Have you been wondering the best places to surf in September? I’ve got you covered!
In this guide, we’ve rounded up the best places to surf in September from destinations all over the world. September is an underrated, but fantastic month for surfers.
It marks the tail end of the south swell season, and also the beginning of the north swell season in some parts of the world, meaning a variety of different breaks are working.
Since September is also a shoulder season, surf lineups are likely to be much lower in September than the summer months in these destinations.
From Samoa to Morocco, here are the best places to surf in September. Enjoy!
** This article contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Meaning, at no extra cost to you, I earn a small commission anytime you purchase any of the linked products. Thanks for your support of Gathering Waves!
- 11 amazing places to surf in September
- FAQs about the best September surf trips
11 amazing places to surf in September
Here are our top picks for the best places to surf in September:
1. California – Best place to surf in September in the US
If you’re wondering where to surf in September and located in the US, California is an easy option. Especially for beginner and intermediate surfers.
September is when California welcomes its first touches of North Pacific swell, marking the beginning of the winter surf season. However, the surf isn’t huge in September- it’s typically clean waves, with perfect conditions for beginners and intermediates to get some practice catching green waves.
Southern California is a great September surf destination, and optimal for spots like Trestles, the surf in Huntington Beach, and Malibu. Meanwhile, Northern California’s Pacifica and Santa Cruz surfing areas offer more rugged adventures for those willing to brave colder waters and challenging breaks.
I’m pretty partial to the surf breaks around SLO County, where September greets you with glass perfection- and much fewer crowds than down south.
If you’re after an epic road trip, consider even taking a Highway One/ Big Sur surf trip.
California surf conditions in September
Diving into the surf conditions in September, Southern California generally experiences waves in the 3-5 feet range. In contrast, Northern California’s waves range from 4-8 feet, with spikes during pronounced swells.
More popular surf breaks like Trestles or Huntington tend to draw a crowd, especially on weekends. Overall, September is a fairly crowded month for surfing in California. It’s the start of the surf season, so EVERYONE has been waiting all summer for these swells.
Those chasing empty lineups should aim for dawn patrol, or those midday offshore wind sessions.
Cost of a surf trip to California in September
- Flights: From mainland US: $100-$300, from Australia: $900-$1200, from Europe: $600-$1000.
- Rental Car: Expect to pay around $250-$400 for a week of a rental car in California.
- Accommodations: Prices vary greatly for hotels in California. You can find everything from budget motels at $50/night to luxury resorts at $300+/night. Average is around $100-$150/night. There are even a few fun surf hostels you can book for $50/night, this hostel on Pacific Beach is pretty neat!
- Food: Eating out can cost $30-$50 per day on a modest budget, but consider more if you’re dining at upscale restaurants.
California water temperature in September
One of my favorite parts of California surfing in September, is that it’s the warmest time of year for water temps! That doesn’t mean it’s warm warm though, you’ll still need to suit up. At least your toes won’t be totally frozen though.
The air temperature hovers between a cool 65°F (18°C) in the northern regions to a warmer 75°F (24°C) down south. Water temperatures of Northern California hover around 58°F (14°C), the southern coastline is a tad more forgiving at 65°F (18°C). Gear-wise, southerners can make do with a 3/2mm wetsuit, or even a spring suit on the warmers days. However, those up north might want to slip into a 4/3mm or even a 5/4mm wetsuit, depending on how far north you go.
🚗Rent a car to explore California’s off the beaten path surf breaks
2. Outer Banks- Best East Coast US September surf destination
The Outer Banks of North Carolina, affectionately known as OBX, is another top contender when considering where to surf in September. This slender thread of barrier islands is blessed with an oceanic exposure, drawing in consistent Atlantic swells and fostering an unmatched surf culture.
The region is well-known for surf spots like Rodanthe, Hatteras, and Nags Head, each bringing a unique charm to the surf table. With shifting sandbanks and numerous breaks, the versatility of the waves here is its hallmark.
The quintessential beach towns sprinkled across the OBX embody the spirit of coastal Americana. With wooden boardwalks, local seafood joints, and an air of unhurried leisure, it’s more than just a surf destination—it’s a little slice of paradise.
