Do a Google image search for winter surfing and you’ll get a lot of pictures of snow covered shores, surfers covered in icicles and even frozen waves. I didn’t know that waves actually froze… I think I’ve been Photoshop had.
None of these images make me want to winter surf. They look post apocalyptic and hellish, which is fun to look at, but I don’t want to actually experience the horrors of winter surfing if it means a beard of icicles or trudging through slush and ice to the shores of Lake Erie with a Cleveland cityscape as a backdrop. Bali or Portugal it is not.
Here’s what the Lonely Planet has to say about winter surfing in Portugal, which is number 10 on their list of best offseason adventures around the world:
Mainland Portugal has almost 950km of coast and much of it is ideal for summer holidaying: there’s a classy, quiet, golfy or gaudy resort to suit most tastes. But for surfers, winter’s the time to be there, when the Atlantic swells are biggest and most consistent, and when beaches are free from other people. And it’s not even that cold – though you’ll want a decent wetsuit (sea temperatures average 17°C).
For places like California, South Africa, Australia and Portugal, winters are at worst a bit chilly, but they can also be sunny and nice. On a winter surf holiday to these places you don’t have to share the beach with crowds of swimmers and sunbathers. Other perks include cheaper prices for accommodation, bigger waves (depending on the location) and relative warmth if you’re living in a northern European country or a part of the States that experiences freezing winters.
Even though it’s summer now, think about winter surfing when those autumn winds start blowing cold.