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Island Time: The Best Surf Spots
The ocean is full of beauty and wonder – the crashing waves, the rise and fall of the tides, and the abundance of wildlife. One of the best ways to witness this majestic part of our planet is by surfboard. Surfing connects us with the planet and causes us to have a greater appreciation for the world around us. From Florida to California to Hawaii and Australia, there are plenty of opportunities to experience the wonder of the ocean. Sometimes swells are small, while others are large, and water can range from crystal clear to blue, green, and gray. No matter where you are in the world, you are bound to find some incredible surf at your local beach. However, you’ll probably want to head to an island to catch some of the best waves around. Here we bring you the top 10 best islands for surfing. But, we’re warning you: After seeing the list, you’ll get that travel itch. So, make sure your passport is ready and your board is waxed … we’re going island hopping! Bali, India Easily considered the best surfing island on earth, Bali has everything to create a surfer’s paradise. Powerful and consistent waves - check. Exciting nightlife - check. Surfers have been flocking to the island to surf in the Indian Ocean waters since the 70s. Along with the killer surf, Bali offers its visitors beautiful scenery, Hindu culture, and the charm of the locals. Definitely a must-see. Thanburudhoo, Maldives Just a small piece of land located in the Indian Ocean, uninhabited Thanburudhoo offers quality waves. It was once exclusively Tony Hinde-Hussein and friends’ surfing retreat, and then later became a military firing range, which, needless to say, ended surfing on this island for the time being. Now, after the end of the ban on surfing and end of flying bullets, the island is a favorite among local surf charter boats. Thanburudhoo, the last unpopulated islands of North Malé, may soon become a “boutique surfing resort” with access to the best waves in the Maldives. Oahu, Hawaii This island should come as no surprise, as it has been a popular surfing destination for decades now. It’s safe to say that most aspects of modern surfing have been influenced by the events that have taken place on the island, starting with the images of the Waikiki beach boys of the 30s. Surfers flock to the North Shore of Oahu every winter to take their place amongst the world’s best surfers. This is highlighted during the Triple Crown of Surfing, three big-wave events that take place during five weeks of competitions and performances. Siargao, Philippines As of late, Siargao has become one of the most popular surfing destinations in the Far East. The island has been on every travel surfer’s radar since 1992 when Cloud 9 was first introduced. Even with issues of overcrowding, the island is still a favorite among Filipino and foreign surfers alike. Barbados Barbados, a former British Colony, is placed perfectly in the Atlantic Ocean. There are few flat days, and the occasional in-season hurricane swell makes the island an ideal location for surfers to flock to. Barbados is small in size, making it easily accessible, and getting to and from the different surf spots is a breeze. With accommodation choices ranging from mansions to one-bedroom apartments, there are options for every surfer’s traveling budget. Santa Catarina, Brazil Far from hectic Rio and Sao Paulo, Santa Catarina strikes the perfect combination of quality waves and a European ambiance. The island is located in Southern Brazil and is insanely popular among the local Brazilian, Argentine, and Uruguayan surfers. The best season for killer waves (over 40 surfable waves in some areas) is March-April and September-October. Oh, and don’t worry – you’ll feel safe and sound. The island is considered one of the safest urban cities in Brazil, not to mention it isn’t short of delicious restaurants and energetic nightlife to wrap up a long day of surfing. North Island, New Zealand With friendly locals, easy-to-navigate roads, and lots of waves, it’s no wonder that North Island made our list. Both the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea offer a haven from overcrowded surf territory among a backdrop of picturesque green hills. And, due to the relaxed lifestyle, many compare North Island’s vibe to that of California’s surf scene of the 1950s. Taiwan, China China may not be the first destination that comes to mind when you think of great surf spots, but the island of Taiwan is a growing favorite among surf enthusiasts. Kenting, in the south of the island, is the capital of Taiwanese surfing. The town is filled with plenty of restaurants, hotels, and, of course, surf shops. To catch the best waves, you’ll want to visit the island during July to October, but, be warned of typhoon season. Since typhoons aren’t completely predictable, if you visit during this time you’ll have to be up for anything. Jeju, South Korea A volcanic island, Jeju is the Hawaii of South Korea. More than 1 million people visit the island each year, but it wasn’t deemed a surf destination until recently when local Korean surfers discovered it. When a typhoon moves north from Taiwan into the East Sea, it causes bigger swells on both sides of the island. With such great waves and few surfers to ride them, who wouldn’t want to make the trip? Reunion, France While most people might think of Paris when traveling to France, to surfers the real French paradise is found on the tropical island of Reunion. The waves are great, especially in the southern hemisphere’s winter season from April to October, but it is worth noting that there are big sharks in the area during this time. This doesn’t stop local and visiting surfers, but they do proceed with caution and utilize good judgment.