Outer Banks surf conditions in September
In September, the Outer Banks typically present waves between 4-6 feet, although hurricane season can occasionally pump out larger and more powerful sets.
These islands do attract their fair share of surfers- expect some crowds, especially during weekends and holidays. Early mornings or late afternoons are your best bet for finding those uncrowded lineups.
Cost of a surf trip to Outer Banks in September
- Flights: From the mainland US to Norfolk International Airport, flights range from $150-$450. For travelers from Europe, flights range from $700-$1100. From Australia to the Outer Banks, flights range from $1200-$2000.
- Rental Car: A week’s car rental in OBX can range between $200-$350.
- Accommodation: Hotels in OBX start at $70/night for basic beachside inns, and go up to $250-$500/night for luxury oceanfront homes.
- Food: Expect to spend about $40-$80 per day for meals.
Outer Banks water temperature in September
In September, air temperatures in the Outer Banks are around 75°F (24°C) to 80°F (27°C). Water temperatures here in September are at about 77°F (25°C). A light 2/2mm wetsuit or even board shorts and rash vests would suffice for most days, though you might want a 3/2mm handy for cooler days or evening sessions.
🚗 Rent a car to explore off the beaten path surf breaks in the Outer Banks
3. Northern Spain
When one imagines Spain, flamenco dancing and matadors might first come to mind. However, to surfers, it’s even more than that.
As September rolls in, the coastline, particularly in the Basque Country and Cantabria, beckons with a multitude of options for surfers. Mundaka, Zarautz, and Rodiles are just a few names in the lineup.
Northern Spain surf conditions in September
In September, surf conditions in Northern Spain are generally in the 3-4 foot range. However, the surf can get much bigger during Atlantic storm seasons. Some lineups are particularly crowded, like in San Sebastian, but there are some pockets of solitude to be found.
Since it’s not full blown swell season yet, conditions are good for beginners, and intermediate surfers in particular.
Cost of a surf trip to Northern Spain in September
- Flights: From the US to Bilbao Airport, flights range from $500-$900. From other place in Europe, flights range from $50-$300. From Australia to Northern Spain, expect to pay in the range of $1000-$1500.
- Rental Car: Prices for a week of a rental car in Northern Spain hover around $150-$300.
- Accommodation: Hostels in surf towns around Northern Spain start at around $35/40 a night, and as for hotels in Northern Spain surf towns, the going rate starts at around $70/night.
- Food: Budget $35-$70/day for dining out during your surf trip in Northern Spain.
Northern Spain water temperature in September
In September, air temperatures rest between 70°F (21°C) and 75°F (24°C). The water is a little cooler, averaging around 66°F (19°C). You’ll want a 3/2mm wetsuit on hand, with some even opting for a 4/3mm on cooler days or early morning sessions.
🛏Best Surf Hostel in Northern Spain: Surfing Extea
Looking for a tropical September surf trip?
Check out Samoa, an archipelago nestled in the heart of the South Pacific.
The two main islands, both Upolu and Savai’i, both have some great waves in September.
Samoa offers a good mix of lefts and rights, reef breaks, and lush, tropical beauty. Boulders, Coconuts, and Wacka are some of the most popular surf spots in Samoa.
Samoa surf conditions in September
Waves in September in Samoa consistently hit the 4-6 feet mark, though larger swells aren’t uncommon, especially when Pacific storms roll in.
Though Samoa’s surf scene is burgeoning, it’s fairly uncrowded.
The surf breaks in Samoa are best for intermediate and experienced surfers.
Cost of a surf trip to Samoa in September
- Flights: From the US to Faleolo International Airport, flights range from $900-$1400. For travelers from Europe, flights range from $1100-$1700. From Australia to Samoa, flights range from $400-$800.
- Accommodation: Basic accommodations for hotels in Samoa start at about $25/night, and prices go up to upscale resorts at $250-$500/night.
- Food: On a budget, $20/day is good for food expenses. On the higher end, you could spend up to $70/day on food.
Samoa water temperature in September
Samoa in September is pure tropical bliss, and it’s also surfing the dry season.
Air temperatures float around 80°F (27°C) to 85°F (29°C).
