Surfers are a lucky bunch. The sport is often the catalyst behind trips to exotic locations teeming with waves and scenery.
Where surfers gather, fun typically follows. For the surfer always on the lookout for excitement, here are a handful of incredible surf events to attend each year.
November 25 – December 6, 2018, North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii
The Vans Triple Crown consists of three separate events for the world’s surfers, taking place at Sunset Beach, Haleiwa Ali’I, and the iconic Banzai Pipeline. This is the best all-around event to see surfers in a variety of elements, with each wave testing the different skills and strategies of its surfers. The crowd is energetic, the waves are usually pumping, and it’s a great event spot because after you’re done watching the professionals, there are plenty of waves in the region to catch yourself.
March 10-17, 2018, Noosa, Sunshine Coast, Australia
No matter what type of surfer you are, Noosa festival has it all. Expect full days of surf competitions in the sea and attend the shoreline events of beachside yoga, art exhibitions, live music, SUP with your pup dog-surfing workshops, and much more at this week-long celebration. Best of all, the event strives to do its part in being eco-friendly so that attendees can have a ton of fun while inflicting little environmental damage.
July 30 – August 05, 2018, Huntington Beach, California, USA
Controversial, crowded, chaotic. The US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, California, is often filled with attendees who ask, “Who’s she?” when Kelly Slater comes up in conversation. Nonetheless, the energy that pulses through Surf City when it’s at maximum capacity is lively and exciting. Think spray-on surf-brand tattoos, autographed breasts, cheering, and an abundance of alcohol. Stand on the pier and watch the world’s best surfers below, and embrace your inner kook by lining up for an autograph after your favorite one wins.
Concert at the US Open of Surfing. Photo: Flickr YoTuT
April 11-22, 2018, Margaret River, Western Australia
The Margaret River Pro is an event cherished by locals that puts a spotlight on Surfer’s Point, one of the region’s most iconic waves. When the swell picks up, you’ll see the world’s best surfers charging seriously big waves over shallow reef – all from the comforts of the newly renovated lookout area. Since the contest is over three hours from the nearest city, the crowd usually consists solely of locals and true surf fans – bandwagoners are left behind. While all stops on the WSL championship tour deserve a mention, the Margaret River Pro is arguably the most authentic.
Tyler Wright slicing it up at the Margaret River Pro. Photo: Chantae Reden
September 29, 2018, Huntington Beach, California, USA
This contest puts a real meaning to the term Salty Dogs, where K-9s literally compete with each other in the line-up. Happening in Huntington Beach, California, pooches are placed in heats depending on their weight, or owners can choose to go tandem. It’s a dog-gone good time where surfur pawticipants can hang-twenty unleashed. (Though there is an entrance fee, cheesy puns are free.)
October 18-22, 2018, Santa Cruz, California, USA
Set in the rugged backdrop of Santa Cruz, California, grab a cup of hot chocolate and watch surfers brave the chilly water. With ample viewing areas, you’ll be able to see legendary Steamer Lane from an intimate angle. Spectators hailing from all areas come see surfers battle it out in the icy water in hopes of gaining enough points to qualify for the WSL World Tour.
Various times throughout the year. River Severn, UK
Though not an official surfing event, Britain’s Severn Bore is a natural phenomenon that deserves a spot on your bucket list. Surfers prepare to surf the surge wave caused by the Severn Bore, often competing with one another to see who can snag the longest ride, with the record being 9.25 miles long. Since the tides are predicted well in advance, surfers from all over the globe gather to share the experience. Arrive early to make sure you don’t miss out.
June 14-17, 2018, Biarritz, France
Not for the faint of heart, this festival in Biarritz, France, combines motorcycles and surfing for an experience sure to put some hair on your chest. The event consists of a surf contest, motorcycle races, and group rides spanning from the seaside to the mountains. For down time, explore the festival village, hosting over 120 stalls complete with concerts, shops, and movie screenings. It’s a few days where both nature and manmade machinery are equally celebrated.
All around the world, surfers are using ingenuity and creativity to host events that unite us all as sportsmen. What are your favorites to attend?
Rad's top 10 action sports, adventure events and music festivals in 2019 and 2020