15 Best Places to Surf in December
As the cold sets in for many parts of the world, the allure of sun-soaked beaches and world-class waves beckons the soul of every surfer. But where are the best spots to chase that perfect wave in December? Let’s journey together across the globe, from island paradises to rugged coastlines, in search of the 15 best places to surf in December.
- 1. Oahu, Hawaii
- 2. Bali, Indonesia
- 3. Gold Coast, Australia
- 4. Puerto Rico
- 5. Costa Rica
- 6. Maldives
- 7. Tenerife, Canary Islands
- 8. Morocco
- 9. Margaret River, Western Australia
- 10. Sri Lanka
- 11. Lisbon, Portugal
- 12. Noosa, Queensland
- 13. Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
- 14. Taghazout, Morocco
- 15. Bells Beach, Victoria
- Wrapping Up the Waves of December
1. Oahu, Hawaii
Oahu, the heart of Hawaii, isn’t just about luaus and leis. In December, it transforms into a surfer’s paradise. The island, renowned worldwide, offers some of the best surf in December, with waves that can challenge even the most seasoned surfers, especially on the North Shore. Yet, beginners need not feel daunted, for Oahu’s southern coast offers calmer waters for those still finding their surf feet. Oahu, with its mix of challenge and charm, truly encapsulates the spirit of surfing.
When we speak of the best surf in December, Oahu inevitably claims its spot at the pinnacle.
- Skill level: The iconic North Shore beckons the intermediate to experts, while the South Shore is friendly for beginners and intermediates.
- Average wave size: North Shore can thunder with 6-15 ft waves, while the South Shore is gentler at 2-6 ft.
- Swell consistency: With the winter swells rolling in, the consistency is high.
- Water temperature: A balmy 24-26°C welcomes surfers.
- Air temperature: Tropical breezes keep the island between 23-27°C.
- Wetsuit needed: Not necessarily, though a rash guard could be beneficial.
- Crowd: With its reputation, the North Shore, in particular, can get very crowded.
2. Bali, Indonesia
Bali, often referred to as the Island of Gods, is a surfer’s heaven. From the renowned beaches of Uluwatu and Kuta to the lesser-known eastern shores, Bali offers a vast array of choices when it comes to deciding the best surf destinations in December. Its perfect wave combinations cater to both rookies trying to find their rhythm and pros searching for their next challenge.
If you’re pondering where to surf in December, Bali is an undeniable choice for many seasoned wave riders.
- Skill level: Bali is welcoming for all, from novices to professionals.
- Average wave size: Waves fluctuate between 3-10 ft, offering variety for all.
- Swell consistency: The consistency remains high, making it an attractive choice.
- Water temperature: Enjoy the tropical waters between 26-29°C.
- Air temperature: Relish the warm embrace of 26-30°C.
- Wetsuit needed: No need for any, the waters are warm year-round.
- Crowd: West coast beaches can get crowded; the east coast offers more solitude.
3. Gold Coast, Australia
The Gold Coast is a prime location for surfers, especially when deliberating where to surf in December. Boasting over 70 km of coastline and renowned point breaks like Kirra and Burleigh Heads, it’s no wonder why it’s on every surfer’s bucket list. Whether it’s the challenge of the waves or the allure of the sun-kissed beaches, Gold Coast beckons all.
- Skill level: Whether you’re starting out or you’re a seasoned pro, Gold Coast has a spot for you.
- Average wave size: Ranges from 2-6 ft, making it versatile for different skill levels.
- Swell consistency: Moderate to high, especially during the summer months.
- Water temperature: Comfortable waters ranging from 21-25°C.
- Air temperature: Bask in the mild warmth of 20-28°C.
- Wetsuit needed: Not typically, though a spring suit might be helpful during cooler mornings.
- Crowd: Popular spots like Snapper Rocks can be crowded, but there are lesser-known gems too.
4. Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico, a captivating Caribbean gem, is deeply rooted in surf culture and history. Boasting over 300 miles of diverse coastline adorned with immaculate beaches, this island beckons surfers during December. From the vigorous waves of Rincon to the tranquil shores of the south, Puerto Rico offers a memorable surfing journey.
- Skill level: A diverse island, it caters to both novices and veterans.
- Average wave size: The waves can vary between 2-10 ft, with the north coast offering bigger swells.
- Swell consistency: The consistency is moderate to high, particularly in the winter months.
- Water temperature: Tropical waters stay between 26-29°C.
- Air temperature: Experience warmth ranging from 25-30°C.
- Wetsuit needed: No, but a rash guard is recommended.
- Crowd: North coast spots like Rincon can get crowded, while the south coast provides a more tranquil experience.
5. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is more than just lush rainforests and diverse wildlife; it’s a dream spot for those contemplating surfing in December. With the Pacific coast to the west and the Caribbean coast to the east, surfers are spoilt for choice. From the renowned waves of Santa Teresa to the hidden gems of the Caribbean side, Costa Rica promises a surf adventure like no other.
- Skill level: With a plethora of breaks, it’s suitable for all surfers.
- Average wave size: The Pacific coast sees waves between 2-8 ft.
- Swell consistency: The Pacific coast offers high consistency, whereas the Caribbean coast is more variable.
- Water temperature: Expect warm waters between 27-30°C.
- Air temperature: A balmy climate with temperatures ranging from 24-28°C.
- Wetsuit needed: None required; the tropical waters are welcoming year-round.
- Crowd: Popular spots like Tamarindo can be bustling, but many secluded breaks offer solitude.
The Maldives is a group of 26 islands in the Indian Ocean, famous for its beautiful water villas and clear blue waters. But in December, surfers worldwide come for its amazing waves.
The Maldives offers not only scenic beauty but also some of the cleanest and most rideable waves. The surrounding reefs generate a variety of breaks that are perfect for surfing in December, making it a sought-after destination during the winter months.
- Skill level: Both beginners and seasoned pros will find a wave to ride.
- Average wave size: Typically around 3-8 ft, but larger swells can be found in specific spots.
- Swell consistency: Moderate, with December seeing consistent waves.
- Water temperature: A consistent tropical 28-30°C.
- Air temperature: Staying around 29-31°C.
- Wetsuit needed: No, the tropical waters are welcoming. A rash guard can be handy.
- Crowd: Some areas can get crowded, but there are plenty of spots to find solitude.
7. Tenerife, Canary Islands
Situated in the Atlantic Ocean near the northwest coast of Africa, Tenerife stands as the grandest among the Canary Islands. Its dramatic volcanic terrains combined with untouched beaches make it a top choice for many travelers. And come December, its shores beckon surfers.
Tenerife boasts a variety of surf spots along its coastline, from the playful waves of Playa de Las Americas to the challenging barrels of Punta Blanca. With its consistent swells and diverse breaks, Tenerife is a prime choice for surfing in December.
- Skill level: Catering to a wide range of surfers, from novices to experts.
- Average wave size: Waves hover around the 3-6 ft mark.
- Swell consistency: High, especially during the winter months.
- Water temperature: Mild and refreshing at 19-22°C.
- Air temperature: Comfortably warm, ranging from 20-24°C.
- Wetsuit needed: Yes, a 3/2mm wetsuit is advisable.
- Crowd: Popular spots can be busy, but there are quieter breaks for those in the know.
Morocco, a North African country with coasts on both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, has long been a hub for surfers seeking adventure and unforgettable waves. The bustling souks, timeless architecture, and diverse coastline make it a cultural and surfing haven.
From the world-renowned waves of Anchor Point to the more hidden gems along its extensive coastline, Morocco stands tall as one of the best surfing destinations in December.
- Skill level: Welcomes all, from newcomers to the seasoned elite.
- Average wave size: Varies greatly, with most waves between 4-10 ft.
- Swell consistency: High, with winter swells being particularly reliable.
- Water temperature: A slightly chilly 16-19°C.
