World's most surprising surf spots

Published August 05, 2013

| TheActiveTimes

World's most surprising surf spots

World's most surprising surf spots

13 surfing destinations you didn't know existed.

Dubai, U.A.E.

While it’s no stretch to imagine surfers paddling out into the Persian Gulf (and they do), this ritzy Arab Emirate also sports one of the world’s most advanced wave pools—and it's in the middle of the desert, to boot. Wadi Adventure, which also has a whitewater kayaking course, has adjustable waves that reach up to 10 feet high. They’re good enough that pro surfer Sally Fitzgibbons (pictured) has used them to perfect her aerials.

The Great Lakes

Surfing isn’t just a saltwater sport, or a warm-weather one either. The “third coast” can be surfed all year, but prime time is winter: The same wind that forebodes brutal winter storms on Lakes Michigan and Superior also creates waves up to 30 feet high. Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in particular, became something of a surfing capital by hosting the Dairyland Surf Classic (1988-2012). The organizers claim the event was the largest gathering of freshwater surfers in the world. Unfortunately, it was discontinued in 2013.

Kovalam, India

Although India has 4,700 miles of coastline, the country’s fledgling surf culture is only now finding its legs. Kovalam Surf Club, India’s first organized surfing group headquartered in the coastal region of Kerala, was founded in 2005 by an NGO as a way to entice poor children to stay in school. The club’s success, along with the construction of an artificial reef 150 meters off of Lighthouse Beach, has made this city India’s surf central. The town hosted the country’s first ever surf competition, the Spice Coast Open, in May.

The Severn River, England

The longest river in the U.K. is also home to a rare natural phenomenon. It’s one of only 60 or so estuaries in the world that has a tidal bore—a series of waves produced by high tide rapidly funneling up a river’s mouth. These waves reach over six feet tall in the spring and can travel for miles upstream, carrying surfers with them. A local surfing culture has sprung up around the river, including the likes of unofficial world-record holder Steve King, who once reportedly rode a Severn wave for 7.6 miles through the English countryside.

Lake Tahoe

The Sierra Nevadas aren’t just for skiing. A growing number of adventure junkies have recognized the potential for surfing Tahoe’s chilly, crystal clear waters when fall storms blow in. “To be able to surf and ski in the same day in Tahoe, as we've been able to do on a handful of days this fall, is something really special,” one surfer told ESPN.

Iceland

This fiery Arctic island may seem like the last place you’d want to catch some waves, but it has a couple major advantages. If you don’t mind donning some thick neoprene and braving near-freezing temperatures, you’ll have your pick of uncrowded breaks along the rugged shore of Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula, just southwest of Reykjavik. And, because the peninsula is so exposed to the North Atlantic, it gets swell from all directions all year long, according to Transworld Surf magazine. Still, you might want to wait for those endless summer days.

See all 13 surf spots at The Active Times

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