5 Places You Need to Surf in 2020

Matt Rode

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Updated 22d ago

And just like that, it’s a new year—and a new decade, for that matter. A chance to turn over a new leaf, set some new resolutions, surf some new waves, and visit some new places. In 2020, it’s no longer enough to take that same old trip to the Ments or Costa Rica.

Simply scoring waves isn’t going to cut it—we want adventure, beautiful, nature, and solitude. As you look toward the future, step outside of that comfortable box and consider going somewhere completely original—if not for the rest of the world, than at least for you.

Here’s our list of must-visit surf zones for the intrepid adventurer in 2020.

Norway

I’ve spent the past five years writing Norway off as a novelty surf destination—one where you can see the northern lights, explore a new culture, and ride a few shitty waves beneath picturesque fjords. But then a buddy sent me footage of the waves he lucked into while in the Lofoten Islands, and suddenly I’m not such a skeptic.

Whether you score friendly beach break or double-overhead dredging points, there’s no arguing the adventure to be had in the Arctic Circle. We know a lot of people who have gone on surf trips to Norway, and none of them have come back unhappy.

When to go? See our spot guide, HERE.

Madagascar

We’ve said it before, and we will say it again—the island of Madagascar represents one of the last surf zones still waiting to be explored. Sure, you won’t be the first to surf most of the waves there—but you just might be the first in a long time.

And if you look hard enough, it’s still possible to unearth new waves on Madagascar, both on the east and west coasts. Not to mention that it’s one of the most fertile, bio-diverse places on the planet. Don’t believe us? Just ask DreamWorks Animation. They didn’t make a series of kids’ movies about this island for nothing.

Keep an eye on the forecast, HERE.

Namibia

Speaking of Africa, the west coast is holding—and Namibia is the brightest example. Yes, Skeleton Bay will kick your ass, and you probably won’t make the wave of a lifetime unless you are a pro-level surfer—but just to see the wave break in person is enough to make your life complete.

And who knows—maybe you’ll end up acing the drop into an endless pit after all. If not, there’s always one of the world’s most impressive deserts, full of pretty much every big, exotic mammal known to man.

Some handy, local knowledge, HERE.

Alaska

Yet another surf zone that is often written off as a novelty, due to the fact that it’s cold, unruly, and difficult to score, Alaska is actually much more surfable than you think. For the past decade, the crew on the Milo have been quietly been exploring the Gulf Alaska for waves out of their base in Homer, and they rarely come up empty-handed.

From points and beach breaks to river mouths and slabs, Alaska has thousands of miles of coastline full of potential surf spots that are just waiting for the right swell, wind, and tide. Meanwhile, the scenery is as good as it gets, and the wildlife…well, pretty damned wild.

Spot guide for Alaska, HERE.

A sea

Any sea, actually. The smaller the better, of course, because those are the ones that are the hardest to score, and that mean the most when you finally do. The Mediterranean, the Black, the Baltic, the South China Sea—if there’s water and wind, there are waves, and some of them are a lot better than you think.

And if you don’t feel like taking such a big punt, you can always opt for the more consistent Caribbean and Coral Seas—we hear they get waves from time to time. There's a whole range of setups to explore but here's a spot guide for the Mediterranean, HERE.

Cover shot by Hallvard Kolltveit.