantic Ocean offers some very refreshing shade time. Photo credit to Alan Van Gysen.

5. Skeleton Bay, Namibia – Skeleton Bay is one of those marvels of the surfing world. With the potential for mile-long rides of the barreling kind, it’s the type of wave that surfers daydream about. Corey Lopez put the wave on the map in the mid-2000s with videos of multiple 30-second tubes, and today many consider Skeleton Bay to be one of the best left-hand breaks in the world –

6. Inchydoney, West Cork, Ireland – Longboard and versatile, this spot has approachable surf with lots of different types of waves depending on the spot you choose to paddle out to. It is almost always crowded here, but locals are friendly and the vibe is relaxed. Quick ripping left hander out by the sandbar, long-riding rights off the headland to the right, and cruisey head high breaks in front of the hotel. There can be more, depending on swell and overall conditions. Comforting sandy bottoms for the reckless. Surf school in summer –

7. Hossegor, France – Hossegor is one of France’s most consistent surf spots and you’ll get a wave here whatever time of year you come. Having said that, there’s huge variation in the conditions between seasons. In July and August the waves are small and fun but the main peaks right along the beach will be packed with travelling surfers. Known as the ‘Fosse de Capbreton’ this swell-focusing trench (or ‘gouf’) is the reason that Hossegor has forged a reputation for being one of the best beachbreaks on the planet. Up to 3m, Hossegor’s beaches deliver exceptionally powerful, perfect peaks, often very close to shore and invariably hollow –


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