May Day is lei day in Hawaii, says the old song—but what it fails to mention is that May 1st signifies the end of Hawaii and the northern hemisphere’s “late season,” and with it any but the barest hope of north swells. Instead, all eyes are pointing south as the South Pacific, South Atlantic, and Indian Ocean all look nice and spicy on the forecast.
If you are thinking of booking a quick surf trip before the summer rush hits, consider the following regions, all of which are in for a great month.
Oaxaca: right-hand points
Not everyone wants to surf XXL beach break barrels, but fortunately for Oaxaca that’s not the only thing the southern Mexican state is holding. There is a ton of south swell pointed at Mexico this month, and rumor has it the sand is looking good at the points surrounding Salina Cruz. If you’ve ever dreamt of long, tropical, head-high right-handers (and what regular-foot hasn’t?), then now is looking like a good time to head to Oaxaca.
Spot guide: Mexico
Peru: Chicama and never-ending lefts
For every right-hand point in Mexico there is an equally dreamy left-hand version in Peru. And since the two countries enjoy the same swell window—well, what is it they say about the goose and the gander? What’s good for the natural is good for the goofy, too, so if head-high lefts are more your thing, head to the land of the Inca. The points up north in the Lobitos region are looking at an extended run of consistent swell, with early season sand making for pristine conditions.
When to go: Chicama
South Africa: J-Bay, big wave bombies and classic lineups
Cape Town has already seen a number of XXL swells this season, and the first week of May is looking at a solid run of swell for J-Bay and areas farther east. Things will quiet down a bit after that, but that just gives you a chance to enjoy the rest of what the country has to offer—including thriving culture, diverse wildlife, and a ton of empty beach breaks.
Indonesia: world class waves and tropical perfection
Anyone who has been to Indonesia during the “off-season” knows that the archipelago never really goes flat. But from May through August is when Indonesia pumps, with consistent swells and predictable trade winds.
There is a reason the world tour heads to Bali around the middle of May, and as usual it is looking like they will have plenty of swell on tap for the Keramas event. Whether you are looking to attend a world tour event on the east side or score endless lefts on the Bukit Peninsula, there’s no better time to hit Indo than right now.
Forecast: Bali and Lombok
Cover shot: Trevor Murphy