What exactly defines cold-water surfing? Although there is no one definition, avid surfers claim that wearing a 4/3 wetsuit two-thirds of the year distinguishes the difference between warm and cold surfing. Surfing in tropical, turquoise waters is a dream, but the reality is that most of the world comprises of cooler waters. Get your wetsuit ready as you explore the world’s top cold-water surfing destinations.
Bells Beach, Australia
Most people think the entire island continent is warm and sunny year round. Bells Beach, located in Victoria about 53-miles southwest of Melbourne, is home to the world’s longest-running surfing competition. The waters are as cool as the surfers’ tricks. It’s so cool that Great White Sharks make an appearance every now and then. Local surfers claim Bells Beach has the best breaks in Victoria.
Iceland, another island country, is a surfer’s paradise with untouched shorelines and no-waitlist breaks. During the spring and fall, the water temperature is like England and Scotland and features consistent breaks. All you need is a thick wetsuit and an adventurous spirit to conquer some of the world’s most untouched shorelines.
Similar to Iceland, Norway features pristine shorelines that are not inhabited with infrastructure or mass tourism. Thanks to wetsuit technological advancements, surfing is one of the biggest crazes in this Scandinavian country. Magic Seaweed claims Norway to be, “a rare surfing frontier.” Besides a thick wetsuit, bring plenty of cash as Norway is one of Europe’s most expensive cities.
Surfers Paradise, Belgium
Not to be confused with Surfer’s Paradise, Australia, the warm-weather sister. This Belgian town boasts plenty of cold-water waves and wind. Other popular activities include wind surfing, stand up paddling and kite surfing. The local surf center offers hourly lessons for novice and experienced surfers.
This island country contains over 15,000 kilometers of cool-water shorelines. New Zealand is a world-class surfing destination and is one of the most popular hobbies for the natives. On the north island, consider surfing in Northland, Waikato and Auckland. While on the south island, explore West Coast, Canterbury, Otago and Southland.
Pichilemu is a beach-resort city in central Chile. Many claim that Pichilemu is off the “gringo trail.” You need a wetsuit year-round, but that doesn’t stop international surfers from visiting this small cowboy-inspired town. Pichilemu features intense waves that advanced surfers test their skills. But, there are plenty of areas for novice surfers to test their skills. One benefit is that the area is more affordable than most of the popular surfing spots and the dollar goes further with the exchange rate.
The UK is home to plenty of cold-water shorelines that tests surfers to battle the wind, waves and icy cool waters. Some popular and reputable surf spots include Newquay, Watergate Bay, Sennon Cove, White Rocks and Portrush.