I’m big on travel. Surf travel that is. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the only thing driving me towards hard work and increasing my income, is it affording me the chance to make bold travel happen.
And the more of it I can do in a year, the better.
Indonesia, Hawaii, California and the Maldives are the international surf travel destination stamps in my passport.
More locally, I’ve left my tire tracks in Jeffreys Bay, Elands Bay, Durban, and some name-sensitive spots scattered across the Southern Cape, West Coast, and South Coast of KZN.
I started compiling my surf travel bucket list in December, and I’ve narrowed it down to 6 destinations to choose from:
1. Lofoten, Norway
This one might be risky. and cold. But hey, with great risk comes great reward, right?
So, in 2010 I had the chance to travel to Norway’s neighbour, Sweden, and I fell in love with the little bit that I saw of Scandinavia. Since then I’ve been taunted by various sources of inspiration, like Unstad Arctic Surfers, North of the Sun, and Chris Burkard’s photos, that have continued to feed my curiosity for the area. I mean, honestly, how can you not be inspired to trade palm trees for the ultimate adventure in the arctic?
P.S. Do yourself a favour and check out Arctic Surfers on instagram – surfing in Iceland!
2. Banyak Islands, Indonesia
Remote, rustic exploration? Count me in.
A while ago, Zigzag shared this video about a South African guy who has partnered up with a local fisherman in a remote area of Indonesia to start very basic, very affordable surf charters. What appeals to me most is the idea of being totally out of my comfort zone. I’m no stranger to Indo but this would be a real adventure (how inviting are those bonfires for cooking up dinner on a deserted island!?).
3. Hawaii, again
Been there, haven’t done that…
Once you’ve had a taste for Hawaii, you’ll want to return over and over again to experience more of it. There’s a reason why surfers migrate here at the end of every year, and it’s really not just the contest scene. This is the mecca of surf travel. And on top of that, the place is breathtakingly beautiful: hiking, swimming, exploring, cycling – its everything an outdoor lover could dream of.
(P.P.S. Look out for my “How I made Hawaii possible” post coming soon)
4. Mentawaii’s or Sumatra
Who doesn’t have these on their surf trip bucket list?
Really the only reason I haven’t done this trip yet is the price tag (and the exchange rate Rand to Dollar isn’t quite helping at the moment). The pure perfection and beauty of this area, and the perfect waves on offer are enough of an attraction factor. Plus I’m a huge fan of surf charters, which is most definitely how I’d travel the Ments. Indonesia has my heart and I’ll go back there year on year and explore more of it as long as I can.
5. Maldives, again
I did this trip last year. But from a water photography perspective…TAKE ME BACK.
The Maldives had been pretty much close to top of my bucket list for the past 2 years, but quote after quote came back well over my budget. Then, in July last year, I had a miracle opportunity to be a guinea pig on a South African owned surf charter for their maiden surf trip. It really was the trip of a lifetime: Perfect waves for 10 days straight, crystal clear warm water, 30 degree heat and all the marine life in the world. For an ocean lover like me, its a place I will happily revisit over and over again.
(P.P.P.S. A recap of my Maldives trip coming up on the blog in 2 weeks time)
6. Skeleton Bay
So close, but so far. Am I the only surfer in South Africa to have not made this pilgrimage?!
So let’s be clear – I’m not visiting this wave to surf it. I’ll definitely be going to photograph it (although, from what I’ve seen and heard, often the mist makes that a tricky thing to accomplish). But I just need to see this wave. The journey up there is half of the appeal – swell chasing is probably my most favourite activity. I’ll be keeping an eye on the charts closely this year and begging my dad for the Fortuner…
BONUS PIPE DREAM: Tahiti
Girls gotta dream, right?
Let’s be real: With flights alone sitting at R40k, this destination is most definitely still a pipe dream. But one day you’ll see my photographs from here. Just not this year.
Anyway, one of the above is likely to happen during the year – it’s going to be hard to choose! Be sure to keep an eye on my instagram feed for updates from my bucket list travels.