Surf’s Up!

Ayesha Court, USA Today writer, was fortunate to meet with Rob Barber – long-time surfer, surfing coach and an editor for Carve Surfing Magazine – to find out where the top wave spots are located. So in honor of the 40th anniversary of surfing’s iconic documentary that followed California surfers around the world, Endless Summer, here is what she found out: 10 great places to have a swell time.

Black’s Beach
San Diego
Beloved by locals and foreign surfers alike, Black’s Beach is “one of the best reef breaks” and receives an abundance of wave swell, Barber says. But, he warns, “this is a nudist beach — so be prepared!” In the winter, when nearby Big Bear and Mammoth mountains are snowy, it’s possible to surf and snowboard the same day.

Indonesia’s still-active volcanic archipelago is “my personal favorite,” Barber says, because it offers “toasty-warm water, the most incredible reef breaks and a never-ending supply of swell.” After exploring Bali’s waves, Barber likes to take in the island’s Hindu and Buddhist culture and stunning scenery, then island-hop to neighboring Nusa Lembongan, Lombok or Sumbawa. It’s easy to “find your own uncrowded paradise.”

Praia da Vila
Though much of Brazil’s long coast offers an “amazing selection of breaks,” Barber’s favorite is here, south of Florianopolis. The beaches here don’t just feature “crystal clear water and white sand beaches,” he adds, they’re also great for people watching as “the most beautiful women in the world are basking on them!”

County Clare, Ireland
First surfed in 2005, Aileen (after Aill na Searrach headland above it) is “the most awesome big wave to be discovered in recent surfing history,” Barber says. Surfers must be towed in to below the west coast’s Moher Cliffs by jet-ski. But after a bracing ride, the Emerald Isle’s “beautiful, craggy western coast” offers as many “hidden gems” to explore on land as in the water. Bring your wet suit, gloves and boots as the “water’s a bit cold.”