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When we hear the word "surfing," it conjures up images of sandy stretches of beach lined with palms, sun, sea and peroxide blondes. Surfing is more than just a sport in most parts of the world – it's a lifestyle.
People might have been riding waves hundred of years ago on the Pacific Islands, but one of the most overlooked surfing destinations in the world is Jamaica.
Perhaps Jamaica seems like an unlikely spot for surf lovers, trapped as it is in the middle of the tranquil Caribbean Sea, with neighboring Cuba and Hispanola cutting its waters off from swell from the Atlantic Ocean, but the truth is that Jamaica has some hidden and exciting surf spots dotted around the island.
So where should surf lovers flock to on Jamaica?
If you're looking for a region rich in dynamic waves, then head to the southeast of the island, in the stretch that spans from Kingston down to Long Bay and Boston Bay to the east. Close to Kingston, you'll find the island of South East Cay. You'll have to charter a boat, but it's worth it for the waves.
Also in the Kingston area, around 8 miles outside of the Jamaican capital, you'll find Bull Bay, which is one of the most popular surfing destinations on the island. It's here you'll find the world famous break called the Zoo. Also check out Copacabana, known to many locals as Copa, this wave garners a lot of power when it swells and you can enjoy many long rides here – that's if you're daring surfer with high lung capacity. Another area worth checking out is Cable Hut Beach, this is more mellow, and sits outside the left point break and will only show once the swells from the southeast are larger than 6 feet.
East of Bull Bay, in the direction towards Yallahs, you'll find one of the most consistent waves in Jamaica, known as Makka. This is a fun left point break, and some even say it's able to hold more than a double over-head.
The stretch of coast between Morant and Yallahs is a great spot for those looking for some quieter surf potential. Many points aren't named and even the christened ones are underground in the surfing world, which means no one is likely to offer you directions. Just keep an eye on the water as you drive, paying close attention to the river mouth break, although take care with the crocodiles, and a few left hand breaks.
One other good spot to check out is Morant Point Lighthouse. Find it on a map or ask a local. Your journey will take you through fields of sugar canes and mills up tp the lighthouse. This open-ocean beach break is seldom flat, and the winds here help keep the waters exciting. It's definitely worth a visit, if only for the natural beauty.
The Ranch is situated north of Manchioneal, and you can find four unique breaks that'll show up regardless of the swell direction. It's also a great spot to camp.
Near Port Antonio, Long Bay and Boston Bay are the best known surf spots, but despite their renown, you won't encounter crowds here. Long Bay is marked by a long white, sandy beach whole Boston Bay has the longest history of surfing in Jamaica. It has been the place to surf on the island for decades, and while it might not sport the best waves in Jamaica, Long Bay is more consistent, both are definitely worth checking out.