There’s no locale too remote for avid surfers in pursuit of the perfect swell. Just like helicopters can take audacious skiers to inaccessible off-trail terrains, an amphibious seaplane can take fearless surfers to off-the-beaten-path beaches or drop them close to the lineup. Seaplane surfing is a relatively new phenomenon, but there’s good reason it’s catching on: You can avoid endless crowds, challenge yourself on insane breaks, and have the flexibility to move to a new locale if troublesome wind or weather sweeps in. Curious? Here are three destinations where you can score an epic surf session.
Made up of 26 coral atolls, the picturesque Maldives in the pristine Indian Ocean is a popular surfing site among Aussies, Kiwis, and Europeans. To avoid the crowd, guests at the five-star Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa can sign up for a Tropicsurf luxury surfing safari. Surfers and trained guides are flown on a chartered Twin Otter seaplane around the archipelago in search of secluded sites primed for riding the best waves. The crystal-clear waters in the Maldives stay a steady 80-plus degrees year-round, and the shallow reefs create dramatic surf breaks. If the conditions change, you can simply hop back on the plane and you’ll be dropped off at a better wave in mere minutes.
Fiji Surf Company in Nabi, Fiji
Home of the world’s third largest barrier reef system, Fiji is on many surfers’ bucket list, especially after the Fijian government passed the Regulation of Surfing Areas Decree, opening up surf areas to the public. Located in Nabi, Fiji Surf Company offers a “New Frontier” trip, where a seaplane ferries a group of four to six guests to remote islands and drops them off right into the cobalt South Pacific Ocean, where you can check out “Restaurants,” one of Fiji’s highly regarded surfing spots, dubbed the “skate park in water” for its hollow waves for barrel riding. Or you can ride the waves at Cloudbreak, competition site of this year’s Women’s Fiji Pro, which can reach up to 20 feet.
Cinnamon Air in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s Eastern Coast is sought-after by surfers looking for good wind conditions, shallow right-hand point reef breaks, and decent-size swells. Arugam Bay, in particular, features several surf spots, including Main Point, Whiskey Point, Elephant Rock, and Peanut Farm. To get to the white sand beaches of the Eastern Coast, you can either board an eight-hour bus ride or fly a Cinnamon Air seaplane (chartered or scheduled) out of the Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport. The plane has enough room to store your boards and gear.