The ocean, meanwhile, is a balmy 82°F (28°C), allowing surfers to enjoy extended sessions in board shorts and a rash vest. Though it’s warm, sun protection, considering the island’s proximity to the equator, is crucial. Be sure to bring plenty of reef safe sunscreen and a rash guard.
🏝 Coconuts Beach Club is steps away from the surf 🏄♂️
5. Southern France
Southern France is another of the best places to surf in September.
The Aquitaine region, encompassing iconic spots like Biarritz, Hossegor, and Lacanau, is excellent for surfing this time of year.
Southern France surf conditions in September
In September, average wave sizes on the coast of Southern France are around 5 feet, with some days smaller, and some days much bigger.
Popular spots can get very busy, especially during competitions, and especially in early September- things start to thin out later in the month as the summer tourists head out.
Even at the more crowded breaks, a short drive can often lead to quieter breaks. The waves are pretty versatile in Southern France, catering to both beginner surfers and advanced.
Cost of a surf trip to Southern France in September
- Flights: From the US to Biarritz Airport, flights range from $600-$1000. Travelers from elsewhere in Europe can expect to pay $40-$250, and from Australia to Southern France, flights are around $1100-$1700.
- Rental Car: A week’s rental car in Southern France costs between $200-$350.
- Accommodation: For surf hotels in France, budget between $50 to $250+ per night depending on your travel style. A bed in a dorm in a hostel starts at $32.
- Food: From local bakeries to fine dining, budget about $40-$100 per day for food in France.
Southern France water temperature in September
The weather during September in Southern France is pretty pleasant.
Air temperatures hover between 70°F (21°C) and 77°F (25°C), and water temps average around 68°F (20°C).
A spring suit or 3/2mm wetsuit is the popular choice in September.
🤩 Explore the best surf camps in France
Fiji is another fantastic choice for tropical surf trips in September.
A picturesque archipelago made up of more than 300 islands, Fiji has more than its fair share of world-class surf breaks.
Fiji’s dry season runs from May through September, and September in Fiji brings sunny days, consistent swells, and crystal-clear waters.
Fiji surf conditions in September
September is the tail end of the big wave season in Fiji, meaning waves are pretty solid for intermediate surfers.
Wave sizes in September in Fiji are in the 4-6 foot range, but on bigger days, some breaks still go 6-10 feet.
Cost of a surf trip to Fiji in September
- Flights: From the US, flights to Fiji go for about $800-$1500. From Europe, flights are about $900-$1500.From Australia to Fiji, flights range from $350-$650.
- Accommodation: For hotels in Fiji, Prices range from beachfront bures (huts) at $60/night to luxurious island resorts at $400-$800/night.
- Food: Budget approximately $40-$90 per day to sample your fair share of seafood and delicious tropical fruits.
Fiji water temperature in September
In September, air temperatures linger between 77°F (25°C) and 84°F (29°C), for the perfect sun-soaked ambiance. Water temps typically hover around 79°F (26°C).
A surf suit or board shorts, a rash guard, and maybe even a pair of reef booties are most surfers’ go-to attire.
🌊 This Fiji surf hotel is not only beautiful, but also affordable!
Hawaii, often hailed as the birthplace of modern surfing, continues to be a magnetic pull for surfers from every corner of the globe.
By the time September rolls around, there’s a bit more swell than around the summer months, and it’s not nearly as big as the winter months, which is great for less experienced surfers.
Plus, September is one of the least touristed months in Hawaii, meaning flight prices are at an all-year low- perfect if you’re trying to take a surf trip on a budget!
Hawaii surf conditions in September
As the Hawaiian summer begins to transition, September delivers consistent, manageable swells, especially to the south shores. While the North Shore of Oahu starts seeing the early hints of its legendary winter swells, overall, the islands remain relatively calm, making it great for all skill levels.
Expect waves in the 3-6 feet range, with some southern spots occasionally firing up even bigger sets.
Cost of a surf trip to Hawaii in September
- Flights: From the US mainland to Hawaii, flights range from $300-$700. From Europe, flights range from $900-$1400, and from Australia to Hawaii, flights range from $800-$1200.
- Rental Car: On average, a week’s rental car in Hawaii is between $250-$450.
- Accommodation: Hotels in Hawaii range from modest motels at $90/night to beachfront resorts at $300-$700/night.
