The world is abundant with outstanding surf spots, and with 35 million global surfers, this is a good thing.
As a surfing addict, living in a place with perfect waves, consistent swell, and little to no crowds is a highly sought-after dream, however, these places are far and few between.
Here Are The Best Places To Live For Surfing:
Many of the world’s best places to live and surf such as The United States, New Zealand, Australia, and Indonesia, have become crowded, but they still remain some of the best surf destinations in the world.
That being said, if you are willing to live slightly off the beaten track, there are still countless gems to be found in places such as El Salvador, Colombia, Mozambique, and various islands around South East Asia.
Let’s take a look at some of the world’s best countries to live in as a surfer, and which breaks you should be seeking out once you’re there.
Table of Contents
Which Country Is Best for Surfing?
If you are planning on moving to a country with surfing in mind, and hope to find a quick answer of where is best, you need to reconsider.
Everyone has different outlooks on life and we all need and want different things.
For example, one surfer may be happy to spend the rest of their days living in a small wooden hut on the beach of a remote Indonesian island, eating coconuts, cooking on a campfire, and surfing perfect waves that they need to share with no one but themselves.
On the other hand, another surfer may prefer the comfort of an apartment, electricity, running water, and bustling city life to keep them entertained when they’re not in the water.
However, they still want perfect waves and are willing to share these waves in exchange for their comforts.
An argument could be made for the United States being the best country to live in as a surfer thanks to its huge diversity in surf breaks, relatively high quality of life, bustling surf scene, and somewhat safe environment.
That being said, the USA can be expensive and crowded in safe and popular surf locations, which could make it less than appealing to many.
On the other end of the scale, Indonesia is significantly cheaper, has more breaks than anywhere else in the world which includes uncrowded beaches, but is a lot more raw, unsafe, and on the most part, offers fewer comforts.
The Best Places to Live in the us for Surfing
The United States has long been seen as the reason for the global adoption of surfing thanks to Hawaii and American surfers in Japan during the second world war.
Today the United States is home to some of the world’s most famous breaks and has produced world-class surfers from surfing’s introduction to the country.
What are the best states to live in for surfing in the US?
When it comes to the best states in the US to live for a surfer, Hawaii and California jump out above the crowd, but Florida has quickly picked up popularity, especially along the west coast.
- Hawaii: Located approximately 2,200 miles from the coast of the United States, Hawaii is known to many as the home of surfing, and in many ways, is responsible for surfing being shared with westerners.
Hawaii is seen by the ISA as the home of surfing and the surf capital of the world, as well as the globe’s leading surf nation.
- California: The first wave surfed in the US was in California, and as expected, the popularity of the sport exploded since then in 1885.
Surfing became a subculture that spread through California which has given it the “laid back”, “beach-bum” type of feel that is so common along its coast.
- Florida: Thanks to the abundance of sharks in Florida, surfing has been relatively low-key until recently.
Surfers have begun to explore the uncrowded, perfect waves along the coast, regardless of the sharks, which has made a tight, yet talented surf community.
The Best Places to Live in Florida for Surfing
Home to the world-famous surfer, Kelly Slater, Cocoa Beach is the surf capital of Florida’s east coast.
With a diversity of waves for beginners and the more experienced surfer, these warm waters and easy riding waves have become a popular destination for surfers who want to settle down.
Cocoa Beach is home to multiple surf festivals such as the East Surf Fest, Beach ‘N Boards Festival, and the National Kidney Foundation Pro-Am Festival, which is currently the world’s biggest charity surf festival.
When most people think of New Smyrna they think of sharks and for good reason.
Florida is home to some of the world’s most Sharkey waters, and New Smyrna takes the top prize.
That being said, if you can get over the sharks, The New Smyrna Beach Inlet has some of the most consistent waves in the US, and is known to many locals as “the wave magnet”.
Jacksonville was founded in the 1600s, by French Huguenot explorers, and has now become one of the best surfing towns in Florida.
Huguenot Memorial Park is home to some of Florida’s best waves, while on the opposite side of the inlet, surf spots such as Mayport Poles will provide consistent surf year-round.
Although the water can get cold in winter, the long stretch of the Atlantic coastline will provide multiple breaks which makes it easy to avoid crowds.
