The middle of the year is peak winter in the southern hemisphere and the heart of summer in the north. This detail can be a huge deciding factor when planning a relaxing vacation. However, when looking for the best surf holidays in July, you’ll find that the season’s temperature has very little impact compared to other climatic movements.
We’ve rustled up a list of nine amazing spots for surfing in July. Most of them have an overflow of good swell in the months that precede and follow. With this in mind, you may find a couple of duplicates from our list of best places to surf in June.
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Deciding on Wetsuits and Surf Wax
As July is often considered to be the peak of the season, it means that you’ll probably experience warm waters and air temperatures in the northern hemisphere, and slightly colder waters and outdoor air in the southern hemisphere.
To make the most of the surf trip, you need to prepare properly. Getting the right gear is one of the first items to check off on your to-do list after deciding on a destination. You can go rather granular with the different types of wetsuits, chicken vests, booties, and boardshorts that will transform your ride from good to great.
In broad strokes, you can make your decision with the following guidelines:
- 24℃ and above: no wetsuit needed, simply a well-fitted rashguard for UV and chafe protection
- 22℃ – 24℃: 1 – 2 mm neoprene top
- 17℃ – 22℃: 2 mm spring suit or longer suit
- 13℃ – 18℃: 3/2 mm full suit
- 8℃ – 12℃: 5/4 mm full suit
If you’re a lizard, like me, then you can also opt for booties, a hood, and gloves if needed. You’ll definitely need this additional gear if you’re daring enough to brave waters even colder.
Best Surf Destinations in July Around the World
Before you can finalize your gear, research surf camps, and book a spot to stay, you need to pick a destination. Which one tickles your fancy?
1. Cape Town, South Africa
We’ve been living and working in Cape Town for a good portion of our adult lives. During this time we’ve explored the expansive coastline and picked our favorite spots to surf – of which there are many. In fact, the surfing potential in Cape Town in July makes winter bearable.
There are a variety of different spots to choose from, ranging in suitability from beginners to advanced. The surfing community is quite well established meaning that you can rent or buy a board with ease – just make sure that you are prepared for colder water!
When looking where to stay in Cape Town, you want to make sure that you’re as close to the beaches as possible. The southern peninsula area, such as Muizenberg, is a great area to stay if you are a beginner. If you’re looking for a more challenging wave then you can look into Kommetjie and Noordhoek.
2. Tofo, Mozambique
Mozambique’s unstable political history has led to many people forgetting about its amazing surf potential. Now that the country is stable again, they need all the support from surfing tourists that they can get.
The Tofinho coast in the Inhambane area offers a long, unforgettable ride off of a point break (on a reef). It’s manageable for beginners, but when the swell is peaking then it’s more fun if you know what you’re doing.
A trip to Mozambique includes a more rugged experience, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to live comfortably. There are several great spots to stay in Tofo that are close to the beach.
3. Hossegor, France
Hossegor is a fun surfing experience for all levels. The swell is slightly smaller in the European summer which means that it’s one of the best places to surf for beginners. In winter, the swell differs so don’t expect quick barrels if you visit in July. Either way, the swell is consistent and promises to be fun.
Different areas in Hossegor cater to different levels of skill and confidence. There are a variety of surf school options that can assist depending on what you’re looking for. It’s also a great way to get familiar with the French culture!
Hossegor is not only a popular surfing destination but also a favorite among tourists. This means that you’ll have no shortage of places to stay if you prefer to choose your own accommodation.
4. Puerto Escondido, México
Puerto Escondido was the first surfing trip that the two of us went on together and it will forever be ingrained in our memories – lovingly!
There are beginner beaches in the area, such as Carrizalillo, but the spot that gets tongues wagging is Zicatela (for experienced surfers only). Even Ollie was a bit of a kook at the time and his first attempt at surfing Zicatela was a hair-raising one. The swell is very heavy and can be dangerous for beginners who aren’t comfortable with being held under the water.
