Think of surfing and the image that typically comes to mind is sandy beaches, warm sunny climates, beautiful backdrops and miles of open ocean. But what about the more unusual places to surf? The breaks that still generate rideable waves that don’t involve the sea or have that picture perfect beach scene? For some of the least likely and most unusual spots to shred, think rivers, lakes, cityscapes and freezing Arctic conditions! Here’s our guide to just a few…
Surfed for the first time in 2013, Red Bull athletes Dan Malloy and Ramon Navarro headed to the South Shetland Islands and braved one of the world’s riskiest and most inaccessible surf spots. Despite the freezing conditions, and needing protective gear (without which they would have died within minutes), they scored some great waves and were undoubtedly, the only men in the water!
Munich River Wave
The Eisbach River in Germany features a standing wave that reaches a height of two metres. There’s no paddle out, its miles from any open ocean and there’s no chance of sand getting in everything. However, it’s not for novices – the flow rate is about 20 tons per second.
The Welsh Mountains
Opening in 2015, the Surf Snowdonia park will bring guaranteed waves to the Conwy Valley. The 300 meter lagoon will generate machine-created consistent waves up to six feet in height, so you won’t need to travel to the coast to score some perfect rides!
Cox’s Bazar (Bangladesh)
Despite its non-typical tourist and surf spot destination, Cox’s Bazar is considered to have one the world’s longest natural sandy beaches (75 miles). It is home to the country’s first surf school and in this Islamic country, women surf fully clothed! In 2005, Surfing the Nations organised the first surf competition here.
Severn Bore (UK)
Waves occur here when the rising tide from the Bristol Channel forces water up the Severn Estuary. The result, which generally occurs in March, September and October, is a wave that can potentially be ridden for up to seven miles with a height of around 2 meters. It’s muddy, and who knows what’s lurking in the river, but for longboarders, its heaven!
Another tidal bore whose name means ‘great roar’ which can be hard 30 minutes before making its appearance. It starts where the Amazon river meets the Atlantic Ocean and has its own National Pororoca Surfing Championships.
Seven ghosts, Kampur River (Indonesia)
A phenomenal river bore with up to 10 foot faces – expect 27 degree celsius water temperatures with a wave travelling up to 50 kilometres. It was first discovered in 2011 and later surfed by pro-surfer Tom Curren. It was the subject of RipCurl’s Seven Ghosts film in the same year.
Wadi adventure park
The Wadi adventure park in Dubai is the Middle East’s first man made water sport facility. It’s in the middle of the desert, is one massive swimming pool and you can take surf lessons or even hire the whole place to yourself! They can create waves for any kind of surfer – from small rolling waves to A-frames and close outs.
Featured in the surf film ‘Step into Liquid,’ surfing on Lake Michigan began when US soldiers returned home from Hawaii after the Second World War. Usually there are 10 surfable days per month between June and August and it’s the only lake which gets enough wind to generate a swell.