The Best Places to Live in California for Surfing
With over a hundred years of surf history, Santa Cruz is home to the first waves that were surfed in the United States.
Today Santa Cruz has a bustling surf scene, popular among younger crowds, thanks to its college town characteristics.
Apart from some of the best waves in the USA, the Santa Cruz boardwalk will keep you entertained for hours when the waves aren’t working in your favor.
When we think of Malibu, we think of three things, endless sunshine, non-stop parties, and surfing.
A paradise for longboarders, Malibu offers long rolling waves which have made it a famous surf location for older, more “classic” styled surfers.
Malibu offers a high quality of life, if you can afford it, but comes with a large amount of tourism, thanks to its famous surf.
If you are the type that looks for comfort over quiet waters, then Malibu could be your next home.
Santa Barbra is a laid-back, cozy, and quiet town, but the surf scene is quite the opposite.
The swell that rolls into Santa Barbara is nothing short of fantastic and is not for the faint of heart.
Santa Barbara has attracted many famous surfing names such as Kelly Slater and Pat Curren who flocked to the coast for world-class breaks such as Rincon Point, and Leadbetter Point (which are better suited for beginners).
The Best Place to Live in Hawaii for Surfing
Pa’ia, a small surf town on Maui, is mere minutes away from one of Maui’s most famous surf spots, Baldwin Beach Park.
If large waves are what you are after, Pa’ia bay might be more your style.
Attractive to bodyboarders, this bay has some crashing waves that are not for the faint of heart.
Want more? Ho’okipa Lookout is three miles from Pa’ia, which can sometimes reach up to 20 feet, however, when the waves reach this size they often close out.
Haleiwa is the entrance to a seven-mile stretch of world-class waves, commonly known as North Shore.
Haleiwa boasts a unique blend of surf culture, comforts, and a local-centric feel.
If you are after large heavy waves with an indescribably beautiful backdrop, then Haleiwa may be where you’d live to set your roots for a while.
Situated on the south shore of O’ahu island, Waikiki is a neighborhood in Honolulu that has stolen much of the attention of tourists and surf enthusiasts alike.
Waikiki beach is the perfect place for beginner surfers and those who are after a more laid-back surf.
As O’ahu is home to some of the largest and most powerful waves along the north shore, Waikiki is a great alternative for the faint of heart.
What Is the Best Place to Live for Surfing in the UK?
Although the waters of the UK can be cold, some of the world’s best waves can be found around the area.
With an abundance of breaks around Scotland, Wales, the Channel Islands, as well as around the mother island, you will find no shortage of places to live as a surfer in the UK.
The Best States or Counties to Live in the UK for Surfing
- Cornwall: Cornwell has long been known as the surfing capital of the UK.
This laidback county is not like other large cities such as London or Edinburgh as it has adopted a slower way of living.
Cornwell offers some of the most pristine beaches in the UK, as well as some of the most consistent and reliable surf.
- Wales: Perfect waves, almost untouched scenery, and minimal crowds, Wales can easily be considered a surfers paradise (minus the cold of course).
Whether you are fairly new to surfing, prefer more laid-back waves, or if you are looking for huge overhead barrels, Wales has it all.
- Scotland: Although it doesn’t have the warmer waters of the UK’s South West seas, Scotland still holds some of the best surf in Europe.
You can surf in Scotland year-round, although the best month usually falls around October thanks to the powerful groundswell that rolls in.
If you are thick-skinned and are not bothered by icy waters, then Scotland will provide you with endless, perfect, and uncrowded waves.
- Channel Islands: Closer to France than it is to the UK, the Channel Islands are another ideal location for surfers in the UK to live.
These islands are home to a small but dedicated group of local surfers, which can make the breaks slightly crowded.
Although this seems like one of the top destinations to live in the UK as a surfer, unfortunately, if you were not born or raised in Jersey, you cannot permanently move there.
The Best Cities to Live in for Surfing in the UK
Newquay is without a doubt one of the most popular surf destinations in the UK and is home to British surfing.
Located on the north coast of Cornwall, Newquay has a handful of world-class breaks such as Fistral Beach (a local favorite), Crantock Beach, and Watergate Bay.
