There’s no doubt that Australia, with its magnificent beaches and awesome waves, has the best surfing in the world, but where are some unlikely spots that you may not have considered?

Scotland

In the far north of Scotland, the waves are immense, compared by those in the know with waves in Hawaii. In past years O’Neill staged its Cold Water Classic at Thurso East. This year’s Scottish Surfing Championships will be held at the end of March and there’s the UK Pro Surf Championships in October.

Best time to go? Between September and May.

Scotland

Scotland. Photo by fiona.mcgowan

Guatemala

This Central American country lies in Mexico’s shadow as far as tourist numbers are concerned, but there’s an under-discovered 225km stretch of Pacific coastline against which the waves tower and crash.

Best time to go? The weather is good and the waves are decent between March and June. The waves are bigger and better during the rainy season (July-February) but you’ll find a few more (United States) tourists about.

Guatemala

Guatemala. Photo by surfinguatemala.com

Uruguay

The combination of geography (low hills and rolling plains) and weather (onshore winds that push the surf towards the West Coast of Africa) makes surfing in Uruguay a get-it-while-you-can experience. However, with more than 80 surfing spots dotted along nearly 200km of Atlantic Coast and good variety of waves it’s an under-discovered gem.

Best time to go? April to November, but it’ll be cold so make sure you’re prepared for it before you board your Uruguay flights.

Uruguay

Uruguay. Photo by Federico Racchi

Alaska

You won’t find many wimps if you go surfing in Alaska. Its frontier spririt puts off the lily-livered, but for those with a strong constitution, it offers an amazing experience. Yakutat is at the northern end of the Alaskan panhandle and offers consistent surf with heart-stoppingly beautiful views of the Saint Elias mountains.

Best time to go? Spring (April) and autumn (September) – the storms produce long, towering breakers.

Alaska

Alaska. Photo by Land Rover MENA

Ireland

Taking on the might of the Atlantic at Aileen’s, the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, is highly regarded, but we’re going north, to Donegal. Bundoran is the best known surfing spot, but around the Fanad Peninsula you’ll find unforgiving Atlantic breaks.

Best time to go? Between September and May, for those legendary swells.

Ireland

Ireland. Photo by Barbara Walsh

China

China’s coastline is one of the world’s longest and unfortunately, one of its most polluted. The best location to head to for surfing is currently the island of Hainan where the water is warm year round and is relatively clean.

Best time to go? In China, it’s the wind of typhoons that drive the surf potential. Typhoon season runs from approximately the start of summer through September, so October through March is the recommended surf season.

China

China. Photo by surfinghainan.com

Lebanon

In recent years Beirut has become synonymous with partying. Some of the best nightlife in the world can be had there. However, a lesser known fact is that it’s also a great unlikely location for surfing. While there might be all of a few hundred surfers in the entire country, the number of visitors heading there to surf is on the rise.

Best time to go? August and October through December. During the cold winter months, surfers should make sure to include warm wetsuits among their gear and head to either Jonas or Jiyeh beaches in the south or Chekka beach in the north.

Lebanon

Lebanon. Photo by surfinglebanon.com

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