Surfing in Pipa, Brazil

Pipa made the transition from fishing village to surfing hotspot after the 1970s. Visitors are drawn to the stunning beauty of this surfing gem located on Brazil’s northeastern coast. Pipa’s beaches are bordered by cliffs and sand dunes, an unusual feature for surfing beaches. The unique topography contributes to Pipa’s allure.

Surfers can find surf spots on four main beaches along a three-mile stretch of coastline. Pipa welcomes surfers with all levels of experience. The waves themselves can be welcoming for beginners on a gentle day, and provide enough challenge for advanced surfers on rough days. This particular spot on Brazil’s coastline has year-round swells, allowing Pipa twelve months of potential tourism. However, the best swells make their way toward Pipa between November and March, when they roll in from the north Atlantic. On clear days, surfers have been known to spot dolphins while out riding the waves.

The presence of year-round winds creates the perfect conditions for kitesurfing. Varying wave intensity allows beginners and experts to enjoy this colorful activity. Beginner kite surfers also benefit from Pipa’s Isolated beaches, which alleviate the stress of obstacles. Vibrant kites often dot Pipa’s coastline and add to the tropical beauty of its beaches. 

Even though Pipa is regarded as the best surfing spot in Rio Grande do Norte, it still maintains anonymity as a lesser known surf town. Pipa has the air of being untouched by big tourism. Its local feel and relaxed energy are just as attractive as the year-round waves that grace the shores. 

Surfing in Raglan, New Zealand

Raglan is a picturesque surf town in the Waikato Region on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Rolling green mountains frame surf-ready beaches, and the town itself gives surfers a reason to take a few days off from the waves. 

The easiest way to get to Raglan is by flying into Auckland and catching a train or bus from Hamilton to Raglan. Some tourists might say that the best time to surf in Raglan is December to April, but this surf spot is special: there’s not really an off-season. Each season offers surfers a different reason to surf in Raglan. Summer brings warm weather with gentler swells, while chilly winter days often boast the largest waves of the year. Raglan’s beaches are friendly to beginners and experts alike. The town has surf spots for all levels of experience, and enough of those spots to prevent competition with tourists or locals. 

Surfers might come for the surfing, but they will stay for the delicious food. Raglan’s foodie scene is rife with local and organic restaurants with tons of plant-based options. Some restaurants even host live music.  Take advantage of an off-day with climbing, whitewater rafting, or skydiving. Need something a little more relaxed? Browse some of Raglan’s surf shops or boutiques. 

Hotels in Raglan are quite limited, so the rental market for visitors is mostly filled with hostels and Air BnBs. This unique little surf town covers the basics for surfers of all kinds and makes time spent off the beach truly worthwhile. 

How to Avoid Surfing Dangers

When one thinks of the dangers of surfing, thoughts go to the monster waves of Hawaii’s north shore, the Cortez Banks or the areas in the South Pacific. These are obviously very dangerous waves to surf, but there can be dangers in places that have much more benign conditions.

When one thinks of danger in surfing, thoughts immediately go to the subject of sharks and although the odds of a shark attack are very slim, it does happen. Below the surface, surfboards look like marine mammals, large shark’s favorite meal, and although the attacks may be a mistake, they are usually catastrophic.

Drowning is another possible danger when dealing with large powerful waves; many times the victims are inexperienced and underestimate the power of the waves and currents. Wearing a buoyant wetsuit greatly increases the odds for survival.

Being pummeled on the bottom structure can lead to serious injury and there are few experienced surfers who do not bear scars from rocks and coral reefs.

Flying surfboards pose a continual danger, the sharp fins can lacerate, and even a light board ‘under power’ can cause unconsciousness.

Avoiding dangers is learned by experience, but dangers must be faced to gain it.

Surfer First-Aid: Stings, Bites, Scratches

Encountering dangerous sea creatures is a reality any surfer faces. Marine life can cause injuries ranging from stings to puncture wounds. Side effects of these injuries can be serious if not properly treated. These are quick first aid remedies you can use the next time you’re out on the waves:

Treating Stings

  • Pour alcohol over the wound for several minutes to neutralize all stinging cells. 
  • Apply a paste made from a mixture of baking soda and water to the wound.
  • Dust talcum powder over the skin around the injury to keep reaction to the sting from spreading.

