Summer is almost over and if you are a surfer, that's a good thing. Here’s a rundown to plan your trip for Fall; the best surf season of all. 

As we sit typing this, in the height of summer 2023, we can hear the crack of the Hossegor beachbreaks as a rare, strong August swell smacks its lips on freshly minted sandbanks. And yet come September, and especially October, these types of swells are commonplace. Swell providing, low pressures systems line themselves in an orderly fashion in the North Atlantic, whilst high pressure over land produces sunny skies, and cool mornings with offshore breezes. Surfers of all abilities can choose from bone rattling beachbreaks around Hossegor or find harbour in protected bays and pointbreaks near Biarritz and Guethary. There is
accommodation ranging from your own van, affordable camping, tidy surf camps with coaching and equipment or high-end villas with infinity pools. What are you doing still reading this? Go book your fall trip. 

Airports: Fly into Biarritz, Bordeaux and Bilbao International Airports. 

Accommodation: Tips here

The Mentawais Islands is an Indonesian Archipelago lying off the remote west coast of Sumatra. Over the last two decades, it has carved a reputation in the surfing world for having an unsurpassed quality and quantity of reef breaks. It has also become the gold-plated standard for surfing boat trips, and in recent years, for surf camps.

Now the prime surf season in “The Ments" runs from June to September, when the Indian Ocean
provides the most consistent long-period swells. However, more and more surfers, especially those who aren’t looking for large or powerful waves, are booking surf trips in the shoulder and offseason that runs from October to January. Heading there at this stage can negate two of the biggest issues, the cost and the crowds. With the chain’s 70 islands offering more than 100 world-class waves up its 100 nautical miles, it's still a place where you can score perfect waves, with just you and your mates out. 

Airports: Fly into Singapore or Jakarta International Airports, and the domestic flights to Padang. 

Accommodation: Tips here

Perhaps no other country has invested so much in surfing than Portugal in the last decade. And
with good reason; their tourism board claims that this delicious slice of the Iberian Peninsula receives more than 300 days of sunshine a year and even more days of waves. And while there is no bad time to go surfing in Portugal, some seasons are better than others. Summers can be dogged by strong onshore northerly winds and, increasingly, furnace-like temperatures. Winter has consistent swell, but storms that can send you indoors for weeks at a time. And so to that Autumnal sweet spot in the months from September through to November. The first of the winter swells start to arrive, often met by pleasant, summer-like
temperatures and a dialling down of the sea breezes. All the surf hubs starting with in the south with Faro and Sagres, Lisbon and Ericeira, Peniche, Nazare and Porto in the north, start to deliver consistent waves across the range of beaches, reefbreaks and pointbreaks. With the surfing infrastructure world-class, incredible cuisine, vibrant nightlife and (mostly) friendly locals, the only way you can go wrong on a surf trip to Portugal is if you don’t go.

Airports: Fly into Faro, Lisbon and Porto international airports.

Accommodation and info: Tips here

A little off the beaten track, and all the better for it, The Azores sit roughly 1,600 clicks west of Lisbon and 4700 kilometres to the east of North Carolina. A feature of The Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an underwater mountain range that spines the length of the Atlantic, the archipelago is one of just a few nobbles on its spine that nudges above sea level. 

The nine islands have been described as a mix between Hawaii, New Zealand and Ireland and Europe's “Best Kept Secret”. Its subtropical climate with high humidity provides some of the cleanest air on earth. There are active volcanoes, geothermal springs, and caldera lakes that shimmer blue-green as they reflect sunlight and audition for a starring location part in the next Jurassic Park movie. Oh, and there are waves. The main island of Sao Miguel has great beachies at Santa Barbara and other semi-secret reefbreaks. The trafficless island of São Jorge has a series of world-class points, with no one around to surf them. Terceira is known for one incredible slab, plus other fun beachbreaks. In Fall, the water temperature remains a perfect 23 degrees Celsius, matching the ambient air. For clean, uncrowded waves it is hard to beat. For a surf trip with added natural benefits, it is out of this world. 

Airports: Fly to Sao Miguel direct, or via Lisbon. 

Accommodation and info: Tips here

Photo: EF

From the start of October, or the end of the hurricane season in the Caribbean, solid ground swells start to hit the island. The East Coast tends to receive this front on and Soup Bowls, the island’s best wave near Bathsheba, can work its miracles. Kelly Slater once called this surf spot his favourite wave in the world, which is no small accolade. If the swells are strong they can also start wrapping into the north, west and south coasts of the island. Here the sculpted coral reefs, platinum sand beaches and turquoise waters can provide a hyper-coloured version of perfection. Some, like Freights Bay on the South Coast, are perfect for beginners. Others like Tropicana on the north side spin sharply over shallow reefs and need high levels of skill. The weather, rather obviously, is warm, though not as warm as the water and there is a mix of accommodations from platinum luxury to basic surf camps. Add the friendly locals, the local rum, the excellent fish and the laid-back lifestyle and this isn’t just a surf trip,
it's a portal to being a better surfer. 

Airports: Fly into the Grantley Adams International Airport on Barbados

Accommodation: Tips here

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