The month of August is on the shoulder season of tourism. This means that some surfing hotspots may be crowded, but at least the crowds are decreasing. August is also the time for storm swells in several locations, promising heavy breaks. In other spots, the swell is more gentle, giving beginners a chance to practice and up a level. Here are the best places to surf in August.
Whether you’re looking for the best places to learn to surf or you’re a pro in search of your next steep barrel, there will be something for you to enjoy in August. There’s nothing worse than booking a trip on the premise of a surfing holiday, only to find that you’ve come at the wrong time of year. So, we’ve put together 10 epic spots for a surfing vacation in August.
If August is just out of your reach, then you can also read up on our posts about the best places to surf in July.
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What to Consider for a Surf Trip
Before we dive into the ultimate surfing destinations for August, there are a few things to consider when planning a trip. These factors will help to manifest a great idea into an unforgettable reality.
Both the air and water temperature will play a big role in the comfort of your trip. It will determine which wetsuit and wax you take, as well as the gear needed for after your surf. Ask yourself whether you’ll be jumping into a beanie post-shred, or re-applying SPF 50?
You’ll need to decide how convenient the destination is from your home. This will determine the length of your stay. You’ll see that we’ve mentioned Biarritz, France, as one of the best places to surf for beginners in August. However, it may be on the other side of the world and therefore completely impractical for a weekend trip.
- Consistency of swell
Certain spots are known to be incredible at certain times of the year, but the swell only arrives for a couple of days of the month. For example, Shikoku in Japan offers up some insane right-hand rivermouth breaks, however, volume rises to a shreddable level very inconsistently. You’ll either have to prepare for disappointment or have a back-up plan to support the area’s local tourism.
Some surf spots are so good that they could suck you in forever, or at least until the trip burns a hole in your pocket. When planning a surf trip, you need to consider the cost of the experience so that you can budget the duration of your trip.
Best Surf Spots in the World in August
Soft swell for beginners, intimidating barrels, and warm tropical waters. You can expect all of these factors, and more when looking for the best place to surf in August.
1. Puerto Escondido, México
Puerto Escondido is an incredible surfing town, with iconic waves on the doorstep of the main tourist strip. The water is warm, so all that you really need is a rash vest and a generous application of sunblock.
Just outside Puerto Escondido is beginner-friendly Carrizalillo, but the real attraction is Zicatela which is a spot reserved for advanced surfers. The wave is very heavy and it’s not uncommon for surfers to emerge with their boards in two pieces. Loved as Mexico’s version of Pipeline, Zicatela offers a steady supply of barrels on three main peaks and a sand bottom.
We stayed in the main street right across from the beach and had everything that we could’ve wanted within arm’s reach. This area is highly recommended, especially if you want to enjoy the nightlife in the area. However, there are plenty of other places to stay in Puerto Escondido for a different experience.
2. San Clemente, United States
San Clemente, California, is one of the best places to surf in the U.S. in August. Trestles, in particular, pumps during the American summer and offers five main breaks. These include a classic reef-point break, as well as long and clean beach breaks that peel in both directions.
There are spots for beginners to enjoy in the area, such as San Onofre, which is popular for longboarders. Rockpile point is also nearby and frequented by advanced surfers who enjoy a reef-based, right-hand break.
3. El Sunzal, El Salvador
Central America is known (and loved) as having some of the most consistent surf in the world. Sunzal Point, at Playa el Tunco, is this theory in practice. It offers a fun ride for beginners on longboards as well as a section for experienced surfers to practice cutbacks on steep shoulders.
The swell is consistent and particularly rippable from June to August. Sunzal is mostly known to be a gentle wave that breaks right on a bottom of boulders. While neighboring La Bocana serves a left, rock point break which is better suited for more experienced surfers.
4. Tahiti, French Polynesia
Surfing Tahiti is not for the faint-hearted, especially not in August when the famous reef break of Teahupoo is heaving. Tahiti is revered as the largest island in French Polynesia. As you’d imagine from a surf-centric island, there is a lot of opportunities to rip.
