7 Of Asia’s Best Hidden Surf Breaks
This part of the planet is blessed with an array of world-defining waves.
Asia. It’s big, it’s diverse, and it’s a surfer’s wonderland. Not just a hotbed of culture and affordable, delicious food, Asia has long been a prime magnet for the world’s grommets on their search for an endless summer.
This part of the planet is blessed with an array of world-defining surf breaks – some a little busier than others. For those keen on hanging 10 away from the tourist throngs, we’ve got you covered. Pack the wax, strap the board on, and go get your wave.
Cloud 9, Siargao Island, Philippines
Where else would you kick off your summer but the shimmering waters of the Philippines? Cloud 9 is Siargo Island’s famous stretch of glorious golden sand and high-octane barrels.
Widely considered one of the world’s best surf breaks, you’ll find the teardrop-shaped Siargo (and its many reefs and sandy stretches) 1200km south of the capital, Manila. The right-breaking reef wave is home to the annual Siargo Cup, but its reputation for thick, hollow tubes puts it high on the bucket list of riders the world over, year-round.
Kalim Beach, Thailand
If you’re a frequent traveller to Phuket, you may have noticed that, from April to November, the Thai city’s beaches are closed to swimmers due to strong currents. Those conditions, while not ideal for swimmers, are a siren call to surfers.
And while they have their pick of Phuket’s west coast for surf, those in the know tend to make a beeline for Kalim Beach. Just north of Patong Beach, its 3-metre mean it often plays host to surfing contests.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India
As a cluster of 572 separate islands, the unchartered surfing potential of India’s Andaman region is a must for avid board riders.
This archipelago in the Bay of Bengal – boasting tropical rainforests, mangroves, and palm-lined white sandy beaches – remains one of the most magical corners of the known world. Surf infrastructure on Little Andaman is the most developed in the region, yet it remains a sensational spot for a mellow and largely unspoiled surf safari experience.
Uluwatu Beaches, Bali
Head to the south-western tip of Bali’s Bukit Peninsula, and you’ll find a veritable menu of incredible sunny strips and cracking surf.
One of the most sizzling coasts in all of Asia, Dreamland Beach is a brilliant spot for powerful waves and relaxed sand-side vibes. Be sure to check out the dramatic limestone cave-adorned Padang Padang, glorious Balangan Beach, the hidden stretches of exclusive Sunday’s Beach Club, as well as the beautiful Indian Ocean sunsets of Blue Point.
Bai Dai Beach, Nha Trang, Vietnam
Considered the St Tropez of Vietnam, there’s an off-the-beaten-track vibe at Bai Dai Beach. However, it would be remiss of us to attempt to present a full picture of Asia’s wave riding glory without dishing up the power and passion of Nha Trang’s favourite sandy 7km stretch.
When in Vietnam, Bai Dai’s the place to be: it’s as awesome a spot for the beginners and intermediates just as it is the seasoned pros.
God’s Left, Sumba Island, Indonesia
More “exclusive” than “hidden”, Nihi Sumba Island’s 440 acres of tropical forest, rice terraces and grassland play second fiddle to showpiece 2.5km Nihiwatu Beach, which is one of the most eye-ticklingly gorgeous beaches in world.
One of the most veiled breaks in the Indonesian archipelago, God’s Left is today regrettably also one of the most un-rideable, unless you’re one of the lucky ones shacking up at the now-private beach (complete with $900USD-per-night resort fees). For the diehards, it’s totally worth it.
Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka
While its tourism star continues to rise, Sri Lanka as a destination still flies under the radar as a surfing hotspot. However, there’s every reason to make it an absolute priority – if not its relaxed vibes, great food, and stunning natural environment, its endless sandy beaches and epic reef breaks makes it a bona fide surfer’s haven.
Case in point? Arugam Bay, one of the most revered wave haunts in the world right now. With a population of barely a few hundred, Arugam is a tiny spot, which only enhances its reputation for mellow vibes. Welcome to world class waves without the fuss and rush.
(Lead image: Teddy Kelly)