To hang ten, or just hang loose, with fellow surfers, living near the best swells and breaks is where following your bliss will lead. The benefit to living in one of the world’s most popular surfing locales is that they are also home to beautiful beaches and a laid-back lifestyle. You can find waves and a new way of life, combined on your own little piece of paradise.

North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii
Known as “the country” to Honolulu urbanites, Oahu’s North Shore is one of the most famous surfing spots in the world, especially in winter when the 30ft-high waves attract top international surfers. The North Shore is also credited for being the spot where modern surfing really took off in the 1950s, and the beaches of Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach and Haleiwa, with its “old Hawaii” plantation-style shops, are only an hour from shopping, nightlife and cultural activities in Waikiki and Honolulu.

“The market on the North Shore is way up,” said Jeffrey M Fox, broker-owner of Kahala Associates. “Everyone from surfers, homebuyers from the US West Coast and locals love the ‘hang-loose’ lifestyle.” The most popular communities include Mokuleia, Waialua, Haleiwa, Sunset and Kuilima. North Shore residents are very vigilant about over development and condo construction, so you will find that there is a limited amount of condos and most properties are single-family homes that range in price from around $400,000 to $3.5 million for the top oceanfront residences.

North Shore condos run from around $225,000 to $500,000 (a range that accounts for one or two bedrooms and proximity to the ocean). There are also luxury, oceanfront condos built in association with the Turtle Bay resort, which range from $400,000 to $1,325,000.

Midweek: Oahu weekly news and listings


Southern California
This is the land of the protypical surfer, blond babes and dudes — a true Beach Blanket Babylon. The Pacific coast, from Santa Barbara south to San Diego, and in particular the huge swells of Orange Country, draw devoted surfers and locals who value a way of life that includes spectacular dawn point breaks and offshore winds.

Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and San Clemente are popular towns for surfers in Orange County, just south of Los Angeles. “San Clemente is home to the ‘Trestles’ surf break, one of the best in California, and Newport Beach has ‘the Wedge’, which breaks right on the sand when the surf is big,” said Sam Smith, founder of Beach Cities Real Estate. A few years ago, surfers and conservationists blocked a new road that would have changed the sediment patterns near Trestles.

There are many types of properties available in the area, from condos to single-family homes. “The market is currently very competitive, especially for entry-level single family homes, which there is a huge demand for,” Smith said. Houses start in Newport Beach around $650,000 and in San Clemente at $450,000, while condos in both towns can start around $250,000 for a one-bed and go up from there.

Communities that cater to well-heeled surfers include Cyprus Shore and Cotton Point Estates, home to former President Nixon’s Western White House. Both communities are located near San Clemente, and each have their own private beach. Here, luxury homes range from $1.5 million to $10 million.

Daily Pilot: Newport Beach and the OC local news


While this sometimes stormy and mostly always windswept coast is perhaps not the first choice for international surfers, it is the top spot in the UK and one of the most dramatic and beautiful in the country. Newquay is a large town where many of the surfing schools and great beaches (such as Fistral Beach) are located, but the surfing stretches to its neighbours, like Mawgan Porth and Watergate. “They share many miles of surfing beaches that are linked together at low tide,” explained Guy Morse, director at Lillicrap Chilcott, an estate agency. To the west of Newquay, St Ives has a four-mile crescent beach that catches many swells and has lifeguards in the summer months. Polzeath near Padstow in North Cornwall is an upmarket surfing enclave.

Properties range from cottages and historic houses to modern apartments in Newquay and St Ives, while Polzeath has almost exclusively detached houses built in the 1960s and ‘70s. “The market is flat but busy in all the coastal towns,” said Morse. “There is an oversupply of flats in Newquay, but freehold [meaning you own the property in perpetuity, as opposed to a leasehold) houses are selling well.”

Prices in Newquay tend to be lower, with new apartments for under £200,000. But prices can go up to £800,000 for a beach penthouse. “An average two-bed flat in St Ives would be nearer £300,000, but a waterfront freehold flat can go for more than £1 million,” said Morse. A four-bed single-family house located far from the beach is around £500,000, and contemporary sea-view homes in Polzeath range from £450,000 to £3 million.

Newquay Voice: local news and surf reports


Western Cape, South Africa
Both South Africa’s neighbouring Western and Eastern Capes are magnets for surfers from around the world. The Western Cape includes the city of Cape Town, and its position in the south Atlantic means excellent winter swells.

Popular Western Cape towns and communities for surfers include the Cape Town suburbs of Muizenberg, Llandudno, Noordhoek, Big Bay and Blaauberg, and nearby towns such as Gordon’s Bay and Kommetjie. On the Eastern Cape, Jeffreys Bay is one of the top surfing locales and it hosts the Billabong Pro, a competition among the South Africa’s top-ranked surfers in July.Around Big Bay and Blaauberg, properties are generally apartments, while in Noordhoek and Gordon’s Bay, more houses are available. Llandudno has very upmarket properties and is priced accordingly. “Currently prices are generally flat and in most cases reflect 2007 and 2008 prices unless improvements have been made to the properties,” said Paul Reynolds, CEO of Durr Estates. Generally apartments start around 500,000 rand to the multi-millions in Llandudno.

West Cape News: regional news and photos


New South Wales, Australia
A down-under mirror image to the surfer scene in Southern California, the coast of New South Wales (NSW) is around 1,300km long, stretching from Byron Bay in the north to Ulladulla in the south and includes Sydney beaches like the famous Bondi. In the past 18 months however, the changing climate and a powerful La Nina weather pattern have created new currents that are eroding beaches at an alarming rate. Some beaches have been reduced in size to just 30ft wide and the Sydney government trucked in thousands of tons of sand to rehabilitate the eroded Narrabeen-Collaroy beach, the city’s second-longest.

There are more than 300 surfing beaches up and down the coast, and whether you are looking for less crowds and cooler temperatures on the North Coast or lots of action in the South, there is a spot for all tastes. The Australian real estate market has held steady while most of the rest of the world’s property markets has fallen (however if China reduces its growth, that will have a serious knock-on effect in Australia). Single-family homes near the beach in Coffs Harbour (which has six beaches and three surfing clubs), can start around $400,000 Australian dollars and go up from there. Luxury two-bed condos and apartments near Sydney’s Bondi Beach start at more than $500,000 Australian dollars.

Surfing Australia: surf news, events and reports for every region including NSW