Treating Puncture Wounds

  • Place injured body part in hot water for at least 30 minutes.
  • Replenish the water as it cools and make it sure it does not cause scalding.

Treatment of Bites

  • Make the person lay down and keep them calm and still. 
  • Wash out the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Secure and support the area around the bite.
  • Do not cut the wound with a knife or attempt to suck out venom.

If any injury is serious, it is important to take the injured person in to the nearest hospital.

Conserving the Ocean for Future Generations

Conserving the ocean for future generations is an important issue that people need to spend more time on. The ocean needs to be conserved so future generations can enjoy fishing, coral reefs, and water sports that they might not get an opportunity to enjoy if proper conservation procedures are not in place. Conserving the ocean seems like a very difficult task, so where should people start?

The best starting point is education. People need to know how they can help and what they are possibly doing that is harming the ocean. Education should start in schools, from parents, and from television shows. Doing this will at least give people an idea of the problems the ocean is facing and how those problems can be solved.

There are also some great organizations that can be donated to that take steps in educating people and help to conserve the ocean. These organizations are also a great place to get information about how to help with ocean conservation. It also comes down to doing the little things that can help as well. This includes things like eating fish that are not endangered, not using pesticides, and organizing a beach cleanup day. Doing these things are simple ways to help.

Sustainable Fishing

We get very attracted to nature shows about sharks, but there is often an underlying message about fishing and ecosytem harmony. Sharks feed on other fish that feed on smaller fish, algae, plankton. Sharks are at the top of the food chain, and their needs to be enough of each block below the top to have a good total system. While too many sharks in a reef will gobble up all the fish in a reef, having too many fishing operations pull too much fish out of an ecosystem that it cannot reproduce in enough time, not only drives up the price of future fish, but drives down the quality of the ocean.

If there aren’t enough algae-eaters to keep the reefs clean, they get choked out by algae and die. Then everything dies. Not just the reef but everything supported by the reef.

There are a growing number of sustainable fisheries in the world today, but they operare at their own increasing difficulty, needing to charge more to help cover the costs and catching fewer fish. There are some, like the sustainable reefnetting process of Lummi Island Wild off the coast of Bellingham, WA, that use solar-powered nets to catch ONLY the fish they are looking for, tossing back the strays. They can not only do this without the cost and environmental damage of fuel for the boats, but also keeping the fish alive in holds for longer, creating a fresher product. They even team up with the local Lummi tribe to employ their tribal members.

While the Lummi Island Wild example is an incredible one, we just have to have WAY more of this type of activity than we do today to bring the total costs in line and help conserve the ocean and edge today more sustainable fishing practices that keep the ocean healthier.

Strength-Building Exercises: Off Board

Every surfer knows that getting out on the blue and missing a wave is not very fun. More of an embarrassment actually and when it happens you look around meekly, sitting on the board to see who might have seen you. Then finally you have to paddle back out. Know why you missed that wave? Because your legs and core probably weren’t strong and fast enough.

Surfing isn’t only about skill and technique, it is also about strength. Explosive strength. The kind of strength that is made by stimulating those fast twitch muscle fibers. Besides making it easier to catch waves a good strength and conditioning program will help you to recover faster from time out on the board.

The key is to train like an athlete and not an over swollen muscle builder to maintain flexibility. There are three things that are paramount for surfing workouts. One, it has to develop those powerful legs. Two, you need core strength to make it easier to stay on the board once your legs get you there and lastly, muscular endurance to be able last the long day on the board.

A great method for developing all of these is by working out with kettle bells doing cleans, snatches, swings and presses. Dumbbells can also be used but when available go with the kettle bells.

Things to Consider when Choosing a Surfboard

Skill Level

First thing you must consider is your surfing skills. Be honest about your skill assessment since some boards are easier on the learning curve.

If you are just starting out, a longboard or foamie / softboard would be ideal. This kind of board offers the best stability. Though they are not as maneuverable, but that should not be you concern if you are just starting out.

For intermediate surfers, you can now select a wider range of surfboards. A good addition to you choices is fish surfboards and shortboards.

Expert to professional levels have the enough skill required that they can experiment with different kinds of boards to optimize their natural abilities.

