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5 Best Surf Spots In U.S.



Surfers looking for the best places to surf need not look further than the monster waves of U.S. beaches.

Few countries boast more of the best surf spots than the U.S. In particular, Hawaii and California are blessed with dozens of iconic beaches. Check out our 5 top surfing spots in the U.S. – special places that serve up a breathtaking mixture of tide, wind and swell.

Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu in Hawaii is widely acknowledged as the best place to go surfing in North America. Just about every seasoned professional lists it as a top surfing town. Oahu is said to host more top-tier waves than any comparable area on Earth. To maximize your Oahu experience, have a crack at “Pipeline.” Nicknamed, “the king of all waves,” Pipeline goes down as one of the world’s heaviest waves. The waves rear up over 20 feet above a razor-blade table reef. Because of this, surfers ride Pipeline with poise, grace and grit. After that, you could take a tilt at “Backdoor.” Like Pipeline, Backdoor is a brisk, daunting tube that regularly throws even experts. Assuming you survive a matchup with those two waves, you can enjoy mingling with the deeply devoted town surfing community that has three topics of conversations: surfing, surfing and surfing. Also, you should expect to bump into the occasional world champ.

Santa Cruz, California

If anywhere in North America can match Hawaii for waves, it’s California – in particular Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz County’s 40-mile coastal stretch hosts over 70 important breaks, so you’ll be kept busy with some of the best places to surf. Santa Cruz is a magnet for much of the swell that the North Pacific serves up. The cut of the waves varies wildly, so you’ll have to be versatile. One moment, you’ll be facing a gusty scrap of a tube, and the next, you’ll be confronted by a monster that threatens to snap your board in two. Bring an array of boards of various lengths, contours and rockers, if you can. If not, the whole experience will be even more demanding. Be prepared for icy temperatures that warrant a wetsuit and other essential surf gear. In the meantime, you’ll be happy to know that you have arrived at surf Mecca. Everyone in this NorCal town surfs or skateboards.

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

This peach of a surf spot lies on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Yes, the east coast has hot surfing spots too. As its mad name implies, Kill Devil Hills has a ton of history drenched in surfing. It now hosts wild rides and wipeouts. Its so-called Outer Banks roll in thick, fast and monotonous, but they are endless. You just might get to find your perfect wave or even several platoons of them. In contrast, the local vibe is laid back – a happy hybrid of Southern charm and country cooking.

Malibu, California

Just up the road from Hollywood and listed in the Best Surf Spots of Southern California, Malibu is one of America’s most iconic beaches. Malibu has contributed hugely to making surfing what it is today. The main sandy stretch is guaranteed to be swamped with tourists, so you will need to be doubly agile to dodge them. Still, you can easily carve out a space at the top surf spots: the so-called First, Second and Third Points. If you like marathon rides, you are in luck because the breaks serve them up almost year round (except in the winter). If you like riding high, Malibu should work for you in that respect. It unleashes its share of behemoths that belie the area’s reputation for shiny surface charm. Malibu is the place where the Surfrider Foundation was established in 1984, the nonprofit organization that protects oceans, waves and beaches.

Huntington Beach, California

No list of America’s top surfing spots would be complete without paying tribute to Huntington Beach, California. After all, Huntington Beach is known as Surf City, USA. Huntington Beach reigns supreme over the California beach scene, boasting 8.5 miles of continuous beaches. Oddly, the best time to catch a wave at Huntington is not during summer. During summer, the sea is often just a roiling, battered mess. So, instead, surfers attack the waves during winter. Thanks to an offshore sand bar, Huntington Beach’s burliest waves occur beside the pier.

The pier’s attraction is enhanced by the fact that it serves as the “venue” for the world’s biggest surf contest: the annual U.S. Open of Surfing. The first U.S. Surfing Championship, as it was known, took place in Huntington in 1959, boosting the area’s reputation as a top surfing destination. Additionally, the Surfers’ Hall of Fame stands on the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street, over the road from the pier. The outdoor draw includes a statue of the father of modern surfing, Duke Kahanamoku.

Know any other major surf towns that should be on this definitive list of best places to surf in the U.S.? Let us know in the comments below or @DegreeMen on Twitter.

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