Who would want to dip their toes in below-freezing or shark-infested waters? Not us, that’s for sure, but a few brave intrepid surfers certainly would!
In their quest for ever more exotic and intense places to hang ten, surfers are always scouring the world. Here are 16 incredible and unusual places they have found to catch waves.
1. Navarro, Antarctica
In 2013 Red Bull athlete Ramon Navarro headed to the Antarctic and braved the sub-freezing conditions to surf. By doing so he became the first (and to this day, the only) person to surf in Antarctica.
2. Arabian Sea, Oman
Even though the Arabian Sea between Oman and Africa has a beautiful coastline, warm water all year round, and its own surf school, you might still be the only surfer in the water. With a strong riptide, lack of facilities and the odd shark, it is tough place to surf. But that doesn’t deter the odd fanatic.
3. Busua Beach, Ghana
It may be dusty and muddy, but Busua Beach in Ghana is surfer’s paradise. Home to the country’s only surf shop and school, the warm water and consistent swell makes it the best spot to surf in West Africa.
4. Reykjanes, Iceland
With various challenges including freezing temperatures and rapidly changing weather, Reykjanes in Iceland can very treacherous. Waves in the area also break over a volcanic reef, so a wetsuit and booties are a must unless you want to end up literally shredded.
5. Eisbach River, Germany
The landlocked city of Munich in Germany has a curious place to catch some waves — the Eisbach river! With a flow rate of 20 tons per second, these waves are not for beginners. More than 100 surfers ride this 2m swell daily. The artificial wave was created by concrete slabs placed on the riverbed in the 1970s to weaken the river’s flow.
6. Pororoca, Brazil
The word “pororoca” means “great roar,” and that’s exactly what you hear for 30 minutes before this Amazonian tidal bore becomes visible. The wave appears between March and April when Atlantic Ocean tides rush into the Amazon Basin. It’s become so popular amongst surfers that it has its own competition, called the National Pororoca Surfing Championship.
7. Severn Bore, UK
The Severn Bore in Gloucestershire is created when the tides in the Bristol Channel forces water up the Severn Estuary. This creates a waves of up to 2.8 m high. Surfers who ride this swell are in for a treat, as the hang time can last for several minutes and up to five miles.
8. Habitat 67, Canada
The first person to ever surf this standing wave on the St. Lawrence River was Olympic kayaker Corran Addison, in 2002. The surf spot was named Habitat 67 after the adjacent housing complex, which bears the same name. The wave on the river is caused by a river-bottom depression.
9. Lake Michigan, United States
First surfed after World War II by a soldier who had returned from Hawaii, Lake Michigan is the only lake that has enough wind to produce surfing conditions. The best time to surf this spot is from June to August. There are only 10 surfable days per month during surf season.
10. Skeleton Coast, Namibia
Namibia’s “skeleton coast” (so-called because of the large number of shipwreck carcasses that litter it) is one of the best-kept surfing secrets in Africa. The coast has six long, perfect, lefthand pointbreaks, including the one at Skeleton Bay, which is reputed to be the best in the world. Namibia’s remoteness and the near-inaccessibility of some spots (such as Ovahimba Point) will probably ensure it stays that way.
11. Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh
With Bangladesh’s first-ever surf competition held in 2005, surfing in the Islamic country has exploded. The competition was held in the coastal town of Cox’s Bazar. Local surfers have also started a surf school and rental shop.
12. Muizenberg, South Africa
Not so much unusual rather than dangerous, Muizenberg’s is known as a Great White shark hotspot. There have been numerous shark attacks at the beach in the past, with the most notorious being inflicted on Paralympian Achmat Hassiem, who lost his leg. Despite this, it’s actually the perfect surf spot for beginners on a calm day, and excellent for experts on days when the wind is blowing in the right direction.
13. Kovalam, India
Even though India has 4,700 miles of coastline, the surf community in the country is small, but growing. With the construction of an artificial reef 150m off of Lighthouse Beach, Kovalam has become India’s surf central.
14. Dubai, U.A.E.
Forget paddling out into the Persian Gulf, the glamourous city of Dubai has one of the world’s most advanced wave pools in the middle of the desert. Wadi Adventure waterpark has adjusted its kayaking course and created waves suitable for surfing.
15. Mullaghmore Head, Ireland
During winter, giant emerald waves bash against Mullaghmore Head in Ireland. The Atlantic break on this west coast area is a favourite amongst surfing daredevils. There are also numerous surf shops and schools in the nearby city of Sligo.
16. New York City, United States
Known for Broadway, Times Square and Central Park, New York City is the most unlikely surf spot. But in the heart of this concrete jungle is the coastline of Rockaway Peninsula in Queens. Locals can be seen catching waves on the uninterrupted beaches of this suburb.