If you want to live in a city, and surf, there aren't all that many good options. 

Sure there's loads of great cities in the world, but how many of them have waves?

Not many.

And few still any cities with good surf. 

But luckily there are a few good surf cities out there, ones that tick all the boxes. 

Keep reading to find out where.

BREAKING DOWN THE NUMBERS

Surfing's important don't get me wrong, but there are other criteria at play too, things like cost of living, etc. 

So in this post you'll see living metrics accompanying each city. 

To help understand what each metric means, here's a quick explainer:


COST OF LIVING INDEX

The cost of living index is made up of a bucket of metrics: food, housing, transportation, healthcare, and entertainment.

The reference location is for this metric is New York City, which is assigned an index value of 100, so everywhere is compared against that. 

If the number is higher than 100 it's more expensive than New York, if it's lower it's cheaper. 


RENT INDEX

The rent index is calculated by comparing the cost of renting in a given location, to the cost of renting the same type of property in New York.

Once again, New York is a 100 and everything is gauged above or below.


GROCERIES INDEX

The grocery index compares the prices of common grocery items such as milk, bread, eggs, fruits, and vegetables compared to the prices of the same items in New York City.


TRAFFIC COMMUTE TIME INDEX

The traffic commute time index is calculated by comparing the time it takes to commute to work or school compared to a reference location which is typically a composite multiple different cities worldwide.

A score of 100 would be seen as average.


CLIMATE INDEX

The climate index takes into account: temperature, humidity, rain, sunshine hours etc. compares it with multiple other locations around the world. 

A score of 100 is seen as average.


QUALITY OF LIFE INDEX

The quality of life index takes into account safety, healthcare, education, environment, and affordability, judged against a bucket of the cities worldwide, with the average score begin 100.


7 OF THE BEST SURFING CITIES IN THE WORLD

1. SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

Current Progress
Current Progress
WAVE QUALITY

WEATHER: 9/10

STANDARD OF LIVING: 9/10

CRIME: 8/10

Sydney, Australia, has to be one of the best surf cities in the world, hands down.

Here's why.

With over 80km of swell drenched coastline stretching from Palm Beach in the North, to Waterfall in the South, the place is littered with waves. 

Furthermore, the best surf beaches are real close by to the city too, with many no more than a 20-30min drive from the CBD. 

The climate is great too, with blistering hot summers and mild winters, it means you'll never have to surf in more than a 3/2mm wetsuit. 

CITY SURF BEACHES:

  • Manly
  • Bondi
  • Narabean
  • Cronulla

KEY LIVING METRICS

VALUE

COST OF LIVING INDEX

82.01

RENT INDEX

55.01

GROCERIES INDEX

66.23

TRAFFIC COMMUTE TIME INDEX

142.83

CLIMATE INDEX

95.24

QUALITY OF LIFE INDEX

186.87


2. LISBON, PORTUGAL

Current Progress
Current Progress
WAVE QUALITY

WEATHER: 7/10

STANDARD OF LIVING: 7/10

CRIME: 7/10

Lisbon in Portugal is fast becoming a hub for digital nomad surfers, with a booming tech industry in the area. 

It's cheap, it's full of culture and history, and the surf pumps too. 

A surf city that's close to great beaches with plenty of waves on offer all year round, plus a vibrant surf community too. 

On the downsides Lisbon can be a little cold in the winter, and a little too hot in the summer also, but outside of these times the climate is dreamy. 

And, with Lisbon exposed to the raw Atlantic swells flat days are rarely an issue, plus there's lots of protected spots nearby to hide on the big days too. 

CITY SURF BEACHES:

  • Carcavelos
  • Costa da Caparicadi
  • Praia da Poca
  • Bafureira

KEY LIVING METRICS

VALUE

COST OF LIVING INDEX

56.71

RENT INDEX

32.99

GROCERIES INDEX

45.98

TRAFFIC COMMUTE TIME INDEX

114.43

CLIMATE INDEX

98.76

QUALITY OF LIFE INDEX

159.31


3. GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA

Current Progress
Current Progress
WAVE QUALITY

WEATHER: 7/10

STANDARD OF LIVING: 7/10

CRIME: 7/10

The Gold Coast is officially a City, but it doesn't really feel like a city if you know what I mean. At least not like Tokyo or Paris if you catch my drift. 

Nonetheless, it is a city, and there's no way it could be left off a surfing cities best list like this. 

Now granted, the Gold Coast can be a little brash at times, and it can be a far cry from the chilled out surfer vibe it promotes, nevertheless, the surf here pumps, so all that b/s can go by the wayside. 

Surfing here you can expect world class waves, and warm water all year round, home to some of the best surfers on. the planet. 

Word of warning though, because it's the most popular surf city on earth it's crowded as hell - you've been warned. 