- Air temperature: Pleasantly cool, averaging 15-20°C.
- Wetsuit needed: Yes, a 3/2mm to 4/3mm is recommended.
- Crowd: Some spots, especially around Taghazout, can be packed, but plenty of quieter breaks exist.
9. Margaret River, Western Australia
Nestled in the southwestern tip of Australia, Margaret River isn’t solely famed for its world-class wines. As surfers from around the globe know, this region is also a powerhouse of wave perfection, carving its reputation in the annals of surf history.
Margaret River presents a buffet of breaks. From the iconic Main Break to the tubing heaven of The Box, and spots like Surfer’s Point offering a picturesque backdrop, there’s no question about it — Margaret River is a heavyweight for the best places for surfing in December. The added bonus? When you’re surfed out, the region’s renowned vineyards are ready to welcome you for a taste of their finest.
- Skill level: A range for everyone, but many spots lean towards the intermediate to advanced.
- Average wave size: Powerful breaks with waves ranging between 5-12 ft.
- Swell consistency: Very consistent, especially during the southern hemisphere’s summer.
- Water temperature: Cooler waters averaging 18-20°C in December.
- Air temperature: Summer warmth oscillating between 20-28°C.
- Wetsuit needed: Absolutely, a 3/2mm to 4/3mm depending on personal comfort.
- Crowd: Popular breaks like Main Break can get crowded, but many quieter options are scattered throughout.
10. Sri Lanka
Emerald in color and rich in culture, Sri Lanka, the pearl of the Indian Ocean, beckons with its warm waters and consistent swells. This tropical paradise offers a unique blend of history, nature, and wave-riding opportunities that are hard to pass up.
From the reef breaks of Arugam Bay to the beach breaks of Weligama, Sri Lanka is undoubtedly one of the best surfing destinations in December, offering a harmonious blend of waves, culture, and natural beauty.
- Skill level: Diverse breaks suitable for novices and advanced surfers alike.
- Average wave size: Generally, between 3-7 ft.
- Swell consistency: Very high, with December being an optimal month.
- Water temperature: A balmy 27-29°C.
- Air temperature: Tropical and warm, hovering between 28-31°C.
- Wetsuit needed: Not essential due to the warm waters, though a rash guard is advisable.
- Crowd: Popular spots can be busy, but with so much coastline, secluded spots are aplenty.
11. Lisbon, Portugal
The Iberian Peninsula, especially Portugal, holds some of Europe’s most outstanding surf treasures. Lisbon, the lively capital, acts as an epicenter for surf enthusiasts who yearn to conquer the waves during winter months. Located in proximity to some of the continent’s most renowned surf spots, Lisbon is undeniably the best place to surf in December-January.
From the bustling beach of Carcavelos to the challenging waves of Ericeira, Lisbon offers a surf smorgasbord for enthusiasts. And when the sun sets, the city’s vibrant nightlife is just the perfect way to unwind.
- Skill level: Primarily for intermediate surfers. However, nearby spots cater to both beginners and professionals.
- Average wave size: 4-10 ft, with some spots offering towering waves.
- Swell consistency: High during winter months.
- Water temperature: Chilly at 15-17°C.
- Air temperature: A moderate 12-18°C in December and January.
- Wetsuit needed: Definitely. A 4/3mm with boots is advisable.
- Crowd: While Lisbon’s beaches are less crowded during these months, nearby famous spots might attract a gathering.
12. Noosa, Queensland
Noosa is not only one of Australia’s premier holiday destinations but also a gem in the surfing world. Its iconic point breaks, combined with its pristine environment, make it a compelling spot for those pondering where the best place to surf in December-January is.
With its crystal-clear waters, diverse marine life, and the backdrop of the lush Noosa National Park, surfing here is a nature-infused experience. The renowned Noosa Festival of Surfing, held in March, showcases how deeply the town cherishes its surf culture. But, if you want to catch the waves at their finest without the festival’s crowd, December to January is undeniably prime time.