Surfing Builds Character
Whether you’re surfing on the North Shore of Oahu or skimboarding ankle biters, any experienced surfer can tell you that surfing isn’t a sport that comes with an easy benchmark for success. Put into practice first by high-born Polynesians, the surfing tradition has evolved as the centuries have, calling on generations of participants to learn the patience that comes with waiting for just the right wave and the select combination of skill and intuition.. The fundamental truth of surfing is this: Unlike politics and investment banking, you’re unlikely to reach those lofty peaks with only yourself in mind. Engaging with the Sea The best surfers learn early that, with respect for the wave comes respect for the ocean – at least in part because the sport itself is entirely contingent on nature's cooperation. If the waters are choked with trash, if the wind isn't moving, if any number of interdependent factors fail to come together at the right moment, no amount of skill on the board can change the outcome. Though every surfer hopes for the chance to snag a snapshot moment on a high wave, the chance means waiting – sometimes for hours or even days – and accepting no certainty of reward at the end. Going Green With the ocean currently under threat from an increasing litany of issues directly relating to change, including rising seas and pollution, surfers have begun to come together with astonishing political power. Several groups have called for cleaner beaches and a stronger movement to halt sea level rise – which continues to contribute to erosion in a growing number of communities, whose members are even now watching the stunning landscapes that once put them on the map slip irretrievably away. One such community is the Save Trestles Campaign, which took action against plans to construct a road that would have endangered San Mateo Creek – a popular surfing spot and thriving habitat for marine animals. Other groups have singlehandedly, and often successfully, tackled environmentally destructive development plans and pollution, saving beaches and wild animals from habitat loss. Staying Safe Of course, no surfer enters the water without the deeply held understanding that any wrong move can mean injury and even death – for themselves and bystanders. Surprisingly, attacks by marine animals are among the most common causes of injury, followed by wipe-outs on sand or rocky outcroppings. A surfer who's miscalculated the energy and breadth of a wave can also easily be swept underneath, held down by a surging current, or knocked unconscious by a falling surfboard, all of which can lead to drowning or serious injury. In the communal environment inherent to beach life, it’s nearly impossible, and always conspicuous, to surf without the safety of others in mind. Established beach etiquette, though still largely unspoken, arose as American surf culture did in the 1960s, as popular beaches became increasingly crowded and chaotic. The rules, though they vary by location and culture, are strictly enforced by most beach-goers, and those eager to cut corners for a shot at glory will often find themselves outnumbered. Surfers also use shorthand to define the right of way in the water, and a line order that everyone is expected to follow while paddling out. The system is simple, but it works, ensuring that everyone in the water understands where to expect other surfers to appear and how to avoid them when necessary. Fewer injuries are typically reported at beaches with a cohesive system of rules, and, as a community, surfers have proven more than willing to embrace them. Down to Mindset Balancing over hundreds of feet of crashing water takes more than an afternoon of practice to master, which is largely why so many experienced surfers paddle out at nearly every available moment. Persistence is the key to mastery. And persistence means falling hundreds, sometimes thousands of times, often in front of spectators, and running the gantlet of emotions that go hand in hand with continuous failure. And still, the best of the best are those still willing to get up, dust themselves off, and paddle right back out for another try. Like so many other difficult tasks in life, it usually is not enough to suffer a public fall only once. With everything in the water in constant flux, nailing a perfect run means cultivating the ability to think far past the moment, without ever letting outside distractions in. As new contingencies evolve by the moment, even pitch-perfect accuracy and positioning isn't always enough, and, in many cases, success comes down to hard-won practice, and the ability to suffer with grace the consequences of wrong actions. The Art of Technique Surfing techniques, from the standard paddle to the more visually stunning front side snap, are nearly as individual as surfers themselves are. Those who stick with the sport often choose to brand themselves with signature moves, such as Australian champion Tyler Wright—who famously made the Big Frontside Kick her own. It's a recognized mark of a professional, to be able to bring a spark of creative flair to a sport that requires so much intensive focus. Generations of surfers – both pro and those at an amateur level – have upped the ante for newcomers by imbuing the sport with a healthy sense of creative, as well as physical, competition. Final Thoughts In any sport with a diverse range of participants, equipment selection often comes down to skill and often requires a helping hand from a professional in the know. Surfing is a great sport. Not only is it fun and a great way to remain in shape, but it can also help build character. Respect for nature and yourself remains an essential element of surfer culture.