- Food: If you plan to eat out most of your meals, budget $50-$100/day for food.
Hawaii water temperature in September
During September in Hawaii, air temps sit between 78°F (25°C) and 85°F (29°C), perfect for beach lounging post-surf.
Ocean temps are typically between 78°F (25°C) to 80°F (27°C), meaning a pair of trunks or a surf bikini is all you need.
8. South Africa
September catches the tail end of the swell in South Africa from the Roaring 40’s, making South African an excellent September surf trip choice for experienced surfers looking to ride some bigger waves.
Jeffrey’s Bay (J-Bay), Muizenberg, and Durban are some spots to look out for in South Africa, along with a multitude of others.
South Africa surf conditions in September
September brings consistent swells along South Africa’s 1,770-mile coastline. The Western Cape, facing the Atlantic, boasts cold, powerful waves, while the eastern shores, bathed by the Indian Ocean, are warmer with a mix of beach breaks and points. Jeffreys Bay, often abbreviated as J-Bay, is particularly attractive this time of the year, with 3-7 feet waves that can run for almost a kilometer.
Beginners might find the Eastern Cape’s beach breaks more manageable, while advanced surfers should look into those western surf spots.
Cost of a surf trip to South Africa in September
- Flights: From the US to Cape Town International Airport: $800-$1500. For travelers from Europe, flights range from $600-$1100. From Australia to South Africa, flights are typically in the range of $700-$1200.
- Rental Car: Costs for a week with a rental car in South Africa typically lie between $200-$500.
- Accommodation: Hostels in South Africa starts at around $9/night, and hotel rooms in South Africa start at around $20/$30 a night and can go all the way up to five-star lodgings at $250-$600/night.
- Food: Depending on your travel style, you shoul budget $30-$90 a day for dining out in South Africa.
South Africa water temperature in September
In Cape Town and the Western Cape, the Atlantic keeps water temperatures cooler, averaging between 55°F (13°C) and 60°F (16°C).
On the eastern front, from Port Elizabeth to Durban, the Indian Ocean is considerably warmer with temperatures often at 65°F (18°C) to 70°F (21°C). For the Atlantic waters, you’ll probably want a 4/3mm, while you might be good with 3/2mm on the other side.
🐘 South Africa has some AMAZING surf camps
Perched on the western edge of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal is by far one of the best places to surf in September. In fact, I spent all of last September surfing in Portugal, including surfing in Arrifana, exploring the famous surf breaks in Ericeira, road tripping and surfing all over the Algarve, and more.
If you’re looking to take a European surf trip in September, Portugal is a fantastic option.
Portugal surf conditions in September
September is a fun time in Portugal. It’s the tail end of the busy European holliday season, so early September will likely be quite crowded.
However, as the month continues, the crowds thin out and the surf conditions only improve.
Cost of a surf trip to Portugal in September
Flight: From the US to Portugal, flights range from $550-$950. For travelers from elsewhere in Europe, flights range $40-$300. From Australia to Portugal, flights range from $1100-$1800.
Rental Car: A week with a rental car in Portugal ranges from $180-$330.
Food: Daily expenses for Portuguese cuisine, known for its seafood and pastries, range from $30-$80.
Portugal water temperature in September
The weather in Portugal is AMAZING in September. Along the northern and central coasts, expect sea temperatures of 64°F (18°C) to 68°F (20°C).
The southern Algarve region is slightly warmer, hovering around 70°F (21°C) to 72°F (22°C). A 3/2mm wetsuit is the go-to choice for most surfers during this period.
With that said, I was super warm during my whole surf trip in September and would have preferred to have a 2mm spring suit! If you’re planning a surf trip and wondering what to pack, check out my ultimate Portugal surf trip packing list.
🏄♀️🏄♂️ Check out our guide to the best surf camps in Portugal.
10. Morocco- Best budget place to surf in September
In September, the scorching summer heat subsides, the Atlantic Ocean springs to life, bringing tons of waves to the entire Moroccan coastline.
Iconic surf spots like Anchor Point, Killer Point, and Boilers all start to turn on in September.
If you’re looking for good waves, exploring a vibrant culture, and one of the cheapest surf trips, you’ll love a September surf trip to Morocco.