Crantock is perfect for longboarders and those that want to be slightly further away from town to avoid the crowds.
If Wales is where you plan on moving in search of surf, then it’s the south coast that you want to be finding yourself on.
Located between Swansea and Cardiff, Porthcawl is a bustling town with outstanding surf, cafes, bars, and resorts to lounge in.
The beach is fairly exposed and the swell breaks over a point break which can make it crowded.
Although this point draws large crowds when it’s working, this can be expected from a world-class break.
The most northern town in the mainland of Scotland, Thurso is a great location for exploring the countryside, but possibly even a better surf destination.
The Thurso-East break has one of the best right-hand breaking waves in Europe and has been described as the Hawaii of the UK.
Thurso is known as Scotland’s premier break that consists of world-class barrels and some of the longest, hollowest rides in Europe.
Jersey, Channel Islands
If you’re heading to Jersey, then St Ouen and St Helier are the best places to stay as they are within easy reaching distance of the island’s best surf spots.
With surfers flocking to these coasts for the past 80 years, St Ouen’s Bay has become a popular three-mile stretch of white sand beach that provides waves for both beginners and experienced surfers alike.
What Is the Best Place to Live in Australia for Surfing?
Australia is well known for its surfing culture, and with over 10,000 beaches, it should be no surprise.
Australia is home to some of the best waves in the world and if you are willing to travel along the coast, you could find yourself surfing all year round.
The Best States or Provinces to Live in for Surfing in Australia
- New South Wales: NSW is a state on the east coast of Australia that borders Queensland and Victoria.
This state is well-known thanks to its popular city, Sydney.
With a five-kilometer stretch of beach and countless legendary breaks, New South Wales combines leisure, surf, and the natural beauty of Australia.
- Victoria: Arriving in 1919 in Victoria, Australia, surfing quickly popularized in the province thanks to its diversity of waves suited for beginners all the way to the best surfers on the block.
The waters in Victoria are cold, but if you can get over the cold, you will be surfing some of the best waves that the world has to offer.
- Queensland: Queensland offers some of the best surfing in Australia, and is considered by many as the epicenter of surfing in the country.
The surf in Queensland is not for the faint of heart, but any surfer worth the name will want to dip their toes in these raw waters.
Queensland, thanks to its epic surf, has birthed some of the world’s best surfers such as Paul Neilsen, Peter Drouyn, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, and Isabella Nichols.
The Best Cities to Live in for Surfing in Australia
Sydney, New South Wales
When people talk about surfing in Australia, Sydney is often the first city that comes to mind.
Sydney has around 70 surfing suitable beaches within easy reaching distance, with a few of them listed on the National Surfing Reserve Register.
These breaks include Bondi Beach, Manly, North Narrabeen, Maroubra, and Cronulla.
Furthermore, Sydney is one of the most popular cities in Australia which makes rentals, as well as out-of-water entertainment abundant.
Torquay is all about surfing.
With breaks such as Bells Beach, Jan Juc, and Point Impossible, this town holds the title of the center of surfing in Australia and is home to the Australian National Surfing Museum, which is the largest surf museum in the world.
The waves in Torquay are steep and fast, which makes them perfect for mastering your take-offs and quick performance-style rides.
Gold Coast, Queensland
One of Australia’s favorite playgrounds is the Gold Coast.
Not only is there an abundance of beaches and surf breaks, but the Gold Coast offers an abundance of amusement parks, national parks, as well as world-class diving and snorkeling.
If you are planning on moving to the Gold Coast then some breaks that are worth checking out include Currumbin, Bilinga, and the famous Kirra Beach.
What Are the Best Places to Live in New Zealand Surfing?
With more than 9,300 miles of coastline and open coasts to the prevailing west blowing winds, you can expect New Zealand to have some epic surf.
Both the North and South Islands are home to some top-end surf destinations, however, it is the North Island that takes most of the thunder, thanks to its ideal surf beaches.
That being said, the South Island is abundant in less known surf spots with fewer crowds, thanks to the wild and remote characteristics of its coastline.
The Best States or Provinces to Live in for Surfing in New Zealand
- Northland: This subtropical paradise is not only home to some epic surf, but boasts top-class SCUBA diving, white sandy beaches, and majestic kauri forests.
