You might be asking yourself: “What on earth do motorbikes and surfing have to do with each another?” Fair question, but surprisingly more than you’d imagine.
Oddly enough, where you see the two cultures — bike and surf — colliding gracefully is in Canggu, Bali where surf-moto brand, Deus Ex Machina, has its flagship base there called the “Temple of Enthusiasm.”
An idea born from the vintage motorcycle and surf movements happening in Sydney, Australia, you can buy custom surfboards at Deus, custom motorbikes, coffee, art, clothing … even get a haircut.
But back to the initial query: What’s the connection between a café racer and sliding piece of foam and fiberglass? Some say it’s in the line you choose, whether on a wave or on the open road. Some say it’s in the craftsmanship, riding vessels made by human hands and hearts.
Ultimately, the pairing is in the travel. Motorbikes get us from “Point A” to “Wave B,” and if you’re lucky, happily lost along the way. Because some of the best discoveries happen by accident. The following are five routes across the globe that blend the two loves seamlessly.
1. Golden State Pacific Coast Highway
Route: Ocean Beach, San Francisco to San Diego, California
Distance: 650 miles one-way
Pit Stops: Steamer Lane, Big Sur, Rincon, Malibu, Huntington Beach Pier, Lower Trestles, Swamis
Payoff: Make your merry way down the legendary Highway 1, stopping to surf at the Golden State’s most iconic point breaks and piers, then sleep under the stars (in your tent) at the dozens of gorgeous, coastal state parks along the way. Oh, and the extra-payoff? If traffic’s bumper-to-bumper from Santa Barbara to L.A., it’s legal to cut lanes on your bike. (Just be cautious.)
Provisions: Packable camping gear, everyday board, 3/2mm and 4/3mm fullsuits, an annual “CA Explorer Pass” for the beaches and state parks
2. South African Surf Safari
Route: Cape Town, South Africa to Ponta D’Ouro, Mozambique
Distance: 1,300 miles one-way
Pit Stops: Victoria Bay, Jeffreys Bay, East London, Transkei, Durban
Payoff: Ever surfed the greatest righthand pointbreak on the planet in the morning, bungee jumped off the tallest bridge in Africa at noon, then glimpsed at a wild lion before dusk? That’s a doable-day in South Africa. With righthanders up the yin-yang going all the way to Mozambique, another solid payoff for a motorbike trip in Southern Africa is the price (The dollar goes a long way). Which just gives you extra cushion for the other activities along the way like: Great White spotting, bungee jumping, river rafting, and wildlife watching.
Provisions: 3/mm2 and 4/3mm fullsuits, space in your camera or iphone for all the safari shots, warm clothes if you go during the optimal surf season (April-Oct.)
3. Sri Lankan Semi-Circle Island
Route: Colombo to Arugam Bay to Colombo
Distance: 450 miles
Pit Stops: Hikkaduwa, Galle, Weligama, Arugam Bay, Kandy
Payoff: The friendly people, rich culture, delicious food and waves aplenty … Sri Lanka’s got it all and it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Lucky for you, should you want to rent or buy a motorbike for a two-week tour around the island, there are garages and retailers-galore (just make sure to find some board racks). Surf-wise, hit up Hikkaduwa on the west coast for fun reefs, Arugam Bay on the east coast for rifling right point breaks, and on your way back to Colombo, stop in the crisp mountain town of Kandy for some culture and homegrown tea.
Provisions: Sunscreen, cigarettes for soldiers at checkpoints, ding repair kit, modest clothing for Buddhist/Hindu temples and sites
4. Chilean Lefthander Leg-burner
Route: Arica, Chile to Chiloe Island, Chile
Distance: 2,000 miles one-way
Pit Stops: Iquique, Antofagasta, La Serena, Valparaiso, Pichilemu, Buchupureo
Payoff: The great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda once wrote, “Love is a journey with water and stars,” but a surf trip by motorbike in Chile is an adventure with solitude and reeling lefthanders. While the coastline of Chile spans three Californias in distance, look for arid, desertscapes with slabby reefbreaks up north (Arica and Iquique), then woodsy, cooler bluffs and coves presenting pointbreaks in the south (Punta de Lobos and Puertecillo). With dozens of dirt roads leading to empty waves that rental cars can’t get to, having a bike makes the difference to go the extra mile. And then of course, if you get tired of surfing, the Andes (four hours inland) have fresh powder for the snow-lovers and ski-fanatics.
Provisions: A comfy seat for the long haul, 4/3mm fullsuit, 5mm booties, hood, a solid step-up board for bigger surf, a sturdy jacket for the weather, a snowboard/skis for a side-trip
5. East Indies 500
Route: Canggu, Bali to Lakey Peak, Sumbawa
Distance: 340 miles (550km) one-way
Pit Stops: Keramas, Desert Point, Maui, Scar Reef, Super Suck, Yo-Yos
Payoff: Wave quality, for sure. As in, if you’re not getting some of the better barrels you’ve had all year, you went during the wrong season. (Go: April-Oct). Indeed, in the archipelago nation of Indonesia, where motorbikes far outnumber cars, a moto-surf trip from Bali to Sumbawa is certainly a way to score on your own terms. With the ability to rent a motorbike with board racks from just about any town or village in the country, plus a ferry system to transfer you and your ride from island to island, you’ll be binging on infamous reef breaks like Deserts, Super Suck and Periscopes until the cows come home — or cross the road. (Warning: Seriously, watch out for the cows).
Provisions: Tropical water wax, sunscreen, ding repair kit, reef booties, first aid kit for reef cuts
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