For a happy medium, La Punta offers a fun left-hand point break. If you’re not sure about the swell or how much you can handle, then you can always book a guided surf camp with experienced locals. This experience offers guaranteed fun and a memorable surfing adventure.
The most vibey place to stay in Puerto Escondido is right by the Zicatela break. There are several bars, cafes, and groovy spots to watch the sunset and enjoy the tropical mood.
5. Oahu, Hawaii
Oahu offers the surfing tri-factor made up of insane breaks, dreamy tropical weather, and a variety of swell. From Banzai Pipeline with a reef bottom for advanced surfers to the more gentle and versatile Waikiki Beach, Oahu works in July.
As you’d imagine, a paradise island will have its fair share of surf camps and retreats. In fact, they are one of the most rewarding ways to experience the destination.
When booking your spot to stay in Oahu, make sure that you consider which surf spot you’ll want to spend the most time at. For example, South Oahu is best for Waikiki beach, and North Shore is best for Haleiwa.
6. Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is high up on our list of places to visit, with a wide variety of amazing surf camps to heighten the experience. The best surfing conditions in Costa Rica happen between May and November, with July slap-bang in the middle.
The lush coastline is an adventure in the waiting. Santa Teresa is a surfing town that pivots most industries around the sport. While there are spots that you can grab a longboard and learn to surf, the area is mostly known for intermediate to advanced surfers.
There are several surf-centric accommodation options. Even if you don’t book a surf camp in Costa Rica, then you can still find a place to stay with easy access to the beach. Most will lead directly to the most popular beach in the area, Playa Santa Teresa.
7. Bells Beach, Australia
This list would be incomplete if we didn’t have at least one spot from the surfing nation of Australia. While there are several spots along the eastern coast that work well in July, we’ve picked Bells Beach in Torquay, Victoria.
The beach offers swell for a variety of levels, from beginner to advanced. The iconic beach is best known for its consistent right point break that works on pretty much any tide. It’s no wonder that the beach is a popular choice for major surfing events, such as the Rip Curl’s world’s longest-running professional surf contest.
8. Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka
July is the dry season in Arugam Bay and the best waves are known to begin arriving in the month. As the swell is bigger during this time, the surroundings breaks are also impressive and surfable, diluting the normally-large crowds at the main spot.
It’s said that you can set your clock to the wind in Arugam Bay. The beach experiences offshore in the morning, it swings onshore at lunch, and dies off in the evening (perfect for a sunset session). If you plan on spending any time surfing the main break, then it’s a good idea to pack a pair of booties for the reef.
As a country, Sri Lanka is known to have grounding qualities and a zen-like mood. With this in mind, many of the surf camps in the area double up as a yoga retreat.
The Sri Lanka locals are all very friendly and you’ll be made to feel welcome anywhere that you stay. However, the closer you are to the beach then the less distance you have to endure until you get to enjoy the swell!
9. Bali, Indonesia
Bali is undoubtedly one of our favorite places in the world and the swell has a large part to play in that verdict. Whether you’re looking for a beach break, a reef point, or a beginner-friendly wave, Bali has it!
While Bali is fantastic to surf throughout the year, July is known to be one of the best months. Be aware that the crowds do start to arrive as it lines up with the dry season, but the amazing waves make it all worth it. As surfing is a major industry in Bali, there are several surf camps that are available to guide your Indonesia surfing experience.
There are also lots of places to stay on the island, and most are at an affordable rate. We’d also like to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to support the business endeavors of the locals wherever possible when visiting Bali.
Embrace the Swell in July
We find so much joy in knowing that our home turf serves up the best waves in July. Normally, we hate winter and crave the sun, but when the swell is consistent and glorious, then there’s no way to wipe the smile off of our face.
The other spots on this list are also known to be rippable in the middle of the year. We’d love to hear about surf destinations that brought you joy in July. Drop us a DM on Instagram and let’s get chatting!