Known as the “winterless north” the Northland offers some of the warmest surfing in New Zealand.
Both The Bluff and Shipwreck Bay are found in Northland and are some of the most popular breaks in the country.
- Auckland: Both the east and west coast of Auckland are home to consistent surf, however, it’s the west coast that takes the prize.
Auckland tends to be popular, which results in crowded waters, however, the kilometers of coastline and surf breaks help to disperse the crowds.
- Waikato: Home to Raglan, the most famous surf destination in New Zealand, Waikato boasts a vibing surf scene with waves to surf at every corner.
If you are looking for the epicenter of surfing in New Zealand, then head to Waikato on the North Island.
- Taranaki: One of the top surf regions in New Zealand, Taranaki even has a highway named “Surf Highway 45”.
Lying on the west coast, you can expect consistent surf with uncrowded waters.
Home of Kiwi surf, the region was named one of the best surf locations in the world by Lonely Planet.
The Best Cities to Live in for Surfing in New Zealand
Ahipara is a small town located in the Northland of New Zealand and at the south end of the ninety-mile beach.
Famous for its white-sand beaches and warmer water, you can find breaks such as the Bluff and Shipwreck Bay when the larger swell rolls in, but if you are looking for something different, there are over 60 surf spots in the area.
A surfing mecca for wave riders, and possibly New Zealand’s most famous surf town, Raglan offers three world-class point breaks, amazing scenery, stunning beaches, and a laid-back surfer feel.
Manu bay has some of the longest left-hand rides on the planet which was featured in the classic surf film, The Endless Summer.
Ngarunui Beach is perfect for beginners, but if you are looking for something a little rawer, then Whale Bay and Indicators could be the breaks for you.
New Plymouth, Taranaki
With 180 degrees of coastline, you are sure to find some epic surf around New Plymouth.
Right on the shores of New Plymouth, breaks such as Stent Road and Kumara Patch (some of the more famous breaks in the area) can be found.
Thanks to the epic farmlands, point and boulder breaks, and the towering Mount Taranaki, this area is somewhat picture-perfect for surfers and nature lovers alike.
What Are the Best Places to Live in Indonesia for Surfing?
Indonesia is home to 17,508 islands and an estimated 200 plus surf breaks. There’s no wonder that Indonesia is considered the Disney land of surfing.
With warm waters, a budget-friendly lifestyle, and waves that break over reefs, sandbanks, points, and more, Indonesia is a must for every surfer looking for a surfing paradise.
The Best Regions and Islands to Live in for Surfing in Indonesia
- Bali: Bali is without a doubt the center of surfing and tourism in Indonesia.
Waves break in abundance around the large island, providing a wave for all skill levels.
Although Bali can become incredibly crowded, the vibrating nightlife, cafes, and pristine beaches make sharing the waves a little less disheartening.
If you are looking at moving to Bali, Kuta and Uluwatu are two of the most popular surf towns, however, you should expect large crowds.
- Lombok: Next door to the famous Bali is the not-so-famous Lombok Island.
Lombok is often considered to be like Bali was twenty years ago before tourism took over.
This island is quiet, cheap, and has some of the best waves that Indonesia has to offer.
Home to the famous Desert Point, which is considered one of the world’s best waves and longest barrels when the conditions are right.
- Java: Java is a large island in the north of Indonesia with nearly 50,000 square miles of land, an abundance of surf camps, and well-populated breaks.
Although Java is large and popular the island is not without its own “off the beaten track” set of waves that will take you to spots where no other surfers will be seen for months.
G-Land, One Palm Point, Turtles, and Batu Keira’s are some of the best spots that Java has to offer.
Whether you are an experienced surfer looking for a surf paradise, or if you are new to surfing, Java has a wave perfect for you.
As a surfer, the idea of living somewhere cheap, warm, and with perfect uncrowded waves is something to dream about.
Thanks to the abundance of surf locations around the world, finding your perfect surfing home does not need to be as difficult as you may think.
The best places to live as a surfer will differ from person to person, but the islands of Indonesia and the coasts of the United States offer some of the best balance between consistent surf, crowds, security, and a vibrant out of water lifestyle.