(Thanks Adrian for letting me know about this article! Its great to see my old stomping grounds is rated among the best surf towns in the world!)
British Columbia draws serious skiers and oenophiles,
and surfers, too, have come to adore B.C.—especially Tofino, on the
west coast of Vancouver Island. The 2013 Rip Curl Pro surf competition shredded
here in June. The rustic buildings around Main and Campbell streets are worth a
glance. Shelter Restaurant is replenished daily by Tofino’s fishermen, and
locals gather in the bar to watch Vancouver Canucks hockey. Eagle Aerie Gallery
displays the works of award-winning Canadian artist Roy Henry Vickers.
Photo: Courtesy of Shelter Restaurant
Surfers worth their wax know that the beach on Oahu's north shore near
Haleiwa has some of the best reef breaks. But ask a salt-in-the-veins surfer
which towns are best for off-wave chill outs and local culture, and
"It's funny, I've always looked at the surf, not so much at the town," says
Pierre Wilkinson, a South African who's surfed from Australia to Zanzibar and
just about everywhere in between. "I've surfed in many places where there is
very little to do out of the water."
For die-hard fans like Wilkinson, the waves always win. But for those seeking
a blend of cowabunga thrill and après-surf scene, there are plenty of cool towns
where good food mixes with a barefoot vibe, and browsing galleries and shops is
as fun as catching waves.
Consider California's classic surfin' safari destination of Santa Cruz, with
its 106-year-old boardwalk, or Byron Bay, Australia, where surfers fuel up at
The Top Shop before paddling out to the swells at Wategos and The Pass. Or the
many draws of Bundoran, a town on the west coast of Ireland, where a world-class
surf competition and a thriving pub and music scene collide.
Read on for more beach destinations you
can sink your 10 toes into, even if you never hang 10.