Where to Surf in November

Matt Rode

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Updated 36d ago

October ended with a bang as Hawaii enjoyed its season-opener swell just as the month came to a close. Although not quite an XXL swell, it was big enough to see a few warmup sessions at Waimea and the outer reefs, and to ensure the contest at Sunset Beach ran in stellar conditions. Meanwhile, opening week at Pipe saw a handful of excellent barrels ridden between the wonk and chaos of early season sand that typically plagues the reef after months of summer.

Hawaii has historically been the spiritual home of surfing, and the North Shore is the standard against which all other surf zones are measured, so now that the winter surf season has “officially” begun, let’s see what November has in store for us. While the global models are actually relatively quiet over the next two weeks, there are a few zones that have some fun on the forecast.

North Shore

Everyone is there right now, and they are here for a reason. Not only is it Triple Crown season, but the next few months are prime time along the Seven-Mile Miracle, and things are already looking good. Fresh on the heels of this week’s XL swell, a smaller, shorter-period north swell should fill in around November 4 from a storm located relatively close to the islands. Although it won’t be as big as this last one, 9 feet at 14 seconds is nothing to sniff at.

Forecast: Hawaii

Winds are light/variable on the North Shore at the moment, so there should be no shortage of spots that light up on this next swell—at least until the seabreezes kick in mid-morning. Expect Sunset and Pipe to see the majority of the action on this swell, which will come in just below the level needed to turn on the deep-water big-wave spots. And on the long range, the high pressure over the west Pacific has fallen apart, which means we are more likely to see continued swell development in the weeks ahead.


Although the forecast has downgraded a bit, there is still a pretty constant run of northwest swell on tap for north Africa during the first week of November. Expect a solid pulse midweek, around the 5th and 6th, followed by larger swell on the weekend of the 9th/10th. Then even more swell is popping up on the long-range forecast, making this a great time to head to Marrakech.

Spot guide: Morocco

The Eastern Caribbean

A moderate to solid swath of northeast swell is currently on its way toward the eastern Caribbean, with island nations such as Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the American and British Virgin Islands poised to capitalise as the month begins.

Forecast: Caribbean

As the season continues to deepen, this area will start to enjoy more winter swells with less of the risk that comes from autumn hurricanes, which means it's a great time for fun in the sun, followed by sweaty nights full of rum and salsa dancing.


Surf in the Rocky Mountains? Of course not. But there is snow—and way more of it than you typically find this time of year. A series of early season storms dumped multiple feet during the last two weeks of October, bringing some areas to more than 500% of the normal snowpack in early November.

A-Basin opened more than two weeks ago, and a handful of other resorts have moved their opening days up to the first week of November—the earliest opening dates in decades for a number of them. If you need a break from the ocean but still want to shred, an early season snowboarding trip just might be the answer.

Cover shot: Imsouane by Mariss Balodis