Time to Ride: Top Surfing Destinations Around the World

Long-time wave rider Clive Scherer reveals four of his all-time favourite places to surf – and other thrills that await nearby.

Discover the best places to catch a wave near Four Seasons properties, as well as what to do when you're not in the water.

“Surfing is freedom,” says Clive Scherer, Tropicsurf Program Manager at Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita in Mexico. “Whenever you’re in the ocean, it’s totally refreshing – there’s no stress!” Scherer should know: He’s been surfing since he was 12, growing up near Jeffries Bay, South Africa. Now he and his wife travel the world, teaching surfing and other water sports at Four Seasons locales with Tropicsurf.

And yes, it’s possible for rookies to get an Endless Summer experience their first day, with the right teacher. “There’s nothing like seeing the stoke in students’ faces when they’re experiencing surfing for the first time,” he says. “It’s like surfing the first time again yourself.” Here, Scherer shares the particular surfing spots that still get his heart racing after all these years, from Costa Rica to the Maldives.

THE MALDIVES

Surf Style: Sheer Magic for All

“The Maldives is perfection in terms of clear, bathtub-warm water, and Four Seasons Resort Maldives Kuda Huraa is off the charts,” Scherer says. Tropicsurf does much of its instructor training here. “Most people don’t think of the Maldives as having waves, but they’re world-class on everyone’s level, from beginner to best. Plus, every August, Four Seasons invites the biggest-name surfers in the world to compete for a trophy here, and guests can be part of the whole thing.” The Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy is often called the World’s Most Luxurious Surfing Event: Where else can you end a day of wave-riding with a contemplative spa treatment on a private beach under the stars?

If you’re feeling inspired, take a cue from the most adventurous guests and book the Resort’s Seaplane Surfing Safari, during which you’ll travel via seaplane to the most idyllic – and crowd-free – surfing spots around, stopping whenever you’d like to have a sun-soaked rest aboard the snack-stocked plane.

Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa

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Post Session: Explore Unbelievable Reefs

If you want to spot the neon-hued fish you’ve only seen in screen savers, the Maldives is your dream destination. “Some days diving in the Maldives, visibility underwater is 80 feet,” or 24 metres, Scherer says, and snorkelling or diving the Aquarium or Twin Palms reefs is unmissable. “It’s some of the best in the world, and you can see manta rays, turtles – sometimes even whale sharks.” He recommends a stop at the Four Seasons Resort Maldives Kuda Huraa dive centre for gear, lessons and additional insider suggestions.

COSTA RICA

Surf Style: Cinematic

“There’s a break in Costa Rica called Witch’s Rock that’s world-famous from the Endless Summer movies,” Scherer says. “Surfers come from all over the world to surf that iconic place, in Santa Rosa National Park, with a massive rock in the middle.” Nearby, Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo has just emerged from its own fresh break: a USD 35 million renovation. First-time visitors should be aware, according to Scherer, that “it’s a Costa Rican tradition to have a pineapple on the beach after a surf, or a coconut.” Another option: the coconut crème caramel with candied orange served up at the Resort’s Añejo tapas bar.

Four Seasons Private Residences Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo

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Post Session: Learn to Fly

“The zip lines in Costa Rica are awesome,” Scherer says, “and they have the second-longest one in the world.” You might spot howler monkeys and tree frogs as you whizz through the rainforest canopy on the 90-minute Witch’s Rock Canopy Tour, with 11 cables (some up to 450 metres/1,500 feet long). The namesake company comes highly recommended by the Resort, and it’s just a 20-minute drive from your room.

BALI, INDONESIA

Surf Style: Epic

“Jimbaran Bay’s left-handed waves are some of the most famous on the planet,” Scherer says of the surf that rolls in adjacent to the all-villa Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay. “The waves are so popular that it can be a little crowded, but the instructors at Tropicsurf know how to get away from everyone. The waves are really good – a bit tougher than the Maldives, but it’s an epic ride.”

Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay

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Post Session: Join A Beach Barbecue

One of Scherer’s favourite things about Jimbaran Bay is that every night at dusk, most local restaurants host a barbecue right on the sand. “It’s massive; there’s so much delicious smoke in the air,” he recalls. “They start at sunset, and you sit at your table and choose from snapper, crayfish, all the catches of the day. It’s so warm even in the evenings, and the Indonesian sunsets over the ocean are breathtaking.” Try the Resort’s famous Seafood BBQ Night for the freshest lobster and crab of your life.

PUNTA MITA, MEXICO

Surf Style: Calm

“The waves are really friendly and easy here at Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, so it’s much more suited for families,” says Scherer, who currently teaches surfing courses at the Resort, among other activities. “The location is perfect because you can surf right here on the property, and for easy-going waves it can’t be beat.” Other perks for those travelling in a pack: The flight from the United States is painless, and the Resort features a lazy river adored by younger surfers. “Punta Mita is a place everyone wants to come back to. It’s Mexican hospitality at its best,” Scherer says. “And the tacos are amazing!”

Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita

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Post Session: Whale Watch (With Cocktails)

One of Scherer’s go-to activities as evening falls? Head to the Resort’s The Shack, on the white sands of Las Cuevas Beach, for a cocktail and watch whales jump and frolic with their newborn calves just a mile out at sea. “This bay, Baya de Banderas, is the second-biggest bay in the world, and sometimes when I arrive here in the morning I spot four whales within just a couple of minutes,” he says. Take a seat at the firepit and order the El Burro cocktail, The Shack’s spin on a Moscow Mule, made with tequila reposado – the kind deliciously aged in oak barrels.