Weight Factor

Another thing to consider is you actual weight. You weight has a direct effect on how the surfboard affects the water. The general idea is that the more you weight, the thicker and wider your surfboard should be.

Height Factor

Choosing the right surfboard for you is also largely dependent on your height. As the height becomes taller, the surfboard also needs to be longer. As a good rule of thumb, the surfboard should be at least a foot longer than your actual height. Though surfers with intermediate skills and above can safely break this rule.

Tide Charts

“Tides” refer to the changing levels of the sea, caused by the gravitational forces of the Moon and Sun and the rotation of the Earth. People have been trying to predict tides since Selecucus of Seleucia first tied them to the Moon in the 2nd century B.C. Surfers are one of the largest groups to benefit from improvements in tide chart technology. These charts show the daily times for high water and low water on a given day for a given location. For estimating the heights at intermediate times, surfers can use the rule of twelfths. Wikipedia states that: The rule assumes that the rate of flow of a tide increases smoothly to a maximum halfway between high and low tide before smoothly decreasing to zero again and that the interval between low and high tides is approximately six hours. The rule states that in the first hour after low tide the water level will rise by one twelfth of the range, in the second hour two twelfths, and so on according to the sequence – 1:2:3:3:2:1.

The Internet has made it easier than ever to find accurate charts. The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration posts US charts online at For Canadian tables, visit For UK tables, visit

Other countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, also post tables online, but you’ll have to be proficient in their respective languages to understand them. The best bets for other locations are local newspapers and tide prediction software. XTide is one such piece of software, a “harmonic tide clock and tide predictor.” Good luck, and have fun out on the waves.

The History of Surfing

The first references to surfing come from the pre-Incan culture in Peru, which built a special boat known as the caballito de totora. However, the Hawaiians are generally considered the culture that has contributed the most to surfing’s history.

In the ancient Hawaiian culture, surfing was considered an art, and referred to as he e’ nalu, or “wave sliding.” Surfing was prefaced with prayer first for strength to challenge the ocean, and then, if necessary, kahunas (priests) would pray for killer waves. The priests also played a part in constructing the surfboards. Surfers would choose from the koaulu, or wiliwili trees, digging out their choice and “placing fish in the hole as an offering to the gods.” (Wikipedia) Craftsman then shaped the boards into one of three shapes the thick ‘olo which narrowed toward the edges, the lengthy, 12-18 foot kiko’o, and the 9-foot-long alaia. These early surfers would test their skills in some of the same sites that modern athletes still ride, including Kahalu’u Bay and Holualoa Bay.

Surfing in Hawaii and the Polynesian islands diminished in the 19th century when missionaries discouraged the practice. However, the art obviously survived. Public opinion started shifting in 1907 when George Freeth was brought from Hawaii to California to demonstrate surfing at a railroad opening. In 1912, James Matthias Jordan, Jr. surfed along the coast of Virginia Beach, which now hosts the East Coast Surfing Championships. Duke Kahanamoku of Hawaii was largely responsible for surfing’s international acclaim, including introducing it to Australia.

The 1960s saw a boom in surfing popularity, thanks to the novel Gidget and adaptations, surf music by bands like the Beach Boys and the Surfaris, and the popularity of California culture in films like the classic Beach Party series. Surfers were cliché characters by the 1980s, as evidenced by Sean Penn’s portrayal of Jeff Spicoli in 1982′s Fast Times at Ridgemont High. During the 1990s, professional surfing became a popular and financially successful enterprise, and today surfers enjoy a popularity akin to that of athletes in many other sports.

Plan Your Next Surfing Adventure

The key to a great surfing experience is a great surfing location. While this may seem obvious, it can take a good amount of dedication and time to track down the perfect wave and you have to be ready for it when it comes. When you’re confident enough in your skills to put them to the test, check out our list of the top surfing locations in the world.

