The best places to watch the highest waves in the world

7 spots for those looking for Big wave

In Graffiti Party, the cult film by John Milius released in 1978, the characters exclaim “the big day has arrived, we have been waiting for it for so long”, when they finally find the perfect wave. This iconic scene takes place on the famous beach of malibu, California, known for its swell and large waves. The locality derives its name from the word Humaliwo, which means in the Native American language of its first inhabitants, “the roaring wave”.

But Malibu isn’t the only wave paradise. There are many destinations where surfers have fun challenging the wild power of the sea. More than a sport, surfing is a philosophy of life, a hymn to freedom and nature. Because, what a spectacle to witness the breaking of these great waves which form on the high seas before breaking on the edge of the beaches. Here is an anthology of the most beautiful places to admire the Big Wavesthe highest waves in the world.

Nazare, Portugal

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In Europe, the undisputed paradise for surfers is Nazaré, where the last record wave was observed: a wall of water 35 meters high. Located two hours drive north of Lisbon, in Portugal, this seaside town has great beaches and memorable panoramas. But it owes its fame to the impressive number of big waves it has recorded, a favorite destination for champions and extreme surfers. To admire the sea, we will go overhanging the rocky promontory of Il Sitio, where we can see the waves breaking on the rock with telluric power. It was the Hawaiian champion Garrett McNamara who, a few years ago, put Nazaré on the map of essential surfing destinations. He managed to tame a 23.77 meter high wave in Praia do Norte, north of the cliffs towering over the city, setting a new world record. Since then, Nazaré has been taken over from November to March by surfers and fans, who come from all over the world to watch the show. After McNamara, the Portuguese Hugo Vau, dominated in 2018 a wave of 35 meters high, nicknamed Big mama. A real record.

Huntington Beach, California

At Huntington Beach, in Orange County, the waves are walls of water, which some of the most skilful surfers on the planet, attracted by the golden legend of the Californian coast, are trying to tame. Huntington City Beach is popular for sports competitions, but it also offers a great vantage point for spectators. The most famous spot, Dana Point, became legendary thanks to the Beach Boys, who mention it in their tube Surfing USA. Doheny State Beach is another must-see site, which is visited more for the beauty of the landscape than for its more moderate waves. As for Salt Creek Beach, it is the spot of choice for professionals and more experienced surfers. Finally, a detour to the Hobie Surf Shop is a must: in this historic shop opened in 1954, you can immerse yourself in the local atmosphere and admire souvenirs and photos of wave legends.

Oahu, Hawaiian Islands

The Hawaiian Islands have always been a top destination for surfers. And among these particularly Oahu, one of the world capitals of surfing. With its waves that regularly exceed ten meters on the North Shore, this island wild and lush is a dream destination for nature vacations: surfers are distributed along the 11 kilometers of beach: Sunset Beach, Backdoor, Waimea Bay and Banzai Pipeline. This island is a true surfing paradise with typical Hawaiian landscapes. Its particularity is due to the height of its waves, which break on shallow water, producing what surfers call “pipelines”, rolls that they try at all costs to cross. In addition, thanks to the coral reefs present on the coasts of the island, the place lends itself perfectly to diving with mask and snorkel. After the effort, we recommend that you visit Haleiwa. Here, no record waves, but a charming little town popular with surfers, full of shops, bars and clubs.

Bali, Indonesia

In Southeast Asia, it is bali which is the most popular destination for surfers. With its long sandy beaches, lush forests, and temples frozen in time, the island of Bali, in the heart of the Indonesian archipelago, offers many faces. In this place, surfing goes hand in hand with spirituality, nature and culture. For the most intrepid surfers, the surf spots are concentrated in the south-west of the island: Ulu Watu, Padang Padang and Pantai Suluban But in Bali, the beach breaks are numerous, such as Canggu, Seminyak and Kuta each of which has its own characteristics of tidal amplitude and intensity. In all its places, you will witness the magic of this enchanting island with its rice fields, its natural oases and its incomparable charm.

Tarifa, Spain

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The best places to watch the highest waves in the world