It’s wintertime in the northern hemisphere, a time when you might feel the powerful lure of a seasonal equatorward migration.
However. You may have also noticed the climate crisis, our planet’s lurch toward a 2 deg C tipping point and thus pending ecological collapse.
Aviation is certainly part of the climate problem, not the climate solution. You want to be woke, and yet you still want to travel (in moderation), you still want to live your best surfing life.
As such, we’ve listed the carbon footprint associated with airline travel to these destinations, and how to mitigate it such extravagance (not by buying carbon offset, booooo!) by simply, like a legend, cutting out meat (mutilated corpses) and dairy (rape pus) from your diet.
Much like saving up for the trip beforehand is preferable to putting it on your credit card, so too, ideally, should your flesh and mammary gland secretion abstinence be preparatory, rather than retrospective.
Big unruly Atlantic storms that might batter much of Europe’s western frontier have propagated sufficiently far south to order themselves into long period belts of refined juice, which then taper and bend into the coast in such a majestic fashion as to make a regular footer tearfully lament all those wasted years of crabby squat thrusts toward wobbly oncoming sections.
After a few decades of surf exploration, Morocco has become the no 1. destination for Europeans who yearn for quality pointbreak surf in warm weather.
When you get there, the main attraction of Moroccan surfing is quickly understood; when you set eyes on Killer Point, Safi, Immousane, Boilers etc etc reeling off into the distance, promising tube time followed by thigh burn of the highest order, your sloppy unruly local beachbreak will be but a bad memory, like a long-ago flushed turd.
The proximity of cities like Agadir, Essaouira, Casablanca to the surf spots is nice when it’s flat, and you want to visit the souk, get into a bit of culture, show off on Instagram etc.
p.s. Beware of hash that has hash as only a minor ingredient, and stuff like bits of plastic, vinyl etc as its main.
A return flight from London to Agadir will generate 750kg CO2 per passenger, including an allowance of x 1.8 for radiative forcing (CO2 released at altitude has a much greater warming effect than at sea level). Based on a 3322 CO2kg/year saving vs an average diet, you’ll require 3 months of plant munching. Go plant based between the autumnal equinox and Christmas, and be sweet for your N African safari in the New Year.
Australia is a riddle, isn’t it? For a start, it’s upside down.
If it’s not, and the universe is actually the other way up, well then we’re upside down.
It is also summer in winter there, but that is also cyclone season for the Goldie. Of course, their cyclones spin anti-clockwise (the wrong way), although water draining down the sink does not, in fact, it’ll drain whichever way you like, simply by swirling your finger.
It’s the other side of the world, but feels familiar. They speak English, and they’ve got the Queen’s head on their coins, which is either a) great in case you’re British and you get homesick b) a sickening reminder of the appalling genocide committed in the name of colonial expansion.
Oh yeah, ‘sick’. It’s such a riddle this Australia, sick means good. ‘Sick c*nt’ means ‘top chap’ or ‘terrific fellow’. Wild, but true.
It has awesome cutting edge health food but also plentitudes of beer, pies and chips. It used to be cheap and at the forefront of environmentalism, but now it’s super expensive and has one of the largest C2 footprint per capita of anywhere on earth, more than USA or Saudi Arabia.
The people are generally friendly but the animals generally more deadly than cuddly. Sharks, snakes, spiders, jellyfish can all kill. Even the kangaroo could rip your intestines out with their hind legs if they wanted to.
It’s a topsy turvy world, alright.
Much like the saving for the trip itself will take a bit of time, so too will your veganism need to be prolonged. The London-Sydney return flight alone burns through 5000kg of CO2, meaning you’ll need to go plant-based for a solid 18 month stint. Respect.
The Canary Islands
A short hop south for northern fringe surfers stricken alongside chilly, sloppy, gruel hued winter lineups, the appeal of the Canary Island archipelago relates chiefly to its latitude.
Situated a few degrees north of the Tropic of Cancer, the chain of volcanic islands is located off the coast of Africa near the border of Morocco and Western Sahara, and is fully exposed to swells generated in the north Atlantic, which most famously break with power over steep shallow reefs mainly of the north and west coasts.
Alongside an abundance of hollow reefbreaks, the various coasts around the islands also offer points and beaches, often set in to a kind of desert/lunar/lava landscape that definitely lets you know you’re far from home.
With a variety of spots on offer in terms of technique and accessibility, the one constant is the year round sunshine and mild water temperatures.
Apart from all that, the best part is probably drying out the snot. You know how, in winter, like say by late February, your sinuses are begging for inflammation respite?
Well the Canaries will dry you out. Your 3/2 will feel mighty alrighty compared to the straight jacket feel of the hooded 5/4 and your bootless feet will sing the tootsies electric.
Like Morocco, a Gatwick – Tenerife return flight will require an autumnal equinox to Christmas flesh/pus abstinence to be sweet for your New Year trip.
Surf trips to the Caribbean are both under and over-rated in almost equal measure.
It’s the kind of place a surf mag would go last minute for a swell, drop 9 grand in doing so, score a mega fickle rarity that breaks a handful of times a year and then sell it back to you as if it were bread and butter. Sorry about that.
There are loads of islands and options, across a big geographical spread. English speaking ones, French speaking ones, Spanish speaking ones, even Dutch ones. As a general rule, the consistent surf is on the NE or E facing coasts, where the wind also comes from.
If you can be fairly realistic about surfing in a bit of wind, well then you’re on.
However, on periodic massive swells or even hurricanes, the much rarer, cleaner, point breaky style west coasts might light up, with that even dreamier turquoise lagoon style water colour, and in general, righthanders.
While it is essentially a playground for mega rich folk from all over the world and thus heinously over-priced, you can snap up good deals and still score waves at a bargain price.
I just got back from Barbados (first long haul flight since 2013, before you ask), where locals tell me they’ve “never seen Soup Bowl flat”, essentially making it the most consistent wave on the planet.
With a hefty 2200kg of CO2 per passenger puked out the engines of your Boeing 777 to get to the Caribbean from Europe, your plant based status will need to extend over an eight month period.
You know the Algarve is good as it has ‘the’ in front of its name, meaning it keeps company with such esteemed venues as The French Riviera, The Hamptons and The North Shore .
It’s not the most pioneering surf trip ever undertaken, but might well be the easiest.
With two coasts (west and south) for different wind/swell options (small and clean go west, bigger and maybes more NW wind go south) you’re spoilt for choice.
Accommodation ranges from surf camps to hippy camps to hotels to apartments, you will be doing a bit of driving, but it will be worth it.
Home to pro surf rippers like Marlon Lipke and Alex Botelho, and temporary (winter) home to much of the surfing population of Germany, Holland, Belgium, Norway and the UK, The Algarve is also a great place to mingle with your soon-to-be-ex Euro bredren and sistren.
The best part? You can drive there, if you want, making it thoroughly van trippable.
2 months plant based deliciousness will get you there by plane, or by van (based on a VW T5 diesel emission of 200g/km + ferry crossing)
N.B. Going plant-based saves CO2 compared with the average meat & dairy western diet, but doesn’t actually remove any atmospheric CO2, it still generates it, just significantly less. Thus these are savings versus the current lifestyle averages, rather than a genuine method of sequestering CO2 that’s already in our atmosphere, something that will need to be done. If you really want to travel without generating significant amounts of CO2, try sailing.
Photo Alex Lesbats //Ripcurl