- Skill level: Especially friendly for beginners and longboarders, though there are areas for intermediate surfers.
- Average wave size: Typically 2-6 ft.
- Swell consistency: Moderate.
- Water temperature: A balmy 24-27°C.
- Air temperature: Summery vibes at 22-28°C.
- Wetsuit needed: Not essential, though some might prefer a rash guard.
- Crowd: Can be busy due to the holiday season, but the vibe remains friendly and laid-back.
13. Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
One of Central America’s surfing gems, Santa Teresa, has firmly established itself as a must-visit destination for wave chasers. Nestled on the Nicoya Peninsula’s Pacific coast, this Costa Rican beach town is known for its consistent waves, laid-back ambiance, and stunning natural beauty. When it comes to surfing in December, Santa Teresa truly shines.
Santa Teresa’s sandy stretch is not just about the waves. The vivid sunsets, rich biodiversity, and friendly locals make it a holistic experience. As December heralds the dry season, it’s an opportune time to indulge in both surfing and exploration.
- Skill level: Ideal for beginner surfers. However, nearby areas also cater to advanced surfers.
- Average wave size: 3-8 ft.
- Swell consistency: High, especially in December.
- Water temperature: Warm and inviting at 27-29°C.
- Air temperature: Tropical feels at 28-32°C.
- Wetsuit needed: Not required. Board shorts, a rash guard, and sunscreen should suffice.
- Crowd: Moderate, but expect more surfers as the word continues to spread about this paradise.
14. Taghazout, Morocco
Renowned as the surf capital of Morocco, Taghazout has secured its legendary status among surf enthusiasts looking to evade the frigid winters of northern Europe. Not only does it offer sun-kissed shores, but it also presents consistent waves throughout the year, making it a veritable haven for surfers. The diverse range of beaches and points here are particularly accommodating for beginners, ensuring that every surfer, regardless of their skill level, can find their own wave to ride.
- Suitable skill level: Best for Beginner and Intermediate Surfers
- Average wave size: Varies across different points; generally, the waves are beginner-friendly.
- Swell consistency: High
- Water temperature: Varies but typically requires a 3/2 mm wetsuit
- Air temperature: 18 – 26°c
- Wetsuit needed: Yes, a 3/2 mm wetsuit is recommended.
- Crowd: Moderate, with a mix of locals and tourists
15. Bells Beach, Victoria
Tucked away along Australia’s Great Ocean Road, Bells Beach stands as one of the surfing world’s legendary landmarks. Renowned for hosting the Rip Curl Pro – the world’s longest-running surf competition – Bells offers challenging waves against a backdrop of dramatic cliffs. For those considering surfing in December, Bells Beach beckons with its powerful swells.
A session at Bells is more than just riding waves; it’s about being a part of a rich surfing legacy. With its iconic right-hand reef break and the sounds of the bells (from which the beach derives its name) echoing in the background, it’s an experience every serious surfer should have, especially in December when conditions are prime.
- Skill level: Intermediate to expert. The waves can be demanding, especially when big swells roll in.
- Average wave size: 4-12 ft, with potential for even larger waves.
- Swell consistency: High in December, as the Southern Ocean generates powerful swells.
- Water temperature: A cooler 16-19°C.
- Air temperature: Mild summer conditions at 18-24°C.
- Wetsuit needed: Yes, a 3/2mm or 4/3mm suit is advisable.
- Crowd: Moderate. While Bells is a popular spot, its challenging nature keeps the lineup from getting too crowded.
Wrapping Up the Waves of December
As the year winds down, the passion for surfing only heats up. From Oahu to Taghazout, the search for the best places to surf in December ends here. Choosing the best place to surf in December January can be overwhelming given the array of mesmerizing locations. But, you’re now ready to catch the finest waves with our guide, bask under the winter sun, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
A nod to Boost Surfing for always championing the sport and providing surf enthusiasts with valuable insights, gear recommendations, and experiences that elevate every surf journey. Dive in, ride high, and let the December waves set the tone for an adventurous year ahead!