CITY SURF BEACHES:

  • Snapper Rocks
  • Duranbah
  • Kirra
  • Burleigh Heads

KEY LIVING METRICS

VALUE

COST OF LIVING INDEX

74.90

RENT INDEX

40.53

GROCERIES INDEX

62.03

TRAFFIC COMMUTE TIME INDEX

109.75

CLIMATE INDEX

98.97

QUALITY OF LIFE INDEX

191.89


4. SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

Current Progress
Current Progress
WAVE QUALITY

WEATHER: 8/10

STANDARD OF LIVING: 8/10

CRIME: 6/10

San Diego, known for having one of the best climates in the world (average 21 degrees), is home to some of the funnest waves on the West Coast of the USA too. 

With a coastline stretching 113km in total the place is littered with surf. 

Sure it's maybe not the best quality waves in the world, but hey, it's a city with surf, so can't have it all. 

There are a few downsides to living, working and surfing in San Diego, notably the traffic. 

If you hit the freeways at the wrong time, getting from a to be can be stressful to say the least. 

But, these are just some of the downsides of trying to peice surfing and city life together, so you've got to take the rough with the smooth.

CITY SURF BEACHES:

  • Trestles
  • Oceanside
  • Swami's
  • Blacks Beach

KEY LIVING METRICS

VALUE

COST OF LIVING INDEX

79.30

RENT INDEX

69.45

GROCERIES INDEX

65.91

TRAFFIC COMMUTE TIME INDEX

133.27

CLIMATE INDEX

95.22

QUALITY OF LIFE INDEX

200.09


5. HONOLULU, HAWAII

Current Progress
Current Progress
WAVE QUALITY

WEATHER: 8/10

STANDARD OF LIVING: 8/10

CRIME: 6/10

Hololulu, home to some of the most iconic surfing beaches on the planet has got to be up there when we consider the worlds best surfing cities. 

The tropical climate here makes it very attractive, alongside the crystal clear blue water and amazing Hawaiian culture. 

If you're looking for a city with surf, this has to be a good option. 

Sure, Honolulu itself doesn't quite throw up the quality of surf you'd expect from the North Shore an hour or so drive away, however there's plenty of fun waves to be had.

CITY SURF BEACHES:

  • Waikiki
  • Ala Moana Beach Park
  • Point Panic
  • Old Mans

KEY LIVING METRICS

VALUE

COST OF LIVING INDEX

93.39

RENT INDEX

94.54

GROCERIES INDEX

81.37

TRAFFIC COMMUTE TIME INDEX

109.72

CLIMATE INDEX

97.47

QUALITY OF LIFE INDEX

166.34


6. LIMA, PERU

Current Progress
Current Progress
WAVE QUALITY

WEATHER: 5/10

STANDARD OF LIVING: 7/10

CRIME: 5/10

If you're a goofy footer and you dream of surfing long left hand pointbreaks, and you want a city that can give you just that, maybe Lima is for you. 

The largest and most populated city in Peru with a population of over 11 million, Lima is a cultural hotbed, frantic paced, and not for the faint hearted. 

But as far as cities go, Lima is very affordable to live, stacked full of coffee shops, bars, with plenty to see and do.

CITY SURF BEACHES:

  • El Camotel
  • Pampilla
  • Heradura
  • Triangulo

KEY LIVING METRICS

VALUE

COST OF LIVING INDEX

45.29

RENT INDEX

16.69

GROCERIES INDEX

35.67

TRAFFIC COMMUTE TIME INDEX

63.53

CLIMATE INDEX

96.47

QUALITY OF LIFE INDEX

97.92


7. RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

Current Progress
Current Progress
WAVE QUALITY

WEATHER: 9/10

STANDARD OF LIVING: 7/10

CRIME: 5/10

Rio is wild.

Crazy wealth, living alongside abject poverty make for a unique city. 

A city with excellent waves on its doorstep.

Alright, maybe excellent, but certainly decent, and plenty of it too. 

With its warm climate, reasonable costs of living and vibrant community Rio is definitely a surf city with a twist.

CITY SURF BEACHES:

  • Ipanema
  • Tropical
  • Macumbo Curvo
  • Joatinga

KEY LIVING METRICS

VALUE

COST OF LIVING INDEX

53.62

RENT INDEX

23.70

GROCERIES INDEX

43.61

TRAFFIC COMMUTE TIME INDEX

109.67

CLIMATE INDEX

97.17

QUALITY OF LIFE INDEX

116.13


CONCLUSION

If you're looking at relocating, and looking for a city with opportunity, plus surf, hopefully this post will help point you in the right direction.

Wherever you choose, there'll always be a bit of give and take, ultimately with more to consider than just the surf. 

Yew!
Rowan 🤙

ROWAN CLIFFORD

Rowan is the technical nerd behind the scenes. A lover of everything entrepreneurial, and living a minimal, simple life.

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