Blessed with white sand beaches, turquoise waters and chilled-out vibes, Malaysia, strangely enough, has never been a go-to destination for the world’s wave-riders. However, in recent years, surfers have slowly floated to the tranquil shores of the eastcoast of Peninsular Malaysia.
The swells of the South China Sea on the east coast are relatively moderate, but they get big and consistent enough to ride during the monsoon seasons. Starting in December and running until February, and then June until August, surfers can expect an average wave height of about three feet.
Concentrated on the coastline between Kuala Terengganu and Kuantan, the top fifteen surf spots in Malaysia are spread along the 200km East Coast Highway. There are some hidden gems in addition to the top 15, so if you have a car, take a drive and see what you can find!
The most famous of these is Cherating beach, where a few surf retreats have emerged, chief among them, Cherating Point. You can get board hire for RM70 for a full day, or RM40 for a half-day. A wide range of boards is available, from beginner soft tops to short boards. If you want some lessons, or need an expert guide for the best local breaks, they’re yours for RM120 (for one and a half hours) or RM110 (for a group of three, which includes equipment).
If you visit the area outside of the monsoon season, but still want to get on the water, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is the way to go. It’s a great mode of exploring Malaysia’s coastline, as it’s more comfortable than a canoe and is very easy to learn. At Malaysia Sea Sports in Tanjung Resang (further south, in Johor state), they offer great packages for SUP’s set right on the beach, as well as other great water sports, like diving, kite-surfing and sailing.
Finally, if you are in the landlocked capital city, but still want some waves to ride, head to Sunway Lagoon, which has the world’s largest, man-made surf beach, capable of producing 8-foot waves; as well as a FlowRider board simulator, which is a lot of fun, especially if you want to try standing!
Ridden by greats such as Mick Fanning and Taj Burrow when they come to Malaysia, the surf beach is a musttry if you have the itch to ride, but can’t leave the city. At time of going to press, the wave pool is open on the weekends only after 6pm – so it’s advisable to call and book before making the trip.
Kampung Cherating, 26080, Pahang