The best surfing locations to catch a wave in the USA, and across the world
Our world is made up of 71% water, so what better way to experience it than riding a wave? Surfing can be the perfect way to connect with nature allowing us to view our oceans from a completely different perspective.
If you are not sure where to start your surfing adventure, and you need a little inspiration, then keep reading as we reveal the most popular surfing spots across the USA and the world.
The USA’s top surfing spots
1. Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA – Surfing Spot Score 8.32
Located in the sunshine state of Florida, Cocoa Beach is a popular destination for surfers and sunbathers alike. The beach is an iconic and busy surfing hub with an extensive surfing history dating back to the 1950s. Cocoa Beach is particularly popular on social with over 3,000 surfing-related Instagram hashtags. The sea temperatures are also favorable, averaging 27°C, so whether you are looking to surf or to swim, it’s going to be a great place to take to the sea.
2. Waikiki, Oahu, USA – Surfing Spot Score 7.69
Hawaii is well-known for its gorgeous beaches and warm seas so it’s no surprise that Waikiki in Oahu ranks in second position. Oahu offers 122 surf breaks and a coastline of 3.8km to explore. Similarly to Cocoa Beach in Florida, surfers are in for a warm ride with average sea temperatures of 27°C.
3. Huntington Beach, Orange County, California, USA – Surfing Spot Score 6.67
Huntington Beach is located in the popular surfing area of Orange County, California. The surfing spot ranked well for the number of surfing breaks at 51, and on average the spot is searched 1,770 times per month across the globe. The seas appear to be slightly cooler here than in Florida and Oahu though, averaging at 21°C.
The world’s top surfing spots
1. Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico – Surfing Spot Score 7.50
Puerto Escondido is a laid-back coastal region, yet it is home to one of the world’s most thrilling waves, making the surfing spot perfect for expert surfers. The thrillseekers paradise is also highly sought after online, with over 3,000 tags on Instagram, and 6,120 monthly Google searches.
2. Noosa, Queensland, Australia – Surfing Spot Score 6.38
In second position is Noosa, Queensland, Australia. Located on the sunshine coast, this is the perfect spot to take to the waves. This resort has waves for all levels, and the best time to surf is during April when sea temperatures average 21C. According to the research, Noosa has a total of 69 surf breaks, and it is also highly popular on Instagram with over 16,000 tags.
3. Tofino, Vancouver Island, Canada – Surfing Spot Score 5.76
Ranking in third place is Tofino, Canada. Tofino offers a range of surf breaks with varying difficulty levels, perfect for beginners and avid surfers alike. The best time to surf Tofino is in January when the weather and atmosphere are most ideal. During this time waves begin to increase due to fluctuations in wind activity providing perfect surfing conditions. Interestingly, surfing in Tofino has been tagged more than 700,000 times on Instagram.
The most searched for surf spot
Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia – 10,000 total searches
Located on the southern tip of Bali, Uluwatu offers an abundance of fast and powerful waves for thrillseekers. With 10,000 combined average monthly Google searches over the last 12 months for ‘surfing in Bali’ and ‘surfing Uluwatu’, this is the most searched surfing location on our list.
The most popular surf spot according to Instagram
Noosa, Queensland, Australia – 16,036 total tags
Noosa, Australia is the most popular surfing spot according to Instagram, with a total of 16,036 tagged posts. This surfing spot is great for those in search of smaller swells, whilst big swells do appear they are inconsistent. The area is well known for its gorgeous golden sands and clear waters, making it ideal for surfing.
The surf spot with the most breaks
Waikiki, Oahu, USA – 122 total breaks
A surf break is an obstruction in the sea or ocean that causes a break in the tide to create a barrel wave – perfect for surfing. In Oahu, Hawaii there are 122 breaks, creating several surfing options. Some of the surfing breaks along Waikiki are Canoes – which provide perfect conditions for beginners, Queens – home to plenty of surfing competitions, and The Wall – perfect for practicing on smaller waves.
The surf spot with the longest coastline
Reunion, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa – 600km
The surf spot of Reunion is located in Durban, and it is home to a total of 600km of beaches on its coastline to explore. The extensive coastline and glorious weather year-round make this the spot ideal for surfers and beach lovers alike.
The surf spot with the highest sea temperatures
Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico – 30.67° C
Although there’s no optimum surfing temperature, warmer climates can make the experience much more comfortable. With average sea temperatures of 30.67°C, Puerto Escondido, therefore, ranks in first place. This surfing spot is one of the most famous in Mexico, offering plenty of waves in its warm waters.
The best global surf spots for each month of the year
Initially, ranking lists of surfing spots for the terms ‘top surfing spots around the world and ‘the world’s best surfing spots’ were analyzed to create a list of 150 key surfing locations.
This list of over 150 surfing locations was then narrowed down to 30 focusing only on those with the highest search volume.
From here any surfing locations that were not surf breaks were reviewed using the quality rating from Surf Forecast. The surf breaks with the highest ratings were selected.
Using this list we then undertook research into the following factors to identify the best surfing spots across the world.
Using Keyword Planner, average search volumes for the keyphrases that contain the location name and surfing term [example, ‘surfing in Bali’] were analyzed to reveal the overall search volume for each surfing spot. All terms searched included the word surf or surfing to ensure the intent was relatable to the concept.
Social data was gathered by analyzing the number of times each surfing spot was tagged on Instagram along with the word surf or surfing e.g. waikikisurf and waikikisurfing. The number of tags per hashtag was then added together to provide a total number of tags for that destination.
To determine coastline length details a combination of tourist boards and surfing publications were used.
Average Sea Temperatures
Best Month to Surf
To identify the best month to surf in each location Surf Forecast was used, for the locations where the best surfing month was unavailable alternative surfing publication sources were used, mywavefinder and surfline.