Bodyboarding Barrels: 6 of the Best Waves in the World

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Tired of bodyboarding on those tiny swells at home? Would you love to combine your next vacation with some awesome places to bodyboard?

We hear a lot about the best surf spots, but what about the best bodyboard spots? Sometimes the two overlap, but some of the best places for waves (like Hawaii’s Pipeline) are better suited to surfers.

Not to worry, though — many amazing travel destinations are also ideal for bodyboarding! Join us as we count down six of the best waves in the world for bodyboarding aficionados.

1. Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

The monstrous waves at Pipeline may be too heavy for your bodyboard, but that doesn’t mean Hawaii is off the table. In fact, Hawaii’s most famous beach also happens to be one of the best places to bodyboard!

Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach is near-perfect as a bodyboarding destination. The water is warm and the waves are gentle (but fun). The break sits quite a ways back from the shore, so you can enjoy some long, epic rides back to the sand.

When you’re done riding for the day, grab a cool drink in one of the beautiful resorts that line the shores. And don’t forget to pay homage to the statue of Duke Kahanamoku — after all, Hawaii is where both surfing and bodyboarding were born.

2. Canggu, Bali

It’s hard to envision an island paradise more stunning than Bali, Indonesia. If you’re lucky enough to snag a ticket there, pack your board, fins, and flippers and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

Like Hawaii, there are dozens of amazing beaches to choose from. Our pick is laid-back Canggu, about 15 miles north of the island’s capital city, Denpasar. Bodyboarders love this spot for its chilled-out vibe, black sand beach, and unique reef break.

Beginners will find the gentlest waves between October and March. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, visit Bali from April to September when bigger swells roll in.

3. Perth, Australia

The Gold Coast is famous for some of the best surf spots in the world, but there’s an underrated destination on Australia’s west coast that’s ideal for bodyboarding. Escape the crowds and head west to Perth, where you can enjoy some of the best waves in the world year-round.

January and February are the warmest months (remember, the seasons are reversed down there), although the waves are also the smallest. If you don’t mind donning a wetsuit, you’ll find larger swells during the winter months of July and August. There are great places to bodyboard all over the region, but our favorites spots are Trigg Point, Bunbury, and Margaret’s River.

Another bucket-list reason to visit Perth? From March through July, it’s one of the best places in the world to swim with whale sharks!

4. Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Virtually unknown until the early 2000s, Santa Teresa has quickly earned a reputation as one of the best surf spots on Earth. We love this little tucked-away town in Puntarenas Province on the west coast of Costa Rica. In fact, it’s so tucked-away that the roads to it aren’t even paved!

The waves are awesome year-round, with the winter months (November through March) ideal for beginners. More advanced bodyboarders should plan a visit from April through October when the waves increase in size.

When you’re not out riding, you’ll love exploring this laid-back town filled with surf lodges and delicious restaurants. It’s also a great place to go snorkeling or jungle trekking or sign up for a yoga retreat. 

5. San Clemente, California

When someone says “best waves in the world,” you might automatically picture California. And it’s true — like Hawaii and other Pacific destinations, it’s hard to find a beach without big swells rolling in.

To help you narrow your options, we suggest a visit to the town of San Clemente. Summer (April through October) is the best time to bodyboard at San Clemente, although the waves are consistent year-round. The beach breaks offer both lefts and rights and the waves are rideable at all stages of the tide.

Although it’s only an hour’s drive from Los Angeles, San Clemente still retains the nostalgia of surfing’s heyday in the 1950s and 1960s. When you’re done riding for the day, you’ll love exploring the beachside cafes and charming antique shops along tree-lined streets.

6. Cornwall, England

England might not immediately spring to mind when you think of the best places for waves, but Cornwall will surprise you. Located at the southwest tip of the country, Cornwall is best known for its wild, rugged coastline and dramatic seaside cliffs.

The locals, however, will tell you that it’s also home to some of the best waves in the world. The waters are clear and the waves are consistent year-round. You will need a wetsuit, though, as the water temperature rarely exceeds 64F/18C (even in the summertime).

If you can take the chill, you’ll quickly see why Cornwall remains a hidden gem in the world of bodyboarding. Sennen Cove is one of our favorite spots, but you’ll also enjoy riding (and trying to pronounce) Newquay, Bude, and Barrets Zawn. 

Ready to Ride the Best Waves in the World?

So, where will your love of bodyboarding take you? 

Will you venture abroad to catch waves in Bali, England, or Australia? Or will you stay closer to home and enjoy bodyboarding in Hawaii or California?

Wherever you go, one thing is for certain: You’ll have a blast riding the best waves in the world!

Do you have everything you need before you depart for your bodyboarding adventure? Or is it time to upgrade your current bodyboard to a newer model?

Click here for our expert advice on the best bodyboards to buy.

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