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What are YOUR top ten beaches?

July 01 2010 | Beaches, Jim's Blog,
by Jim

I recently read the article "America’s 10 Most Beautiful Beaches Not on the Gulf Coast" and it made me pause and wonder... what would my top ten beaches in the world be? After 40+ years of travel, here they are in no particular order (no, Surfrider doesn't have chapters in all places... yet). Georges, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Southern CA I don't think there is another beach I've spent as much time on as this one. Parking is horrific so the crowds are sparse even in the peak of summer. No breathtaking views just a simple SoCal beach staple. This is our family default beach. When I think of the times we've spent on this tiny strech of sand a smile always comes to my face. Los Roques, Venezuela Picture the most remote beach you can think of other than southern Maldives... Los Roques is hard to get to. First you have to get to Caracas, Venzuela and then find a way to get 80 miles north until you hit the Los Roques archipelogo. I went to Los Roques a few decades ago and the bar was instantly set for remote beauty. Distant but worth the trek. My memories from this place are etched in my brain and will never, ever leave. pic:

Otter Rock, Oregon. The whole coast of the Pacific Northwest (US) is stunning. Otter Rock happens to be a spot that I really like. Wild, rugged... strewn with driftwood. If you want non-commercial, natural beauty in the US, head to this region. Fairly easy to get to, it's about an hour or so west of Portland. For even more remote beauty drive south to the CA/OR border.

Okracoke Island, North Carolina East coast gem just south of Kitty Hawk in North Carolina. What I love about this region is that the park system has protected a nice portion of the beaches. Great birding/nature even if your not into the beach thing. Super fun waves during hurricane season. Like most great beach destinations it's hard to get to... but worth the trek. Noosa, Australia. I don't know what it is about this place but it seems like every time I get here I'm absolutely dead tired and when I come to my senses, rent a squaretail noserider and paddle out at one of the local point breaks... I slip into something approaching nirvana. Noosa has mechanical Malibu-esque peelers with a drop-dead gorgeous state-park backdrop. Coatue, Nantucket My wife Andrea's parents live in Nantucket so we've been there quite a few times. What most people don't know is that a solid third of the island has no roads and is 4WD only. You CAN get to Coatue in a 4WD but the best way is to paddle. It's a natural peninsula with absolutely zero people on it. In the midst of preppy, northeast summer bustle Coatue offers absolute, complete solitude. Dingle Peninsula, Ireland. My family is originally from this area. When I think of the west coast of Ireland I think of castle ruins, extremely rugged coastal headlands and green. Lots of green. Irish beaches aren't what many people picture when they think beaches... yet they represent among the most natural, undeveloped pocket beaches that I've seen in a developed country. Oh, and they have Guinness. Trestles, San Clemente, CA When I think of Orange County I think of concrete. Honestly, I think of ruined landscapes and waaay too much concrete. There is a line in the sand where if you look north (towards Orange County and then Los Angeles) you feel the pressure of 20 million people. If you look south (towards Camp Pendleton) there is almost no one. That line... is Trestles. The wave at Trestles is arguably the best wave in the continental US and beach is almost at that same level. It's like a trip to another country at the south end of Orange County. Biarittz, France The combination of rolling hills, architecture from another era RIGHT on the water, amazing cuisine and perfect beaches make this a destination to go to. It also happens to be the hq of Surfrider Europe. Whoever made that selection was either lucky or brilliant... or both. This is my favorite beach in continental Europe. Gaan, Maldives It took 44 hours from my door to get to these beaches (and waves). That's a very, very long time. The southern Maldives and the thousands of beaches on tiny islands in every direction you look might as well be a dream. The whole time I was in this region I felt like I was in some kind of parallel universe. I felt like I was on another planet. Very few people will ever make it to these beaches because a) they are far from seemingly everything and b) they will be the first nation to be lost due to sea level rise. 1,190 tiny islands and the highest elevation of 8 feet. For runner-ups I'd point to Buzios, Brazil and Nine Palms on the East cape of Los Cabos, Mex.
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