Photographer: Gabe L'Heureux/Getty Images

These Amazing Surfing Spots Are Worth the Journey

Every surfer's dream is to find the "perfect wave," steeply sloped and powerful, breaking gradually along its length as it barrels toward the shore. That quest has lured everyone from beach bums to CEOs, united by a spirit of adventure. If you're up for that thrill, here are some of the best surfing spots on the planet, where you can try to find—and conquer—that perfect wave.

  1. Pipeline, Oahu, Hawaii, U.S.

    Pipeline, Oahu, Hawaii, U.S.

    Notorious for huge waves which break above a reef in shallow water, the Banzai Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore hosts several top surfing competitions and is only for experienced surfers. Even the world's best can have wipeouts that land them in hospital, or worse.

    Photographer: Julie Thurston/Getty Images

  2. Surfers Point, Margaret River, Australia

    Surfers Point, Margaret River, Australia

    Surfers Point is home to the Margaret River Pro, which started in 1985. After riding the waves, board riders can enjoy a drop of another kind—it's one of the world's premier wine regions.

    Photographer: Lynn Gail/Lonely Planet Images via Getty Images

  3. Cloudbreak, Tavarua Island, Fiji

    Cloudbreak, Tavarua Island, Fiji

    Surrounded by coral reefs, about all you can do on the small, heart-shaped island of Tavarua is surf, along with a variety of other sea sports. There are seven main surfing breaks, but Cloudbreak is the most famous.

    Photographer: Pierre Tostee/Getty Images

  4. Supertubos, Peniche, Portugal

    Supertubos, Peniche, Portugal

    Known for its long beaches and home to the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, Peniche's powerful tubes have earned it the nickname the "European Pipeline." The city is one of the largest traditional fishing ports in Portugal, and before hitting the surf, a walk through its historic center is a must.

    Photographer: Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP via Getty Images

  5. Outside Bells, Bells Beach, Australia

    Outside Bells, Bells Beach, Australia

    Home to one of the world's longest-running surfing competition, first held in 1961. Bells, located southwest of Melbourne, is known globally as one of the best breaks in the state of Victoria.

    Photographer: The Age/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

  6. Prainha, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Prainha, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    A paradise for surfers a half hour away from Rio's more heavily-touristed beaches, Prainha lies hidden in an undeveloped, forested cove. There are only a few kiosks carrying surf accessories and basic food, and one restaurant.

    Photographer: Paula Marina/Getty Images

  7. SuperTubes, Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa

    SuperTubes, Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa

    Known as a hippy hangout in the late 1960s and early 70s, Jeffrey's Bay is a beauty. But beware: in 2015 professional surfer Mick Fanning came face-to-face with a great white shark during the J-Bay Open. He miraculously emerged unscathed.

    Photographer: John Seaton Callahan/Getty Images

  8. Zippers Beach, San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

    Zippers Beach, San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

    Zippers offers a nice long ride—if you're willing to wait your turn. The summer months bring more storms, which creates great surf, but that's when you'll see the most crowds.

    Photographer: Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

  9. Lower Trestles, San Diego, California

    Lower Trestles, San Diego, California

    A collection of surfing spots in San Diego County, Trestles was named after a wooden trestle bridge that surfers walked under to reach the waves (the bridge has since been removed). Lower Trestles offers the most consistent waves and the stretch is perfect for beginners to experts.

    Photographer: Donald Miralle/Getty Images

  10. Occy's Left, Nihiwatu, Sumba, Indonesia

    Occy's Left, Nihiwatu, Sumba, Indonesia

    This small and exclusive resort on a remote island in eastern Indonesia consistently offers one of the world's most perfect waves on its doorstep. And with the access to the famous left-hander limited to just 10 boards at an addition cost of $100 a day, you can avoid the crowd.

    Photographer: Callaghan Walsh/Getty Images

  11. Secret Spot

    Secret Spot

    The search for the ultimate surfing destination is endless. There are many locations that have yet to be discovered. It might take an extra boat ride or hike through a remote region to find an uncharted paradise. Who knows, there might be one on your doorstep.

    Photographer: Matt Roberts/Getty Images