May is a great month to surf whether you’re an experienced surfer or a grommet.
The water is starting to warm, the weather is getting better by the day, and as a bonus – the water isn’t filled with tourists as it’s not summer just yet.
Here are the 10 best places to surf in May across the globe that are determined by weather, surf forecasts, temperatures, and the surfer’s ability.
Hopefully, this list will help you find an ideal vacation spot for your surfing trip in May!
1. Lombok, Indonesia
Lombok is an Indonesian island next to Bali that is an ideal island for surfers with a range of abilities. It’s often preferred by surfers to Bali as there are fewer crowds and it offers the same water temperament.
The reason this island is so popular for surfing is because of the high swell consistency, which means that the water is mostly completely predictable.
This is great for surfers who don’t want to waste their time reading currents and gauging swells, as well as beginners who are unsure of how the ocean works.
The average wave size is 7 feet and the water temperature is generally the same as the air temperature, averaging at around 82 °F.
Ekas is considered the best beach for beginner surfers, while Desert Point is the best for experienced surfers.
2. Baja California, México
A coastal state in the northwest of México, Baja California is one of the best places to surf in May.
With an abundance of beaches across the state, ranging from unexplored coastal caves to tall point breaks, there’s something for everyone of every skill level.
Due to the popularity of this area year-round, this can be a fairly busy surfing spot, even in May. It mostly depends on when people are most likely to go on their vacation.
However, as spring breaks are usually finished by May, you might get lucky with some quieter beaches.
The waves at Baja California range at around 5-7 feet tall and the swell consistency is near-perfect due to the calm and warming weather.
The water and air temperatures are usually the same, with the average temperature for both being 80 °F.
3. Newquay, United Kingdom
The UK isn’t the first country that springs to mind when you’re thinking about a surfing vacation. However, Newquay in the southwest county of Cornwall is one of the best surfing locations in the whole of Europe.
These waters aren’t for the faint of heart during rough weather. When the waters are calm (which begins to happen towards the end of May when the warm weather starts to arrive), beginners can safely learn and practice here.
However, this is probably the best area for experienced surfers.
As you would expect from England, the water is going to be colder than the air.
Make sure to wear a wetsuit and stick to the lifeguard’s advice when it comes to avoiding currents, as May is the time when the waters are just starting to become more predictable!
4. Bondi Beach, Australia
There’s never a bad time to go surfing at Bondi Beach. World-famous for its beautiful blue waters and exciting blends of cultures (as well as the popular television show Bondi Rescue), there’s something for everyone here.
The water is mostly predictable at Bondi Beach, with the currents residing in the same places and the swell being fairly consistent.
May is actually in the fall months in Australia, so the water is going to be slightly cooler but much quieter than in December or January.
The standout feature of Bondi Beach is the local surfers. They are keen to get people involved regardless of skill level, plus there is an abundance of surf clubs and rentals available.
You’ve just gotta stay clear of the rocks at the North and South end of the beach, and if you’re lucky, you might spot a shark.
5. Andaman Islands, India
Like the United Kingdom, India isn’t the first place you’d think of when it comes to surfing in May. However, located in the Bay of Bengal resides the underrated Andaman Islands.
During most of the year, the waters here are flat and calm. Between March and May, however, the waters come alive, and the islands become the most ideal surfing place.
This is the best place to surf for intermediate and experienced surfers. This is because the water can be fairly unpredictable, and the swell consistency is only said to be 70%.
However, as the beaches on these islands are so quiet, you’re sure to have all the space you need to surf. You might even find unexplored surfing spots!
6. Sagres, Portugal
Portugal might be the most underrated country for surfing. It is in the ideal location on the continent to provide a variety of beach types as it misses out on harsh Westerly winds – though that doesn’t mean beaches here aren’t windy enough for surfers.
Sagres is one of the best beaches for relaxed surfing for a variety of skill levels.
Sometimes, the waves might get a bit bigger than usual, but this only means you have more space in the water from those who are intimidated by the waves.
Plus, Portugal means that the water will be only slightly cooler than the air temperature, so there’s no better way to cool off in May as the temperatures begin to rise.
Sagres is also child-friendly and offers a large beach for diving, snorkeling, and fishing.
7. Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Santa Teresa is a beach town in Puntarenas Province in Costa Rica, and one of the safest places for any skilled surfer to surf. This is especially the case for surfing in May because it means there are fewer crowds in the water.
Santa Teresa is all about laid-back surfing. The waves can reach heights of 5 feet, and the waters are almost completely consistent with the swell predictions.
Plus, the water and air temperatures are the same on average in May at 84°F.
The best thing about Santa Teresa is that it isn’t the typical vacation destination, so you can mingle with the locals and explore the real culture of small towns in Costa Rica without feeling like a tourist.
The only problem is that it’s a bit of a struggle to get to – taking around 6-7 hours to get two buses and a ferry from San Jose.
8. North Malé Atoll, Maldives
The Maldives are mostly known for their calm and clear waters, but the month of May is when the waters start to come alive for surfing. For the best chance of the best waves, we recommend the North Malé Atoll for a laid-back version of Indonesian beaches.
The waters in the North Malé Atoll are slightly more mellow than in Indonesia as the islands are located in a different part of the Indian ocean.
From April to October, the swell begins to pick up, which is when tourism thrives.
May is a great month to explore the Maldives, as although the Maldives is popular year-round, at least you know that most people will be busy working or in school to take a vacation in May.
Our top tip is to avoid beaches that have excursion boats on them because this means the waters will be busy with surf schoolers.
9. Muizenberg, South Africa
Muizenberg is another relaxed surfing area residing in the Western Cape, South Africa. May is the ideal time to go here, as the waters are beginning to warm and the excitement is starting to brew.
The swells become most consistent when summer starts to hit Cape Town in May. The water is likely to be several degrees warmer than the air temperature, and the waves reach an average height of 8 feet.
As May is a fairly quiet month for tourism as most vacation breaks don’t occur here, you’re likely to find that the water is fairly quiet compared to summer.
Muizenberg is potentially the main surfing spot in Cape Town due to the popular surfing community in the area.
This means you can properly mingle with the locals, who can show you the best surfing spots.
10. Piha, New Zealand
An hour from Auckland is one of the most popular surfing destinations in New Zealand, Piha. It’s popular for good reasons – the quality of the waves is close to perfection, the natural beauty and landscaping are impeccable, and the swell consistency is mostly predictable.
While Piha is going to be busiest in December and January (their summer months) and July and August (our summer months), May is the ideal time to go surfing.
The summer months have slowed down enough for you to enjoy the warm water without battling through crowds of tourists.
Piha offers a vast beach break with waves that can amount to 8 feet tall if you’re lucky, so it’s an ideal place for any surfer of any skill level.
Plus, Piha is a popular location for local Kiwis, so it’s a great place to mingle with the local culture.