As avid surfers the Epic Gap Year team have spent countless days on the road in search of beautiful waves with their board shorts in tow and surfboard under their arms – it’s a tough life sometimes!
But what makes the perfect backpacker surf town?
Well for most surfers it’s a mix of pumping waves, sunshine, cheap living and good vibes…and of course some empty lineups are always on the agenda but with surfing growing so much that can be a big ask!
So we chatted yo our nomadic surfers and asked them to share their favourite backpacker surf towns across the globe – so you can start planning your next surf trip!
General Luna, Siargao – The Philippines
If you’re looking for an island paradise surrounded by a huge variety of pumping surf breaks (including a spot on the WQS tour) then Siargao in The Philippines ticks all the boxes. The water is warm, the living is cheap and barefoot living is a must.
Wandering through palm trees to empty beaches and jumping off boats into empty lineups? Yup Siargao is pretty epic – it’s no wonder that Siargao is one of our most popular surf camp experiences!
Byron Bay – Australia
A few of our team have big soft spots for this hippie surf town in northern New South Wales, Australia. There’s a very arty vibe going on, with buskers on every corner and heap of arts and crafts being sold around the place. Although the lineups are far from empty (The Pass on a solid day attracts surfers from miles around!) there are still plenty of waves to go around.
And when the sun goes down surfers mingle alongside backpackers and party the night away!
Muizenberg, Cape Town – South Africa
The base for our Cape Town Intro Packages and starting point for our South Africa Surf Adventures, Muizenberg is one of the best spots to learn to surf in South Africa with it’s mellow beach breaks. A short drive along the coast and those who prefer a more challenging waves will be more than happy as the rugged coastline serves up everything from reefs to big wave peaks.
The town itself is super chilled with plenty of good food to sample and fun locals to meet. And of course it all sits in the shadow of Table Mountain, one of the icons of South Africa!
Yamba – Australia
A few hours from Byron Bay (one of our other top backpacker surf spots) is Yamba. This sleepy little town off the main backpacker trail is a hidden gem and is well worth a stop off on your way up the East Coast of Australia.
For beginners the Yamba YHA offer guided beginner surfing where as more competent surfers are spoilt for choice with spots like Back Beach and Angourie Point being local favourites.
Uluwatu, Bali – Indonesia
Indonesia is a mecca for surfers and there are plenty of amazing surf spots to check out throughout the many islands (check out our Indo Island Hopper Surf Trips and 2 & 4 Week Indonesia Surf Adventures!) but the most infamous spot in Bali has to be Uluwatu.
During peak season this wave gets BIG and super hollow – if you can ride it it’ll produce waves you’ll remember for the rest of your life, or for those not keen on braving the reeling left hand reef grab a cold Bintang and watch the show from the many Warungs that overlook it.
Or on Sunday hit up Single Fin for a sundown session!
The off season is a bit more mellow and even loggers can grab a slice of the action on the mid to high tide!
Taghazout – Morocco
Nestled in the south of Morocco is the famed Taghazout – a surf spot just a quick hop from anywhere in Europe which offers up some great cultural immersion, sunshine and heaps of waves!
In fact it’s one of the most wave rich locations we’ve ever surfed – with breaks for beginners, intermediates and advanced surfers all along the coast. Perfect for our zero to hero surf instructor course!
There are plenty of surf camps to choose from and they all have great vibes, so grab a glass of mint tea and tuck into a post surf tagine!
Montanita – Ecuador
Hit up the beach during the day and learn to surf, or if you’re feeling more confident tackle the reeling right hander at The Point.
When the sun goes down it’s time to hit Cocktail Alley and party the night away at Cana Grill to some salsa dancing goodness!
Mancora – Peru
Mancora isn’t on many backpacking maps but for surfers it’s a must – especially if you’re heading down from or up to Ecuador!
The left hander here can produce some epically long rides, with barrelling sections and big carving walls – so grab a board and get involved.
If you’re heading this way we highly recommend staying at Loki Hostel – right in front of the beach which a pumping bar and refreshing swimming pool, the perfect surfing base!
Raglan – New Zealand
We love traveling in New Zealand – it’s a stunning country! Even though the waves here aren’t as famed as its Australian cousin New Zealand has more than it’s fair share of waves nestled against it’s rugged landscape.
Raglan – with its black sand beaches – came to fame in the iconic surf movie The Endless Summer and is well worth a visit. For beginners Raglan Surf School take care of you on the main beach, whilst more advanced surfers can enjoy spots like Manu Bay – where you’ll score some of the longest rides of your life!
It’s a sleepy little town, but Sunday Sessions definitely draw a fun crowd of travellers and surfers!
Where is your favourite backpacking surf spot?
Would you add any others to the list?