The Five Best North Shore Alternatives

When the mecca isn't calling

It’s the end of the year and you still have those vaction days in your back pocket. Or maybe you need to reward yourself for kicking the shit out of your final exams. Whatever the case, you want to get on a plane and spend as much time as possible in the aquatic playground — but where to go? The North Shore of Oahu is the obvious choice from November through February. But do you really want to spectate from the shoulder? Wouldn’t you rather be the star of the action? We think so. That’s why we compiled a list of alternative locales that pump throughout the holiday season. —Jake Tellkamp

Dusty Payne, shot by Corey Wilson, and envied by you.Dusty Payne, shot by Corey Wilson, and envied by you.

Bocas Del Toro, Panama
This place goes richter during New Years — both in the water and on land. The reefs (there are a ton of them) enjoy the influx of short period flurry and the bars (no shortage of these, either) bustle with Argentinian babes on holiday. If you like tubes by day and dancing to reggaeton all night, then Bocas is for you.

Surfing Magazine trip to Puerto Rico Puerto Rico, as good as it looks. Photo: DJ Struntz

Puerto Rico
It’s called the Island of Enchantment for a reason. Plenty or variety here — ranging from rippable to terrifying — which makes Puerto Rico a safe bet. Bring Hunter S. Thompson’s Rum Diaries for hammock swings in the afternoon breeze and find a Chenault of your own in Isabela.

Morocco, with plenty of room to wiggle, and very little for excuses – Dane attempts the latter. Photo: Corey WilsonMorocco, with plenty of room to wiggle, and very little for excuses – Dane attempts the latter. Photo: Corey Wilson

Morocco
If the booze and babes thing is growing tiresome, try Morocco. This is the pure of heart surf trip, a place to stoke out the wave-starved grommet that exists in all of us. Righthand points galore, so you might want to avoid it if you love going left. Moroccan Surf Adventures removes all of the headache of exploration and puts you in the perfect place for your stay.

Costa Rica, Filipe Toledo, and the peachy reality of an evening wedge. Photo: Corey WilsonCosta Rica, Filipe Toledo, and the peachy reality of an evening wedge. Photo: Corey Wilson

Costa Rica
Most make their way to Costa Rica in August when south swells send tremendous amounts of fun towards Playa Hermosa and beyond, but dry season in Costa Rica is great too. The Caribbean side this time of the year is where one can really harvest. Salsa Brava rarely dips under head high and is “the perfect training ground for Backdoor,” according to Carlos Munoz.

Indonesia is a string of thousands of islands. Desert Point is one small nook on one small island – think about the possibilities. Photo: Corey WilsonIndonesia is a string of thousands of islands. Desert Point is one small nook on one small island – think about the possibilities. Photo: Corey Wilson

Bali
If you visit this hedonistic heaven in the wet season (October- April), you probably won’t be surfing the famed left handers on the Bukit. This time of the year is all about the rights on the east side — you know, like Keramas. But the real benefit of going during the wet season is that it boasts a fraction of the crowd and, let’s be honest, that’s the real reason behind running away in the first place.