There's no quicker way to deflate your surf stoke than flying halfway around the world only to get yelled at by some overzealous local or join a bobbing crowd. Busy waves are a destination surfer's nightmare and exactly the reason that surfing in Iceland, where there are about 20 surfers and 3,088 miles of coastline, is so appealing. The island nation offers access to numerous world-class waves, raging nightlife in Reykjavík, and some of the most beautiful women in the world. All that is only a cheap direct flight away from the Eastern Seaboard.
Don't be fooled by the country's reductive name. Iceland isn't covered in ice, and water temperatures in the early fall are relatively mild – no colder than in northern California and far warmer than Montauk in winter. New wetsuit technology – like the compression neoprene found in the Isurus i-Soldier Wetsuit – make staying in the water easy and Iceland's numerous hot springs make getting warm afterward a real pleasure.
The coast is rugged, so having a local guide is critical. The boys at Arctic Surfers, Iceland's only surf tour operator, are more than happy to share heaving hollow reefs, cruisy point breaks, and friendly beach waves. Though they've been at it for 15 years, the staff of AS is all about finding new destinations, meaning their clients may find themselves standing atop a wave that's never been ridden by anyone. When conditions take a turn for the snowy, these guides bust out the snowboards and keep on riding. Fortunately for travelers, most of the best surf is within an hour's drive of Reykjavík, so they can shack up at the stately (and fun to say) Hótel Borg.
More information: IcelandAir runs regular flights to Reykjavík from New York. Travelers can choose to stop over on their way to Europe or camp out. Arctic Surfers determines itineraries and prices on an individual basis.