With summer still in full swing and travel restrictions easing in many places, intrepid surfers are looking to venture off to foreign seas. For many, those much needed annual surf trips were put on hold due to the pandemic, and with most countries continuing some type of restrictions on travel, it’s difficult to know where to go.
We’ve honed in on four spots that are in season and open to travel. We also queried legendary T&C shaper Glenn Pang on what boards might best fill out your board bag. Although many vaccinated travelers will have added protection from Covid-19, we recommend prioritizing your and the community’s health, as well as follow all CDC, international, state, local, and federal mandates and guidelines.
If warm crystal blue water is what you seek, the dreamy islands of Tahiti are home to many world class waves, the most infamous being the freakish left hander at Teahupo'o. Like any surfers dream barrel, Teahupo'o is a one of a kind wave that breaks over shallow reef and is expert-only on most days, but can deliver you the ride of your life. For those ready for the risk, the reward is there. For those looking for something less frightening, there is plenty to choose from between the islands of Tahiti and Moorea. Expect a bit of a crowd and as always be respectful of locals and others.
The southern hemisphere comes alive as early as March and can deliver fun to ferocious size swells as late as October, so there is still plenty of season left. The country has some restrictions still in place but is accessible. Vaccinated travelers and children over 11 can enter with proof of a negative PCR test taken in the three days before arrival, or a negative antigen test performed in the 48 hours before departure. Other fees and rules apply, see tahititourisme.com for more info.
Glenn Pang recommended the Flux Model for an all around board, the Dreamweaver Model for the smaller days, the CSU Model for the overhead days, and if the forecast is looking sizable, throw in the CSU-F Model for more volume.
If you’re looking to beat the crowds and spice up your trip, Morocco may be the ticket. Surfer’s veer off the beaten path to the North African nation for a taste of something different and for their long empty right hand point breaks like Anchor Point and Killers, to the fun ramps at the beach breaks of Tamri.
Morocco faces both SW and NW, so there is surf year round. If you’re looking to really score, keep an eye out for a northwest swell as early as September and running as late as March. If the surf goes flat, Morocco is not short on sights to see. Between the enamored streets of Casablanca to the markets of Marrakech there’s a world of culture to take in. Beachwear is suitable in most populated cities near the coast, but if you venture to smaller towns, you’ll find a more modest culture. As usual, be mindful and respectful of the locals.
U.S. travelers and those from select countries may present a vaccination pass or certificate of vaccination to enter Morocco. For people who could not be vaccinated or fully vaccinated, they must have a negative PCR test on boarding not older than 72 hours. Children under 11 years of age are exempt from PCR screening. For more info visit: https://www.visitmorocco.com/en/travel-info/covid-19-travel-safely-to-morocco
For Morocco, Glenn Pang recommends bringing an HRT Model for the grovelly days, the Flux Model as your go-to board, the Dreamweaver squash tail for the beach breaks, and the CSU Model as your step-up. If the forecast looks heavy, swap out your HRT Model for a CSU-F Model.
Thrifty surfers looking to save a few dollars or those who want an easy port of entry might veer south of the border to Mexico. With a myriad of waves to choose from, surfers scour the lengthy coastline for beach breaks and point breaks galore. Another bucket list wave is Playa Zicatela’s Puerto Escondido. The heavy right and left hand beach break can handle just about anything the ocean can throw at it. For those who dare to take the drop, the barrel of your life could be in store.
Although Mexico has waves year round most surfers target the pacific coast and it’s powerful waves generated by the southern swells. The peak surf season starts around May through October, during hurricane season, when the waves are biggest and most consistent.
Mexico may be one of the easier countries to visit as long as you don’t drive. Land crossings between the United States and Mexico remain closed. U.S. travelers can arrive by plane, without a testing or quarantine requirement. For more info visit https://mx.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-for-u-s-citizens-in-mexico/
For Mex, Glenn Pang recommends the Flux Model squash tail for the point breaks, the Flux Model round tail for barrels or waves with more size, the Dreamweaver Model with a squash tail for the smaller days, and if you’re going for big Puerto Escondido, try the W4 Model in a round pin tail.
Costa Rica has long been a go-to surf destination as well as a final destination for many US expats who have relocated to the tropical surfer’s paradise. Their laid back “pura vida” vibe and surf stacked coastlines on the Pacific and Atlantic side continues to attract surfers there.
There’s swell year ‘round but most surfers target the summer to fall for the best swells. The southwest swell train marches up the coast, lighting up spots like the long lefts of Pavones to the punchy beach breaks of Tamarindo. There’s every type of setup from reef breaks to point breaks, even river mouth breaks, so be prepared for anything, including salt water crocodiles. You’re likely to get surfed out rather than skunked in the surf riddled country. If you do, there is plenty to see as the country is an explorer’s paradise rich with jungles, waterfalls, and exotic animals around every corner.
The country is also open with no testing and no quarantine required. Mandatory insurance that covers medical and other expenses related to the coronavirus is required until Aug. 1, after which it will no longer be necessary for those who are vaccinated or under the age of 18. For more info see: https://www.visitcostarica.com/en/costa-rica/planning-your-trip/entry-requirements
Glenn Pang recommends bringing a smaller quiver set up for Costa. A Flux model for your everyday board, the Dreamweaver squash tail for smaller days, the HRT Model for beach breaks, and the CSU Model in case the waves get a bit bigger or you just need a little more paddle power from being so surfed out.
Wherever you decide to roam, we wish you the safest travels.