If you’ve been surfing for a while, especially if you’ve made friends, you have likely gone to someone’s secret remote surfing spot or found your own. Though being remote is not a prerequisite for having a secret surf spot, it sure does help ensure you won’t compete too much. Though some of the places we list below may not be as secret anymore, they are still some of the most remote surf spots in the world.
Some of the most remote surf spots you can visit include the Skeleton Bay area in Namibia, Unstad Beach in Norway, Cloudbreak in Fiji, and more. Some of these remote spots may require extra safety, special equipment, or transportation, which is best to consider before you go.
When visiting a remote surf spot, it is best to know how to prepare yourself, when to go, and what you will need. Before you get too excited and jump onto the first plane leaving for Namibia, you should research the different beaches, when the best time is to go, and what you may need to visit them, all things we can help you with below.
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Why Do Surfers Seek Out Remote Spots?
For many surfers having a surfing spot that is a challenge to get to is a great way to ensure you won’t have too much competition for waves. There is also something special about knowing that you, and maybe your few friends, are the only people for miles.
While the seclusion and freedom you can feel from surfing in a remote spot are rewarding enough, it is also thrilling to experience different types of waves in other areas, discover new remote locations, and sometimes the water is just better.
Many areas you may travel to while searching for your top remote breaks will also allow you to experience people, food, and culture you may not be familiar with. Though this may seem scary to some, having different experiences in places you barely know can also be exciting. This element is another reason many surfers find remote spots to experience the ocean and surrounding areas.
Off The Coast of Africa: Skeleton Bay, Namibia
Skeleton Bay, near Walvis Bay in Namibia, is one of the most fantastic surf spots known to man and one of the world’s most remote. Breaking over a sand bottom, the left-hand beach-breaking waves you will find here can give you a ride on one of the world’s longest waves that can last you multiple minutes if you’re experienced.
To access the waves, you will need to walk back to where you started after each ride since four-wheel-drive vehicles are not allowed on the beach here, and getting to the beach itself can take some time, effort, and money since you will be navigating the ever-changing desert sands once you leave Walvis Bay.
The best time in the year to go to Skeleton Bay is between June and September, though you should always plan your trips as far ahead as possible to ensure you get there when you need. Since this area has strange weather patterns, air travel to this location can be difficult and untrustworthy, with some flights not landing at Walvis Bay but in Windhoek instead.
With this in mind, there are accommodation options in Walvis Bay, which is the closest you will get to the skeleton bay area, and if you can, it may be best to organize transport to the beach ahead of time.
Arctic Waters: Unstad Beach, Norway
Unstad Beach is another brilliant area that qualifies as one of the most remote surf spots in the world. This beach has four main breaks, allowing anyone to surf, from a first-timer to an experienced surfer, though the two most significant things you need to be aware of are the strong rip currents and the rocks you can find here.
You can get relatively close to the water by driving, and the parking is close to the beach. You won’t have to carry your gear too far, though getting here may take some time from the nearest airport, and you may have to use a ferry.
However, something to remember is that Norway has long stretches of near-complete darkness, making the best time to surf here between September and November.
With this in mind, though Unstad is relatively small and secluded, there are a few places where you can stay in the village. Still, booking your accommodation in advance may be best to ensure you get a spot since even remote surf spots may get a bit more crowded during certain times.
The South Pacific: Cloudbreak, Fiji
Not far from the main island of Fiji, you will find a small island called Tavarua, which hosts a resort surrounded by some of the most remote surf spots in the world, though Cloudbreak is the one we are discussing for now.
Cloudbreak is not only one of the most remote surf spots in the world but repeatedly ranks in the top 10 for the world’s best and most challenging breaks. Though the waves here look amazing, they are wild and unpredictable, and since they flow over a shallow reef, there is a severe risk of injury if you are not careful.
If you decide to stay at the resort that is on Tavarua Island, you should be able to get to Cloudbreak simply by swimming or paddling. However, if you are a bit further away, at any of the numerous accommodations, you may need to look into hiring a boat or water vehicle to get you there if you want to save your energy.
Before heading towards Cloudbreak, one last consideration is that you genuinely are remote if you want to surf here. If, for any reason, you get badly injured and need proper medical attention, the closest hospital is a few hours away.
