If you've ever dreamt of booking a one way ticket, do it now. You can return to your responsibilities when ready. Photo: Quinn Matthews
Stab's Recommended Locales For Temporary Residence
The world is yours. Or at least it should be.
You ever get a feeling like you want to blur through early adulthood, drink yourself into disorderly numbness at the same bar every single weekend, get a boring job in your hometown, marry a girl you went to elementary school with, produce slightly overweight children, die, and have your family and friends hold a post-funeral lunch in your honour at an Italian restaurant you never really liked?
The world’s too damn big to be so bleary. There’s so much going on out there. So much to be seen. So many wild things happening that will continue to happen with or without you there to take part in them. Might as well show up.
And sure, you can show up for a week or two, then pack your bags and leave — but wouldn’t it be more fun to stay? To go from being a foreigner in a foreign land to a resident in a newfound home?
That’s rhetorical. Indeed it would. And surfing can be a powerful force when it comes to having the satchel to make it happen. We’re fortunate for that. And fortune, if anything, is meant to be taken advantage of. History can back that one up.
Here are some of the best places for a surfer to relocate to for a few years. Depending on your career, financial state, aptitude for difficult situations and potential willingness to bob and weave around visa laws, the logistics can be hard. As are the logistics of planning that aforementioned lunch.
Welcome to surfing's most divine archipelago, Indo. Where you can surf, eat dog meat, party 'till sunrise, crash a scooter and pray you don't get caught holding any sort of substance.
Moving to Indo for surfing, at this point, is nearly cliché — but clichés exist for a reason. Indo makes too much sense for someone obsessed with riding waves. It’s cheaper than dog meat and there are a borderline incomprehensible amount of perfect waves. No matter where you are in the country (hint: you’re probably in Bali), there's always even more perfect waves a cheap flight/ferry/moto ride/Arak blackout away. The cons are that you might actually eat dog meat (told you it was cheap), die on a scooter, get arrested for drugs that were planted on you or contract syphilis on a night out in Seminyak.
Best for: Someone who wants cheap living, great waves and assimilated jungles full of horny people (nightclubs!)
Taking up temporary residence has never looked more inviting.
Spill the wine, take that girl, and wash both off in morning. It may be pricey to live in Europe, but it's a fine place to be alive!
Diversity — in waves, in culture. That’s what you’ll find here. So many nations all tucked in together! If you want to live somewhere that feels like a surf hub, hit Southwest France or just below the border in Spain. On top of diversity, there you’ll also find throngs of nude women smoking cigarettes on the beach in the summer and cheap wine to keep the warmth of those memories alive all winter. Oh, or check Portugal. Lisbon is almost certainly for lovers. and the area around it is seriously holding. Disadvantages are that life isn’t cheap and winter can be a bitch (if you are one too).
Best for: Someone who can’t handle a flat spell, a cold spell, and who's idea of culture transcends visiting a juice bar with nutritious blends named after the local waves.
Here, Andy Criere slices an emotive winter fillet in Hossegor, France. Allow Seb Zanella, to detail the specifics: “The surfer here is promising French surfer, Andy Criere. This shot was taken during an early winter morning at a secret spot near Hossegor. It was firing all day, and we were the only two in a water. This was the best tube day of the year for Andy. It was so cold that day, I remember that we made a fire on the beach, just to get a little bit warmer.”
If you're from California the transition to Australia feels like home, 'cept no one pronounces their r's and you have to look the other way while crossing the street. Oh, and the waves are significantly more attractive. As are the girls, which is hard to believe for So Cal, but it's true. Plus, they're not shy towards a few too many.
Our analytics tell us there’s a decent chance you’re reading this while eating a meat pie or drinking a VB or enjoying a VB-flavored meat pie. If so, good for you. But, for anyone not from Australia, it’s an amazing place to spend a few years. It’s relatively easy to find work, ridiculously easy to find waves, and full of people who cherish fun, camaraderie and unapologetic humour. You might, however, scoff at the prices for miracle health foods such as avocados and cocaine.
Best for: Someone who needs to find work, would rather sink twelve beers at a pub with friends than go to a touristy bar, and hopefully will never abandon their native tongue and incorporate an Australian accent.
There's literally nothing wrong about this shot.
Where the beers, er, cervezas are cheap. The water's warm (save North Baja) and the waves are superior to than anything you can find up the West Coast of the United States. There's a bit of everything south of border, mostly young kids strapped with heavy artillery, but what's a Mexico to Central American vacation without a little third world thrill?
I’m grouping these into one because they’re so close geographically. But they are very, very different.
Mexico has amazing waves. You can stand in tubes big enough to kill you and surf point breaks that’ll burn your legs. Life on land is mellow though — even more mellow in the offseason. You gotta be OK with that — this is about living somewhere, not just spending a summer.
It's best for: Someone who enjoys barrels more than human interaction and things (as a whole) and owns guns of both the surfboard and firearm varietal.
Josh Moniz poised between rock and horizon in Mexico. “That was our fourth day in Mexico,” Josh Moniz tells Stab. “I was with my brother Seth. Noa Deane and Eric Geiselman were out there. It was the day after the main day of the swell… It wasn’t all-time Mex, but it was fun. I was waiting to leave on the beach for a while, none of the boys were coming in. So, I paddled out for one more wave.” And so here, Mr. Moniz remains perfectly positioned out in the Mexican Desert. We’ll leave him there because no one enjoys coming in when it’s like this.
Central America has lots of average waves. And some amazing waves, sometimes. But it also has a lot more to do than Mexico. It’s more developed, and you’ll encounter more people in a situation like yours. It’s easy. It’s inexpensive. It’s kind of cheesy, and it is paradise for some people.
And it's best for: someone who is not a big wave David and has Googled "surf/yoga retreat” within the past eight calendar months.
Yadin Nicol pulls his truck into the dreamiest garage.
Chile. Papua New Guinea. South Africa. The Dominican Republic. Anywhere! The locations listed above are some of the best and most simple. There are many more fine places on this planet for a surfer to live. Go ahead, try to prove me wrong.