A tropical Pacific island on roughly the same latitude as Hawaii with consistent surf, a variety of quality waves, and very few local surfers—Taiwan might just be the best-kept secret in surfing!
The Surf: Beach breaks, river mouths, points, even reefs—Taiwan has a little of everything. Actually, Taiwan has a lot of everything—swell is more consistent than you’d think and filters in year round. In general, this island off the coast of China is a beginner to intermediate destination.
Five Waves Worth Surfing:
- Fulong Beach: A popular surf break in the middle of town, Fulong has a thriving surf scene, but the locals are pretty friendly and the waves appropriate for surfers of all levels.
- Donghe River Mouth: An average wave in the Taitung area with a core crew of surfers, this river mouth produces both lefts and rights and is an easy option for the traveling surfer.
- Cheng Gong: This lefthand reef point can break up to 200 meters on a good day.
- Jia le Shui: A beach break setup north of Kenting, Jia le Shui has boards for rent and a small hotel in a beautiful setting.
- Bashien Dong: A lefthander on the east coast an hour and a half south of Hualien, this river mouth point can be quite long and rippable.
The Water: Crystal clear and comfortably warm, Taiwan’s water is the prototypical tropical blue. Surface temps range from 72 to 82 F (22 to 28 C).
The Season: May through October is best for the south part of the country, which enjoys waves on both sides. Meanwhile, the northeast coast enjoys swell from November through April.
The Vibe: Although there is a thriving surf scene in Taiwan, the locals are quite friendly and welcoming, so you are unlikely to get vibed in the lineup.
Things To Do: Taipei is a massive city with much to see, including the 101 Building (previously the world’s tallest, and the first to top 500 meters). The mountain areas are also quite beautiful, so try not to limit yourself to the coast and capital.
Where To Stay: Taiwan has a huge number of surf breaks—most of which are only accessible if you have private transportation and a lot of local knowledge. If you don’t know anyone who lives on the island, check out www.surftaiwan.com for accommodation/tour packages.
What To Bring: A shortboard and something alternative—a log or a fish will keep your stoke level up when a typhoon isn’t pumping out river mouth barrels. A springsuit for the coldest part of winter (if you are temperature-sensitive) and boardshorts for the rest of the year. A taste for the exotic, a sense of adventure and a Mandarin/English dictionary.
Getting There: Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is your main gateway into Taiwan, and fields numerous flights from Mainland China and overseas. Visas are available upon arrival for citizens of many countries. Airport code: TPE.