Teahupoo is a well-known favorite and hosts the Tahiti Pro Teahupoo leg of the World Surf League every year. The wave is heavy and spits out consistent barrels over a shallow bed.
Elsewhere on the island, there are beach breaks and more gentle waves for those less confident. August is the end of the dry season, and the last chance that you’ll get to enjoy the huge monsters on the southern shores in a consistent fashion.
5. Biarritz, France
August surfing in Europe is best done in Basque Country in France, particularly at Biarritz. The coastal city has a rich surfing culture which has contributed to its famous surfing reputation. The summer season means warm water and great conditions for beginner to intermediate surfers (unfortunately, advanced surfers won’t have the same appreciation for the spot during August).
La Cote des Basques is one of the most popular spots, largely due to its unwavering consistency despite the wind. Be advised that the crowds can be quite plentiful, so you’ll want to hit the water early.
The surfing town has plenty of awesome places to stay that are close to the beach as well as bustling entertainment joints.
6. Peniche, Portugal
Peniche is considered Portugal’s surf capital – for good reason. Supertubos is another spot that hosts the annual World Surf League as the paradise spot offers the best breaks in Portugal’s autumn and winter.
However, the waves become more accessible for beginner and intermediate surfers in August, serving friendlier waves for newbies to enjoy. These spots include Catinho a Baia, Prainha, and Gigi. While summer is better for beginners in Peniche, advanced surfers can still enjoy a session at the likes of Molhe Leste and Papoa.
7. Durban, South Africa
Unlike Cape Town’s cold waters, Durban has a much warmer ocean temperature to enjoy in August. Located on the opposite end of South Africa’s coastline, you can get by in boardshorts and a costume. However, if you’re planning a longer session then you may prefer a spring suit.
August is the most consistent time of year to surf in Durban, with a wide choice of spots to choose from. Cave Rock is made up of huge, booming barrels, North Beach has a crowd of longboarders, and Express Point gives ledge-riding opportunities.
Durban city is bigger than most small, surfing towns, so make sure that you book accommodation near your preferred spot to surf.
8. Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka
August is in the middle of the dry season in Arugam Bay and welcomes some of the best waves of the year. The swell comes through strong which means that the breaks surrounding the hot spots also work quite well.
There are surf spots scattered along the coast, all within a 45-minute drive from the main spot. These locations include Lighthouse which has two right-hand point breaks, Whiskey Point which is fantastic for beginners, and Main Point which has a reef bottom – so keep that in mind.
9. Canggu, Bali
We can’t sing Bali’s praises enough. Ollie and I each have our favorite surf spots within 200 meters from one another, offering completely different experiences. August is in the middle of Bali’s dry season, so the swell is clean and consistent during this time.
There are several surf camps available that offer the full Bali surf experience. The surfing culture is a large contributing factor to Bali’s tourism so you best believe that their surf camp experiences are top class.
If a surf camp is not your vibe and you prefer to travel solo, then you can pick from a variety of spots to stay. Keep in mind that the closer to the beach you are, the better for a quickie.
10. Shikoku, Japan
Shikoku island is expensive to get to and inconsistent in swell delivery. However, if you get there on a good day in August, then you’re in luck. The abundant rainfall in the month opens up the river mouths and transforms it into a fantastic surfing opportunity.
These sandbanks typically present themselves as right-hand river mouth breaks and only really last a couple of days at a time. We wouldn’t recommend planning a trip to Japan purely for the surf, but the warm water and cultural experience can be a great bonus if you’re in the area during August.
Best Waves in the World in August
August offers world-class waves, vibrant surf cultures, and some of the best surf trip opportunities. It’s such an awesome time of year to experience different waters around the world, along with the ambiance that is home to each destination.
If you’ve had particularly good surfing moments in a destination not listed here during August, then we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a message on Instagram and we’ll add your spot to the list.