Bathing Suit Season: Don’t Fear It Any Longer
The summertime is synonymous with fun for many people. The longer hours of daylight and warmer temperatures allow everyone to get outdoors and have some fun in the sun. The beach, lake, and pool are all hot spots that people flock to during this hot season. However, there is one aspect of summer that many despise – swimsuit season. After a long winter of covering up and holiday eating, it can be frightening to walk down the beach with your head held high in a bikini. Even the task of finding the right bathing suit can seem impossible. Most women loathe an afternoon spent trying on suit after suit under the bright lights in a dressing room. However, you can’t exactly wear your clothes to the beach. So, what’s a girl to do? You can’t avoid swimsuit season, but there are ways to make it a little better. Believe it or not, you can feel carefree and confident in your swimsuit. The key to beach confidence is wearing a bathing suit that you feel good in. One that complements your frame and body type. A good bathing suit should not only fit, but draw the eye to areas you want to highlight and away from areas you don’t. The Secret Have you ever seen other bikini-clad girls splashing in the ocean or running down the beach confidently and wondered how do they do it? Meanwhile, you’re busy pulling on and adjusting your bathing suit, and wishing you could cover up. If you don’t feel too hot in your swimsuit, it makes it even harder to emerge from under the umbrella, let alone strut your stuff down the beach. Everyone should love the bathing suit they wear. We want everyone to feel confident and have fun on the water. That’s why we’re going to let you in on a little secret. It’s all in the fit. When you go to try on swimsuits, if you know what styles and cuts to look for, along with selecting one that fits you correctly, you’ll walk away with a suit that you feel good in. If you’re stressing about the impending swimsuit season, don’t worry! Below, we have included all the different bathing suit styles that complement each body type. Body Types First, you need a crash course in body types. If you are unsure of what body type you may be, then there’s a good chance you’ve been wearing the wrong bathing suits – which might explain while you haven’t felt fully confident. Below is a guide to the most common body types for women. Hourglass As the name insinuates, you are shaped like an hourglass. This means you have curvy hips and a larger bust. Your waist is cinched, meaning it is drastically smaller than your hips and bust.  Pear Shaped Pear shaped women are wider on the bottom than they are up top. Their upper bodies are usually slender with a smaller bust. They have great hips, which are the widest part of the body. Petite Petite women are small all over. Short in height and weight, these ladies likely have a smaller bust and hips.  Full Figured Full figured gals have an all-over curvy or heavy figure. With larger bust and hips, however, measurements aren’t as drastic as hourglass figures. Straight Up and Down Ladies who are described as straight up and down have very few curves, and their hip-bust-waist measurements are similar. Athletic Women with athletic figures have broader shoulders with narrower hips and naturally muscular or toned legs. Apple Women with apple figures resemble the rounded fruit, with thinner legs and arms, but a fuller torso.   The Style and Cut for You Now that you have your body type figured out, find out the style or cut that’s perfect for you!  Triangle top Triangle tops have cups that are – you guessed it – shaped in a triangle with string ties. They work best for those with a smaller bust, as they don’t give any added support. They also accentuate broad shoulders, toned arms, and smaller upper bodies. Bandeau tops Since these tops have no straps, ladies with a bigger bust should stay away, as they give no extra support. Also, those with an apple shape should steer clear, as the straight across cut will only bring more attention to broad shoulders and round belly. Underwire and halter tops Women who need more support should turn to molded cups and underwires. Halters are another great look that gives you an added lift. Molded cups Those with a smaller chest might like molded cups as they create a fuller bust line. Hipster bottoms These bottoms are shaped like boy shorts or briefs and sit at the hip. They are perfect for those who want full coverage on their lower half. Another option is the currently popular high waist bottom. Fuller bottoms tend to look the best on pear and athletic-shaped women. Petite women should stay away from them as they might overwhelm their frame. String bottoms String bottoms complement triangle tops and have an adjustable tie at each hip. They have medium coverage with little support. They tend to look better on athletic, straight up and down, and petite figures. Brazilian cuts Brazilian cuts are not for the faint of heart! They have very minimal covering and are perfect for ladies who want to show off their backside. While they look good on most bodies, athletic, hourglass, and petite figures usually gravitate toward this style to show off their great lower halves. Current Trends for Everyone With that being said, there are several bathing suit trends that look great on everyone.  One-piece styles are no longer reserved for older women. One-pieces have made a comeback. Many have taken inspiration from suits of the past with the high leg and deep back from the 80s and 90s. Mesh is also a biggie this season. You can find just about any type of suit with mesh detailing – high waist bottoms, one-pieces, triangle tops, etc. – so try one out! They look great on the beach, and the extra detail makes a solid-colored suit pop. Lastly, no matter what your body type or the suit you choose, mixing and matching will never go out of style. So, have fun and mix two of your favorite colors together for a head-turning look.  Also, keep in mind that cutouts, ruffles, and patterns are always on trend. Just because you’re in a bathing suit, it doesn’t mean you have to play it safe with solids (unless you want to.)