Morocco surf conditions in September
September marks the onset of the North Atlantic swell season for Morocco. Taghazout and the surrounding areas present a smorgasbord of waves.
Beginners might gravitate towards the sandy breaks of Panoramas, while experienced surfers might chase the long, peeling right-handers at Anchor Point. Wave sizes during this transitional month generally range from 2-6 feet, but certain swells can push that mark, especially at more exposed breaks.
Cost of a surf trip to Morocco in September
- Flights: From Europe, flights to Morocco range between $50-$250. From the US, flights range from $450-$950. From Australia, expect somewhere between $1,200-$1,600.
- Rental Car: A week’s car rental in Morocco will cost between $180-$320.
- Accommodation: From surf hostels at $10/night to upscale hotels in the heart of the medinas, prices for nicer hotels in Morocco can vary between $60-$200/night.
- Food: To enjoy the Moroccan cuisine, from street food to fine dining, budget approximately $20-$60 per day.
Morocco water temperature in September
The Moroccan coastline experiences relatively mild water temperatures. In September, surfers can expect waters around Taghazout and the north to hover between 68°F (20°C) to 72°F (22°C). A 3/2mm wetsuit will be the go-to for most, although some might still prefer a surf suit or a spring suit.
🐫🏄♂️ Browse the best surf camps in Morocco
11. Scorpion Bay, Mexico
Scorpion Bay, locally known as Bahia San Juanico, tucked away on the rugged coasts of Baja California Sur, stands as one of surfing’s whispered secrets.
A legendary right-hand point break, it’s said that on its best days, the waves can connect for seven long sections, offering rides that can last over two minutes.
September catches the tail end of the South swell season, lending to near perfect surfing conditions for beginners and intermediates looking for long, cruisy right hand waves. Thanks to its excellent waves this time of year, Scorpion Bay is one of the best places to surf in September.
Scorpion Bay surf conditions in September
In September, waves in Scorpion Bay are usually anywhere in the 2-6 foot range, although big storms can bring much bigger surf.
It can get a little crowded, but there are multiple different points to surf which helps increase the amount of waves for everyone.
Cost of a surf trip to Scorpion Bay in September
- Flights: From the US to Loreto International Airport (the closest major airport), flights range from $200-$600. For travelers from Europe, flights range from $550-$900. Flights from Australia typically range from $1000-$1700.
- Rental Car: Rentals cars from Loreto range from $100-$250/week.
- Accommodations: Whether you’re camping on the beach for around $10/night or staying in hotels for $50-$150/night, Scorpion Bay offers a range of options.
- Food: From fresh ceviche to all the street tacos your heart could desire, budget about $20-$50 per day.
Scorpion Bay water temperature in September
The waters around Scorpion Bay are at their warmest in September, and hover around 76°F (24°C) to 79°F (26°C). Air temps are HOT in September- it gets up to 97 during the day, and dips down to 70 at night.
Many opt for a swimsuit or boardshorts, though it’s nice to have a light spring suit for early sessions.
FAQs about the best September surf trips
Where is good for surfing in September?
September is a great month for surfing! Some of the best places to surf in September are California, Outer Banks, Northern Spain, Samoa, Southern France, Fiji, Morocco, Portugal, Scorpion Bay, South Africa, and Hawaii.
Where can I surf in Autumn?
Autumn, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere, brings consistent swells and often less crowded beaches. Top choices for autumn surf trips include California’s coastline, the Outer Banks in North Carolina, Portugal, and Northern Spain.
If you’re curious about other places to surf in autumn, check out our guide detailing the best places to surf in October!
Is September good for surfing in Portugal?
Yes! September surf in Portugal means warm waves, fun surf, amazing weather, and a decline in the crowds of summer.
Can you surf in San Diego in September?
Absolutely! San Diego is a year-round surf destination, but September often sees warmer water temperatures and consistent south swells. And like many others of the best places to surf in September, it’s less crowded 😉
Have an epic September surf trip
That’s a wrap on our guide to the best places to surf in September. I hope you found this guide helpful in planning your next surf trip.
If you’re still feeling stumped, I would love to help you plan your next surf trip- just head on over to my Surf Trip Planning Services page.