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August 14, 2010 12:46 am
Sam Bleakley, author of Surfing Brilliant Corners and a former British and European longboard champion, picks five lesser-known destinations that are just beginning to cause a stir in the surf scene.
A great adventure for beginners or longboarders is surfing the desert beaches of southern Oman. When the steady south-west winds – the khareef – blow in May, and again in September, they can generate easy-to-ride shoulder-high waves in the Arabian Sea. At Salahah there is a surf school beside the Crowne Plaza Hotel and you can also try sand boarding in the nearby crescent-shaped barchan dunes that seem to feather like waves as the wind whips across their crests. www.surfschooloman.com
Surfer’s Point, Barbados
For a generous slice of authentic Bajan beach culture, visit the south-east of Barbados – the island’s best-kept secret. Licked by warm winds, the indigo waves at Surfer’s Point are perfect for intermediate surfers and longboarders. After a day tuning your surfing in the waist-high waves, which break nearly all year from September to July, reward yourself with a plate of tangy barbecued seafood in the nearby fishing village of Oistins. Bajan surfing legend Zed Layson offers lessons and tours for all levels of ability, and a range of self-catering apartments. www.zedssurftravel.com
Surfing Homer’s “wine-dark sea” is an unexpected pleasure and something to be savoured. At the crossroads of Atlantic, African and European weather, the Sicilian coast offers 200 days of rideable surf per year and the Mistral wind supplies chest-high waves to Palermo between September and May. The sea’s colour dramatically deepens to purple during the short-lived swells, switching back to oily olive green as the wind relaxes. Surf in the Mediterranean? Another glass of wine-dark pleasure, please. www.seacilyriders.com
Jungmun, South Korea
South Korea is a place more associated with taekwondo than surf. But at Jungmun Beach on Jeju island, there are excellent head-high waves between August and October, which play out on to the black mica sand. There are no crowds as surfing does not yet feature on the established tourist menu, which caters largely for Korean honeymooners. Their presence means that there is a range of accommodation from luxury hotels such as the Hyatt, to cheap and charming minbak guesthouses in the nearby town of Sinsuseong. The local food is superb. www.jejueco.com
The quality of the waves unzipping across the bay at Robertsport single out Liberia as a top destination for the more adventurous surfer. Africa’s first female head of state, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has steered Liberia to long-term stability after a savage civil war. There is still a big UN and NGO presence, and for surfers working for those organisations, Liberia is a sought-after posting. The waves break between May and September against a backdrop of towering 200-year-old cotton silk trees. www.surfliberia.com
‘Surfing Brilliant Corners’ (Alison Hodge) was published in July. www.sambleakley.com
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