When you think of a surfing holiday you immediately think of burning tropical sun, of warm water as clear as gin, of boardshorts and bikinis. Not everyone knows that you can go surfing in Munich in Germany, in Kolkata in West Bengal, in the deserts of Dubai or in in the city of Hangzhou, China. Don’t believe us? Check out these crazy surfing spots:
1. Pororoca, Amazon River
River surfing on the Pororoca courtesy of HB Blog
In the local Tupi language, Pororoca means ‘great roar,’ which is exactly what happens when the giant tidal bore races up the Amazon River, ripping up vegetation and sometimes destroying houses built alongside the great river. The water is dirty, there is a lot of vegetation like tree and plants in the water, as well as penile parasites that follow the trace of urine and swim up your urethra. On a lighter note, a Brazilian surfer named Picuruta Salazer was filmed riding a Pororoca wave for 43 minutes. It was also used in an ad for our local Investec Bank http://za.adforum.com/agency/6654351/creative-work/34485698/pororoca/investec
2. The Eisbach River, Munich
Tony Hawk in action river surfing courtesy of Europalust
Just past the Haus der Kunts art museum (great name), a standing wave rears up in the Eisbach River, forming a fun but cold wave for surf starved locals to get their thrills. It’s shallow and dangerous and for experienced surfers only, but it gets crowded and there are sometimes surfers queuing up to have a go. There is even localism, where local surfers have biffed it out with kayakers on certain crowded days, which makes for great entertainment. The Eisbach can be surfed year round, but there are rocks as well as concrete structures that you do not want your head to connect with.
3. Wadi Adventures, Dubai
Craig Jarvis surfing at Wadi Adventures
My wife and I were lucky enough to visit Wadi Adventures a little while ago. It’s a two-hour drive from Dubai straight into the desert and Al Ain that brings you to a very unique oasis, with fun three-foot waves breaking over a concrete beach. That concrete gets pretty warm though, with temperatures sometimes reaching the mid-40’s.
To catch a wave you need to sit quite near to the concrete wall. The wave comes at you from the far side of the pool, rebounds off the wall where you are waiting, and it comes at you really quickly. You paddle hard for it, and as you feel it grabbing, you paddle harder and spring to your feet quickly or run the risk of the wave leaving you behind as it continues on to its way to the concrete beach.
It’s expensive as well. Two hours in a taxi there at AED300 (R800) and two hours back for the same price, two of us for an hour in the water along with boards and a locker cost us AED350 (R942) and some lunch and coffees put us back about R250. Total spent on the mission was R2792.00. My wife and I had 5 waves each. That’s R279.20 per wave. Which could seem a bit daft. To a non-surfer.
Watch top female professional surfer Sally Fitzgibbons surfing brilliantly in Dubai.
4. Hooghly River, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Surfing the river Hooghly at Streamer
Known as The Holy Wave, the Hooghly river bore is the latest discovery, and what a bizarre spectacle it is. It needs a full moon, and the resultant extreme tides make an incoming wave as a result of the high tide meeting the current. It’s crazy. Imagine being amidst the pollution, traffic congestion and extreme poverty that is Kolkata, and seeing a 6-foot set barreling down the river.
5. Secret Spot, Angola
Surfing in Angola courtesy of Gary Conley at Bugsonmyboard
A secret surf spot, with co-ordinates known by a select few who have been sworn to secrecy, is quite possibly the best wave on the planet. That is exists on the Angolan coastline makes one wonder how many more such spots exist on the west coast of Africa. The wave runs down a sand-bottom point for what seems like kilometers, and the lucky surfers get up to four tube rides on a single wave. It’s a long four-by-four drive to get there, with local guides imperative to get you through the rough terrain, and even then you don’t know if the wind, swell, tide and sand are going to align perfectly or if it might be a massive waste of time and effort. These boys thought it was well worth it.
6. The Wave Garden, Northern Spain
Wave Garden Northern Spain at Vimeo
The longest and best manmade wave, the Wave Garden situated on a field somewhere in Northern Spain can make waves of 1,2 meters tall that travel for 220 meters. The Wave Garden is the invention that is set to revolutionize the sport of surfing the world over, with plans to build up to 8 of them in various land-locked locations well under way. On waves as perfect and precise as those made in the Wave Garden a surfer from inland could easily become extremely proficient in the sport without ever going to the sea. There are even possibilities of smaller versions being made, possibly even for your garden. Wouldn’t that make you the envy of your chums? Backyard wave pools! (seriously).
7. Quintang River, Hangzhou, China
Surfing the Silver Dragon courtesy of Daily Surf Videos
Known as The Silver Dragon, the river wave on the Quintang River is one of the most powerful and destructive in the world, and the water isn’t too clean either. The wave itself is big and clean and dramatic, with tall buildings forming the backdrop, boats in the river, and surfing under a bridge as all part of the fun. So much fun in fact, that in 2013 Red Bull held their first edition of a their annual specialty surf contest here called the Quintang Shoot Out.
8. Hole In The Wall, Transkei
Image of Hole-in-the-wall courtesy of Coffeebay Tours
Hole In The Wall is a beautiful and well-known tourist spot in the Transkei, and on certain condition you can surf straight through the hole. More of a novelty wave than others; many surfers from around the world make the pilgrimage to surf a wave through the hole in the wall and record it for posterity. Surfing starts at about 7 mins.
Let us know about your crazy surfing spot in the comments below.