Feb 9, 2022
YOU MIGHT THINK OF SURFING as an extreme sport, but it’s also extremely meditative, requiring patience, calm, intuition and inner balance—in addition to strength, swimming skills and stability. Perhaps that’s why surfing’s now gone mainstream (it seemed that all of Thailand, for example, picked up the sport during the pandemic). It provides a path to both mental and physical health that can be pursued in some of the most beautiful locations in the world. Here are four great breaks in Asia-Pacific, suitable for a range from beginner to expert, and the luxury resorts nearby that guarantee a great post-surf massage.
Hudhuranfushi Surf Resort
Hudhuranfushi—Island of White Gold—is teeming with lush vegetation and beaches that offer both an abundance of fish, for a snorkeler’s paradise, and a world-class wave directly out front.
This is Lohis Left, and while not suitable for beginners, it isn’t regarded as a wave of consequence (i.e., a serious monster), which makes it perfect for intermediate and expert surfers alike. Access to this wave is exclusive to the island’s guests, and surfer numbers are capped so it never gets too crowded.
To soothe those well-worked muscles from all the surfing and swimming, there are yoga classes and physiotherapy treatments in the wellness center. There are also three restaurants and several bars, including one whose large deck directly overlooks Lohis Left.
Serious surfers might want to book the Lohis Rooms, a one-minute walk from the wave. Although you can’t go wrong with the lavish Overwater Ocean Villas, which are on the other side of the island from the wave but–bonus!–come with a livestream TV channel of Lohis Left. No wasted trips from your cocoon if you don’t like the conditions or time spent agonizing over any surf you may be missing.
Private beginner surf lessons (US$99) are also offered, and expert surf guides are available to boat you to other nearby waves, too.
worldsurfaris.com/surf-trip/hudhuranfushi-surf-resort-lohis; seven-night packages, for double occupancy staying in the Sunset Overwater Villas during the peak surf season (June to August) start at USD$8,252, inclusive of round-trip speedboat transfers to Male airport (30 minutes each way), three meals per day, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, snacks, and for surfers surf passes for Lohis Left and twice-daily boat trips to nearby breaks, or for non-surfers US$50 per day resort.
Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle
If you’re keen to surf somewhere that offers a dose of culture complete with pilgrimage sites, animal safaris, historical ports, old forts and palm-fringed beaches, then southern Sri Lanka is for you.
With a long, gentle wave a short drive from one of the most plushest resorts in the Teardrop of South Asia, and expert surf coaches on hand, you’ve no excuse not to get those paddling arms in motion. Guides are happy to take you to other breaks if you’re looking for more adventurous waves, with the best timeframe for the seasoned surfer being July and August. For beginners, or those wanting small waves, November to April is your best bet.
The cliff-top Ocean View Pool Villas each feature a private pool with relaxing palm-framed views of the Andaman Sea, and a wine-filled humidor. Foodies might like to learn to pair them with Sri Lankan cuisine, or take a farm-to-plate tour.
Anantaras are known for their excellent spas, and the Peace Haven Tangalle property’s grounds you in Sri Lanka, with massages unique to this part of the world and offerings like a five-day Rebuilding Detox Ayurveda Programme for a longer physical and mental detox.
anantara.com/en/peace-haven-tangalle; seven nights, double occupancy, staying in an Ocean View Pool Villa, from US$5,719, inclusive of breakfasts, couples massage, and a complimentary dinner.
Being in ‘the wilds’ these days doesn’t necessarily mean being marooned on a beach talking to a face-painted volleyball. Nihi Sumba, which was voted best hotel in the T+L World’s Best Awards 2016 and 2017, has embodied the definition of luxury surf resorts in Asia since it opened. Traditionally themed buildings blended with contemporary interiors deliver the meeting of sand and style. The 28 unique villas all have private pools, with details including signature canopy beds, sweeping views of the Indian Ocean from your outside day lounge, and handmade chocolates in your minibar.
Perhaps you’ve heard of Occy’s Left? It’s their world-famous, on-property, exclusive surf break. In the interests of conservation and safety, the number of surfers is limited to 10 per day, and you’ll need to book ahead to secure a spot. The wave in front of the resort is both challenging and rewarding, and beginner lessons are available nearby.
The Nihioka Spa, perched above the cliff, offers numerous massages and body treatments using natural ingredients. Yoga classes, meditation and breath-work sessions are good options to de-stress, as is horseback riding through the shallows. The place is so Zen that digital nomads love working here.
nihi.com; seven nights, double occupancy in a villa during prime surf season (June to August) from US$11,515, inclusive of all meals, plus group yoga and meditation classes. Surf slots are US$125 per person, per day, during this period.
Injidup Spa Resort
Waves go well with fine wine and stellar sunsets on the west coast of Oz. Though Australia’s east coast looms large on the country’s surf radar, it’s the left coast that offers splendid isolation on the Indian Ocean. The waves in this region are generally powerful and break over reefs, so are not suitable for beginners.
But if you’re a keen, practiced surfer, there are plenty of spots to choose from; the world-famous Margaret River (yep, same name as the wine-rich region, another reason to rest and rejuvenate here) and Yallingup Point are two breaks you should definitely seek out. Actually, just call them Marg’s or Yall’s–since everything is abbreviated here
Injidup Spa Resort is secluded, and situated on the renowned Cape to Cape Walking Track, providing opportunities for leisurely strolls along the coast when you’re not out on the waves. Their Bodhi Wellness Spa offers holistic, natural and organic treatments with massages, facials and a range of body therapies.
injidup.squarespace.com; One-Bedroom Villas from AU$680/US$480 per night; guests receive a gourmet breakfast hamper and a bottle of wine on arrival; adults-only.