The Middle East: The Empty Quarter, Oman
More than just being a particular surf spot, Oman has a magnificent coastline of discovered and undiscovered surf spots. Since the coastline is quite vast, the waves tend to differ from place to place, allowing for different experiences.
Depending on where you want to go surfing, you may need to trek through the dunes, making many of the surfing spots some of the most remote surf spots in the world.
If you want to surf near one of the cities or towns you can find in the empty quarter, there are numerous options for accommodation and many areas to experience the culture and people. There are also less populated areas, and if you want to find something remote, this may be what you want. You may want to camp near the beach if this is the case.
Though it may not be as strict as some nearby countries, you should consider a few things about the culture and what they feel is disrespectful or rude. One of these things to consider includes dressing modestly, especially for women, and even when swimming, though no one may say anything about it, it is considered rude.
South America: Chicama, Peru
If you’re looking for a genuinely inspiring experience on your next surfing excursion, Chicama in Peru is more than simply one of the most remote surf spots in the world; it is also one of the most beautiful.
This area produces left-hand waves that can often stretch as far as you may be able to see and is known for having some of the longest waves and being a part of world records for the longest ride.
Though the wave called Chicama shares its name with a town in Peru, you should not confuse the two; to find the break, you must travel to the coastal city of Malabrigo. Once here, you can rent a boat to take you to the start of the wave if you wish, though many prefer not to. The best time to get to Chicama is between April and October, during the dryer times of the year.
There are numerous cities and towns in the area, including Malabrigo mentioned above, which means that accommodation is relatively easy to find if you book in advance. Though this area is remote, it is well-known, meaning that you may need to fight a bit for a good room or a decent spot to catch some waves.
If you want to ensure an enjoyable time in Peru while surfing Chicama, booking your accommodation in advance would be best, especially during the surfing season. Consider earlier mornings if you want fewer people crowding the waves. If you have all that sorted, you should be well on your way to enjoying the world’s longest wave.
Another thing to consider when going to Peru is that the traditional and cultural differences may be strange but should be respected. One interesting thing you may notice is that physical touch may be somewhat more common while speaking, and many people may stand closer to you than you may expect. If someone stands close to you during a conversation, stepping back may get seen as rude.
Central America: Pavones, Costa Rica
Second, only to the previously mentioned Chicama, Pavones in Costa Rica is also known for its long waves, coming in at the second longest in the world. Though this surfing spot is also one of the most well-known, it is still one of the most remote surfing spots in the world, and worth the time and money it may take to get a good break.
Getting to Pavones may require driving roughly 30 miles on a dirt road from the nearest airport in Golfito. However, there are also busses between some cities and towns that may be able to transport you to Pavones if you do not wish to rent a car.
Though Pavones is more of a beach than a town, there are plenty of options for accommodation in the area, most of which are a few minutes’ walk from the beach. However, if you want the best chance to catch some waves, the best time of the year to visit here is between April and November, when the breaks are usually more significant.
Another consideration when going to Pavones is that the town is so tiny that there are few restaurants and shops to visit. However, some places are a true delight, and many do not accept cards but only cash. Your best bet is to draw some money before you make the final journey to Pavones since it gets reported that the closest ATM may be as far as an hour’s drive away.
Though Pavones is a beautiful place to experience the waves and water, you may find yourself stuck when trying to find decent Wi-Fi. Though this area is ideal if you want to shut off from the world around you and connect with nature a bit, if you need an internet connection for a while, you should be able to find a decent speed at some restaurants.
Conclusion: Why You Should Add a Remote Surf Spot to Your Bucket List
Though it may not be the case for all of the most remote surf spots in the world, one significant benefit of finding a remote area to surf is that it is usually far less crowded. In addition, some other reasons you may want to add one of these remote spots to your bucket list are for the culture you may experience, the sheer beauty and nature of the areas, or the unique surfing experience you may gain.
Though traveling to remote areas may be a hassle, it is often more than made up for by the unique experiences you get while you’re there, like surfing one of the world’s longest left-hand waves or staying on a secluded island to be the first one on the water in the morning.
Torsten Bird is a talented and adventurous waterman from Western Australia, passionate about surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, hydrofoiling, skimboarding, snowboarding and skateboarding. Torsten has spent countless hours mastering his skills and his dream is to one day represent Australia as an Olympic athlete. Follow Torsten’s adventures on Instagram.