ALL ABOARD

Catch a wave at 10 top surf­ing spots around the world

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - FRONT PAGE - CE­LESTE MITCHELL

When it comes to beaches, in Aus­tralia we’re blessed with waves and beauty (and a cli­mate hard to top). There’s the wild, rugged coast­line of Mar­garet River, the fa­mous peaks of Bells Beach and the long­boarder dream­scape that is The Pass in By­ron Bay.

Manly in Sydney, Burleigh to Snap­per Rocks on the Gold Coast, and Noosa have even been recog­nised for their per­fect peel­ers and out­stand­ing beauty, en­dorsed as World Surf­ing Re­serves (there are only 10 in to­tal).

But there may just be other places in the world as good, and a surf trip to seek them out is no longer only the do­main of Kombi-driving surf rats.

“The art of rid­ing a wave is the most ef­fec­tive way of giv­ing your mind a rest so I think surf­ing’s very re­ju­ve­nat­ing for peo­ple,” says Trop­ic­surf founder Ross Philips.

“I’m also a big be­liever in the value of travel, so I think when you com­bine trav­el­ling to cool places and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing new sights and cul­tures and food and peo­ple with

the love of surf­ing, the men­tal hol­i­day and the free­dom that comes with that is un­beat­able.”

With surf clin­ics set up in lux­ury re­sorts around the world – from the Mal­dives to Fiji – Ross says a huge part of the ap­peal of a surf hol­i­day these days is be­ing able to com­bine fam­ily time with the chance to surf pris­tine, un­crowded waves. Twenty years ago, this idea of “lux­ury surf­ing” didn’t ex­ist.

“We feel like we’ve had to in­vent the con­cept be­cause back then most surf ac­com­mo­da­tion was quite ba­sic – from a jun­gle hut where you might catch malaria through to some­thing where if you had an air­con­di­tioned room then that was lux­ury. But to­day it’s cer­tainly five-star,” he says.

Sum­mer is here so make it your New Year’s res­o­lu­tion to surf one of these 10 beaches around the world.

THAA ATOLL, MAL­DIVES

Why it’s worth it: The Mal­dives is good for ev­ery­one, no mat­ter your surf­ing skill level. Con­sis­tent swells travel un­in­ter­rupted from Antarc­tica and waves peel around the 1200 is­lands giv­ing them a pre­dictable

shape and you a beau­ti­ful long ride. Stay­ing on the Thaa Atoll pro­vides the chance to surf five pris­tine breaks within a 30-minute speed­boat ride from your re­sort, like the con­sis­tent right-hand reef break known as “Farms”. Trop­ic­surf is based at COMO Maal­i­fushi (co­mo­ho­tels.com), one of the north­ern­most re­sorts in the Mal­dives ar­chi­pel­ago with uni­corn-like waves on tap.

What else is there: Div­ing,

dol­phin spot­ting, beach pic­nics, yoga and an over­wa­ter spa.

How to get there: You’ll need to fac­tor in a sea­plane trans­fer from Male In­ter­na­tional Air­port – money pays when it comes to ex­clu­siv­ity.

When to go: Trop­ic­surf ’s surf pro­gram runs be­tween April and Oc­to­ber, though the re­sort is a year­round des­ti­na­tion.

KERAMAS, BALI

Why it’s worth it: Whether you stay at ded­i­cated surf re­sort, Ko­mune (ko­munere­sorts.com), or at one of the more low-key shacks along Bali’s east coast, here, the surf is king. The vol­canic black sand may chal­lenge your idea of beauty at first but the jun­gle back­drop and sight of Mount Agung in the dis­tance gives this beach a spir­i­tual feel­ing. Be warned: this pow­er­ful right-han­der is pop­u­lar. But you can book night surf­ing un­der flood­lights at Ko­mune to share the waves with just five oth­ers.

What else is there: Yoga in Ko­mune’s Health Club, beach­front din­ing in Sa­nur, and easy day trips to Nusa Lem­bon­gan to swim with manta rays.

How to get there: Ko­mune is about an hour’s drive from Ngu­rah Rai In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

When to go: The WSL pro surf­ing com­pe­ti­tion is held at Keramas in May 2019, which means the surf break will be closed dur­ing event times. For the big­gest swells, head over be­tween May and Au­gust.

PUERTO ESCONDIDO, MEX­ICO

Why it’s worth it: Whether you’re here to face off against the pound­ing beach break of Zi­catela – aka Mex­ico’s “Pipe­line” – or want to sign up for lessons at be­gin­ner­friendly La Punta (the point) or Car­rizalillo, Puerto Escondido is a beach bum’s dream.

What else is there: Re­lease baby tur­tles at Playa Ba­co­cho, watch movies on the beach, and glide in a kayak over the phos­pho­res­cent La La­guna de Ma­nial­te­pec.

How to get there: Fly to Puerto Escondido on a lo­cal car­rier like Vi­vaAer­obus or In­ter­jet from Mex­ico City (un­less you want to catch a 12-hour bus). When to go: The big­gest swells hit be­tween May and Septem­ber but

THE JUN­GLE BACK­DROP AND SIGHT OF MOUNT AGUNG IN THE DIS­TANCE GIVES THIS BEACH A SPIR­I­TUAL FEEL­ING

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