National Geographic says "yes" to Cornwall but "no" to Bondi!
I think almost every surf magazine, both living and dead, has done a “top surf town” feature at least once. In 2009, for example, Surfer magazine included, Santa Cruz, Haleiwa, Montauk, New Smyrna, Encinitas and, San Clemente amongst a few others, in their list.
All fine and good but what does a real magazine consider the top surf towns in the world? Have you ever wondered?
Well today is your lucky day! The most revered National Geographic has definitively, and without fear of contradiction, laid down the top 20 in the world with a description as to why.
Is your surf town included? Let’s look!
Hossegor: Hossegor is the best of France, the U.S. East Coast, and California—all in one place.
Tel Aviv: In the summer, the sand is packed with pop-up bars, bronzed babes, and parties that don’t start until long after sunset.
Hainan Island, China: Hainan is like the Waikiki of China, with endless hotels. The bigger ones tend to have English-speaking staff.
Bali: Learning to ride a motorbike while holding a surfboard is a rite of passage.
Maresias, Brazil: Home of Adriano de Souza!
The Algarve, Portugal: Get ready for some of the best waves of your life, and the most fun finding them—that is, if you get out of bed before noon!
Waikiki: Despite the bad rap the “town” gets from surfing’s hard-core, the delight of Waikiki’s long, slow-breaking waves and abundant nightlife make it a must for any surfer, from the neophyte to the seasoned professional.
Cornwall, England: Along with having nearly every type of wave, Cornwall is home to almost every kind of cold-water surf hazard—rocks, rips, and currents. Make sure you surf at beaches with lifeguards.
Margaret River: Despite its dreamy aesthetic, surfing here is not for the faint of heart.
Muizenberg, South Africa: The attitude in the water is also super mellow, with a general acceptance of all watercrafts and abilities.
Las Salinas, Nicaragua: Without guidance, says Two Brothers’ Robert Gregory, “If you’re coming to surf, you might miss it.”
San Clemente: San Clemente can be crowded and full of professionals. Beginners should stay at San Onofre, where dozens of peaks provide plenty of room to play.
Queens, New York: “Look for ‘kook camouflage.’ You’ll think it’s really crowded, but then you get there and realize most don’t know how to surf.”
Raglan, New Zealand: Raglan has a throwback surf vibe and grassroots cultural scene, along with craft stores and a farm-to-table culinary ethos.
San Sebastian, Spain: Speaking a little Basque goes a long way: kaixo means “hello” and agur means “see you later.”
Narragansett, Rhode Island: If a sign says don’t park there, don’t do it.
Sayulita, Mexico: The beach’s lineup is a mix of first-timers at the sandbar, longboarders at the rock-bottom point, and the occasional local professionals when the waves are good.
Taghazout, Morocco: This ancient Berber encampment became an outpost for European adventurers trekking into Morocco in the 1960s.
Tofino: Surf travelers who want to trade the surfer dude vibe for something more earthy … and don’t mind wearing a bit of neoprene.
St. Barthelemy, Caribbean: If you aren’t distracted by the sugar-fine sand, topless beachgoers, or smell of money, two of the main surfing beaches are Toiny, at the southeast end, and Lorient, to the north.
Well? Did your town make it? Are you celebrating or weeping in your warm beer?
I’m booking my ticket to Cornwall!