The world’s best Cold Water Surf Spots
Dreaming of a surf adventure where the waves curl like they do in the movies? Want to jump on a board in your shorts and ride along a gorgeous glassy wave? Before you start looking at the warmest beaches and sunny destinations why not give a thought to somewhere a little colder. Some of the best waves for beginners up to experienced surfers can be found rolling over cold waters so grab your winter wetsuit, boots and a hood if you need it, take a deep breath and embrace the chill with the ExtremePie.com pick of the best surf spots.
While most head to the Emerald isle in search of Guinness, Leprechauns and traditional Irish music, Ireland is home to some impressive world class waves and a coastline of outstanding beauty. It may not be your first thought when considering where to surf but destinations such as Donegal – Bundoran in particular – offer a fantastic opportunity to surf cold water waves at their best. National Geographic named Bundoran in their World Top 20 Surf Towns last year but if big developed in the area had their way, this may have never happened. The town suffered potential surf ruin in recent years due to a planned Marina which threatened the popular surf spot but thanks to locals, surfers and campaigners, the plans were thrown out and the spot was saved.
Most people overlook Canada as a surf spot; it’s much better known for its ski and snowboarding opportunities than its cold water activities. However, Canada has so much more to offer with miles upon miles of gorgeous sandy beaches with surfable waves crashing into each one. Tofino is recognised as Canada’s surf capital and has been since 1971 when a new road made it easier for surfers and adventurers to enjoy the dramatic coastline that the region has to offer. One of Tofinos most popular spots, just an 8-minute drive away, is Chesterman Beach. This stunning stretch has a North and South section for surfing with great conditions for beginners.
For the ultimate experience of cold water surfing, you can’t get any more subzero than the Alaskan shoreline. Probably the last place you’d imagine would host great surf but along its 34000 miles of coastline there are countless opportunities for experienced surfers to brave the chilly waters. Being so remote, Alaskan waves don’t suffer from crowds and while you’d expect to be frozen in the water, temperatures can reach a warmer 15 degrees in the summer if you’re lucky. Head to Yakutat Bay if you’re looking for big waves surrounded by snow capped mountains. Yakutat is dubbed the Far North Shore and offers a surreal but must-have surf experience.
When you surf the waves of the Norwegian coast, you’re going back to basics and enjoying pure nature at its best. Because surfing has only been a sport that people partake in since wetsuits were designed to keep surfers warm enough, it’s still relatively new to the area and as such, facilities are few if non-existent. If you’re heading to Norway then be prepared for very cold water, no daylight in the winter but hours of it in the summer (the best time to visit)and if you’re in search of the best waves then go as far North as you can get. Unstad on the Lofoten Islands is the home of god-like consistent waves and much more of a challenge than southern destinations; and the place to be for true Arctic Circle surf.
It’s chilly in Chile, but not as cold as most cold water surf spots so it’s pretty surprising that despite being one of South Americas top surf spots, its waves and beaches are virtually empty. But that’s not a reflection on its quality of surf; Pichilemu is arguably the country’s top surf spot thanks to its epic waves in previous years. However, the area is reliant on the sand below the current and can suffer if it’s not playing game. But for lengthy and fun rides that you won’t forget in a hurry, Pichilemu is a must.