In surfing there always comes a bit of protectionism, which comes from a limited number of waves among a growing field of participants.

This is why getting off-the-beaten path when it comes to finding surf spots around the world is so important. Sure you could venture to Hawaii or Costa Rica, but there you still might find crowded lineup.

Here are 5 surf spots off the gringo trail where you just might have a picture-perfect surf break all to yourself. 



Nicaragua has recently become my most sought after surf destination. Great waves, friendly people and thin line-ups. Popoyo and San Juan Del Sur are among the most notable surf and travel destinations in Nicaragua, however there are also many other locations in the country that will offer world class surf and fascinating culture.

Nicaragua is a destination for humanitarian organizations as well, which gives any surfer an additional reason to venture there. The icing on the cake is that the trip could be done on a budget due to the relatively inexpensive plane ticket and high exchange rate of the American dollar.



Every surfer’s dream vacation is a trip to Bali, Indonesia – basically the Mecca of all things surf. Though Bali has some of the world’s most perfect waves, it can be a little tough to meet your heart’s content due to the crowds that Bali attracts. Despite the fellow travelers, theses waves are worth the wait. There is slim chance that there will be a mediocre wave in sight.

If Bali is still a little too much for you, then there are many other surf spot options, including the island of Lombok. This trip has potential to be relatively inexpensive if you are able to score your plane ticket for a good price. Aside from travel, Indonesia has a high exchange rate as well, for the American dollar.


Baja Sur, Mexico

Baja California is the wild west of surfing. This is a trip that I will do as soon as I build up the courage and means to do it. It can be accomplished easily and on a budget, predominately because any surfer on the west coast can drive there, saving some cash on flights.

This trip is so unique because of the low amount of infrastructure in this part of Mexico. A surfer can easily find himself on a dirt road or remote surf camp, without putting much effort into getting away from others. The potentially desolate surroundings can offer a lot of adventure and isolation, but bare in mind that this could also offer potential danger.

Now I know that there will be a handful of people who smirk at that statement because they believe that their personal experiences in Baja reflect on all aspects of traveling there. You either visited Mexico, lived in Mexico, or know someone who did, and now you laugh in the face of anyone who deems not all parts of Mexico completely safe. Take my word on this one and travel safely and with a buddy.


Vancouver Island, Canada

The great Pacific Northwest is not every surfer’s dream destination, but for a surfer who has spent much of his time wearing a 5mm wetsuit in 45 degree water, I am used to being a bit chilly when trying to score big.

Though Vancouver Island might be a hair more temperamental than other famous surf spots on this plant, the entire island is covered with inlets that offer a huge variety of breaks, that is if you can take the temperatures ranging in the mid to high 40s Fahrenheit. Vancouver Island is also among the less crowded surf locations. The trip can be made fairly affordably if you have the means to drive there with camping gear and a cooler full of groceries.


Skeleton Bay, Namibia

Now we travel clear across the globe to somewhere that will take a bigger budget to reach and that’s Namibia. Skeleton Bay is known for perfect waves and heavy barrels. Like any other break, sizes can vary, but this bay is no place to mess around.

Being in Africa, a traveling surfer will be immersed in a new and amazing culture, along with a world of adventure. A quite incredible fact about Skeleton Bay was that it was not discovered until several years ago by Brian Gable through the use of Google Earth.

Photo credit: Flickr CC