The Endless Summer is a cult surfer film/documentary dating back to 1966; it was financed in full to the tune of $50,000 by movie idol Steve McQueen. It was never a blockbuster but its seemingly endless long-term appeal means that it has raked in an incredible $35 million at the box office and even more in DVD and other sales.
Perhaps the incredible success of The Endless Summer is that it is more than a film, it’s a concept, a sort of hippy ideal, and an amazingly enjoyable and fulfilling way of life for a chosen few.
The idea behind the film is pretty simple; two surfing fanatics who live in California follow the summer around the world and surf the world’s truly great destinations as they enjoy the ultimate adventure getaway. Below is a list, albeit incomplete, of some of the world’s most exciting Endless Summer destinations.
When people think of West Coast America surfing they automatically think of California. But in reality, perhaps the best surfing on this coast is actually to the north in Canada. Of course, being in Canada the weather is not as kind as it is to the south, but this doesn’t deter dedicated surfers. You can visit great surf spots at Clayoquot Sound any time of the year and many brave souls even take on the winter weather. However, July and August bring with them much more comfortable surfing conditions.
Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii
This surfing orientated town has a wide variety of very different areas for very different types of surfing. Beginners usually start at Hanalei Pier but there are many other spots where the waves are strictly for the experienced. Hanalei is also a town that seems to embrace and thrive on its surf culture. The best time to visit is between October and March.
Ireland is certainly not the first country that springs to mind when we think of surfing. It is true that in general, the year-round weather is poor and the water is cold. However die-hard surf enthusiasts ignore the weather and make their way to “Europe’s cold-water Indonesia” to experience the incredible swells that dominate this coast. The period from September to November is when the waves are at their best and even the sea is not prohibitively cold.
This is a destination pretty much reserved for serious adventure surfers only, as it is set on a rugged coastline that offers incredible waves and stunning views. Popular with the original surfing crowd since the 1960s, it is now mostly the home of Spanish and French surf fanatics. This is a destination that offers year-round sunshine and great waves.
Often overlooked in the surfing calendar, Shonan offers everything that Tahiti can offer in terms of truly awe-inspiring reef breaks that just keep on coming. Although it is now also the spiritual home of Japanese surfing enthusiasts it is also a genuine Japanese fishing village. Massive swells from offshore typhoons are the main attraction for surfers between August and October.
This is the epitome of what people think of when they imagine the full on California-Beach Boys surf scene. This is one of the homes of the true West Coast counter culture revolution that spilled over from surfing into other activities such as skateboarders and roller skaters. These days, it is a family-friendly destination which still retains its high-quality waves: especially during the autumn months when the winds combine from north and south to produce epic waves.
This is a fantastic destination for people who like to surf, holiday, and party all night. Brazil has recently taken surfing into its heart and now it has become a major sport and ‘Floripa’, its spiritual home. There are no less than 42 separate beaches, each with its own particular quirks that will challenge every level of surfer. November to February is summer in Brazil and is the most popular time to visit this area.
Byron Bay, Australia
If there is another destination besides California which springs to mind when we think of surfing, it is Australia. Byron Bay is one of several very high-quality surfing destinations in a country with enough great surfing spots to rival any other on the planet. The Pass is a world-famous wave with an incredible point break. From June until September the weather and the swell combine to make perfect surfing conditions.
Muizenberg, South Africa
This is the town with a worldwide reputation for possessing the best beach in the world to learn to surf. It is also popular with more experienced surfers because of its near constant and consistent swells that can challenge experienced surfers and newcomers alike. Like the rest of South Africa’s popular surf spots it receives good weather and good swells all year round.
San Sebastián, Spain
When most people think of Spain they think of the Mediterranean and its near total lack of summer waves. But this was not a case on the northeast coast where waves can be as tricky as any of the more exotic destinations on this list. Combine this with one of the most beautiful bays in the world, as well as the famous Basque hospitality, and from June to November you have a very interesting surfing destination.
Whatever your surfing destination and for however long, it is worth bearing in mind that accidents and unforeseen circumstances can arise. It is a great idea to make sure that you are covered by adequate insurance. You might find that an adventure travel policy from Columbus Direct might give you the peace of mind to chase that once-in-a-lifetime wave to ride.
With these great surfing destinations available all over the world, it is certainly easy to fulfil the notion of the endless surfing summer just as it was portrayed back in the 60s when Steve McQueen brought it to life on the silver screen.