  1. Mentawai Islands, Indonesia: While most people will stop at Sumatra, the real action is off the coast in this chain of islands, which block the best waves from ever reaching the Sumatran mainland. The four main islands to check out are Siberut, Sipora, and North and South Pagi. The best times for travel are from March to October, with the biggest waves occurring between June and September.
  2. Oahu’s North Shore, Hawaii: The Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay are two surfing locations that have been immortalized in popular culture, and they’re both located here on the North Shore. Hawaii is also inextricably tied with surfing’s origins, and even British explorer Captain Cook noted it upon his travels there in the 1770s. The biggest waves come during the winter.
  3. Lennox Point, Australia: Recognized as a National Surfing Reserve by National Surfing Reserves Australia and the NSW Department of Lands, Lennox Head is a beautiful seaside village regularly sought out by surfers of ever skill level. The most famous spot is Lennox Point, which boasts a spectacular righthand break. Hang-gliders also seek out the spot as a launching point.
  4. California: California is considered the best choice of the relatively few options in North America. The biggest waves can be found in the winter, especially at Maverick’s, located a half-mill off-shore from the Pillar Point Harbor. Waves here hit an average of 25 feet and have been known to reach 80 feet. Other popular spots include Steamer Lane, Rincon, and Half Moon Bay.
  5. Bali, Indonesia: Popular surfer Rob Barber called Bali his “personal favorite” spot due to its reef breaks and warm water. The warmth can be attributed to the active volcano (Mount Agung) located in the archipelago. Bali is the most popular tourist destination in Indonesia.

Best Surf Songs

At the same time that surf culture started gaining popularity in Southern California, a new sound began emerging in the local music scene. Since most of the musicians were surfers, anyway, the name “surf music” was an obvious choice for the new genre. The first entries into the genre were dance instrumentals, with medium-to-fast tempos and an emphasis on electric guitar. The “wet” spring reverb feature, which started appearing on Fender amplifiers in 1961, was thought to mimic the sound of waves, and was also a consistent feature of surf music.

Guitarist Dick Dale is credited with starting things off with his 1961 hit “Let’s Go Trippin’,” which was later covered by The Beach Boys on their 1963 album Surfin’ USA. However, Dale would become even more popular with his 1962 rendition of the Greek song “Misirlou.”

Other instrumental groups who emerged in the early 1960s include The Bel-Airs, The Challengers, and Eddie & the Showmen. The Chantays released the top 10 hit “Pipeline” in 1963, and the genre-defining “Wipe Out” was released by the Surfaris in 1963. This song, known for its opening “Ha ha ha ha hawipe out!” and drummer Ron Wilson’s solos, swept the nation and has been covered numerous times since then including by Animal of the Muppets.

Of course, instrumental songs weren’t the only classic tunes in the genre. The other side of the coin was known as “vocal surf pop,” and is best represented by a little group known as the Beach Boys. These songs featured surfing, girls, and cars as popular subjects, and were based around classic rock and roll, doo wop, and vocal pop by groups like the Four Freshmen.

The Beach Boys first charted with “Surfin’” in 1962, but their later material left their classic surfing themes behind. Coincidentally, the Beach Boys were the only surf group to survive the British Invasion in 1964. However, there were plenty of acts that burst onto the scene for a short period beforehand, including Ronny & the Daytonas (“G.T.O.”), the Rip Chords (“Hey Little Cobra”), and Jan & Dean (whose song “Surf City” reached number 1, and was co-written by the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson).

Instrumental surf rock provided the background for many spy movies in the 1960s, including the James Bond series, and influenced later musicians, including Keith Moon (The Who), East Bay Ray (Dead Kennedys), and Joey Santiago (Pixies). Dick Dale once again came to prominence with the release of Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994), which featured his version of “Misirlou” in the opening credits.

Famous Faces of the Surfing Community

Surfing has become a contest between snarling hydrological monsters and the legendary men who tame them with style and grace.

Kelly Slater

Many consider Kelly Slater to be the greatest surfer who has ever lived and it would be hard to argue since Kelly has been crowned the Association of Surfing Professionals World Champion 10 times and has a history of tournament wins that is mind boggling. Kelly has a natural style that makes even the impossible look easy.

Laird Hamilton

Although Laird had always shunned competitive surfing his name stands out like a beacon on the sea as the very best big wave surfer on the planet. Laird once had a career as a male model, he was the innovator of tow-in surfing and has rode the heaviest wave ever ridden on the reef break at Teahupo, Tahiti.

Rob Machado

Rob Machado is known as Mr. Smoothy for his laid back style both on land and on the water. Machado has 12 career WCT victories and has been in the top ten eleven years in a row and was inducted into the Surfers Hall of Fame. Rob is perhaps the sports greatest ambassadors, travelling the world to promote surfing.