Elected one of the five best surf beaches in Brazil and twice home to the World Surf League Qualifying Stages, there is no doubt that Praia do Forte is Bahia’s ultimate beach for surfing. Located on the Costa dos Coqueiros (Coconut Tree Coast), it is 12 kilometres (7.4 miles) long, lined with nodding palms and with a coral bank out to sea that provides both right and left breaks divided by a channel. The area is also home to the T.A.M.A.R. turtle protection project.
The choice and beauty of the multiple surf spots in Itacaré has drawn wave-riders to the town since the ’70s. It is a small peninsula at the mouth of a river with beaches carved out of its coast. Tiririca is one of the most technically advanced and often frequented in the area. Its consistent and high-quality waves have brought national and international competitions to its shores, and on prime days the waves are heavy, rapid and hollow. The current can be strong, however, and take surfers into the rocks.
This beach is so-called because of its famed three-metre (10-foot) high waves which are similar to ones of the same name in Hawaii. It is where top Brazilian pro-surfer Jojó de Olivença cut his teeth and remains a must-surf beach for local and national riders. Between May and September barrels and long walls give surfers plenty to play with, though swimmers are discouraged from entering the water at any time of year.
After 20 minutes of walking through the shady depths of the Mata Atlântica forest on Itacaré’s outskirts, the trail arrives at Praia da Engenhoca. It is a picture-perfect bay, small and slightly enclosed, that is hallowed territory for the town’s surfers. It tends to be sheltered from the northeasterly wind, and is relatively unaffected by tides and so enjoys even, consistent waves year-round. Longboarders particularly enjoying riding here.
Darling little Praia da Batuba is often spoken of as the prettiest beach in the region. The reefs of its shores give consistent surf that can reach as high as three metres (10 feet) that pulls a steady stream of riders. The Circuito Baiano and the Pan American competitions have been held at the bay, and it is as good for watching surfers as it is for getting in the waves themselves.
Those surfers who make the pilgrimage up mountain and down trail are rewarded when they reach the secluded beach of Jeribucaçu. Not only is it a tropical haven, but it has good waves all the months of the year, and especially in the winter when the swell is in the south as it is sheltered from southern winds. It can get a little touristy in the summer, but its remoteness tends to keep it from getting too crowded.
Praia do Farol da Barra is one of the main and most recognized beaches in Bahia’s capital, Salvador. It sits on the city’s southernmost point and at almost any given sunny moment its shores are full with sunning bodies. Surfers buzz about, weaving in the waves, riding a long left off the point break. It can get crowded, but riders are rewarded with convenience, and the city as a backdrop.
The long stretch of sand that edges the Jaguaribe neighborhood in Salvador’s north is a popular and friendly beach. Its long, reliable, and reasonably-sized waves are good for all levels. The water is at its best when the swell is in the south, southeast and west. Lots of people learn to surf here, and there are surf schools on the beach that rent out equipment as well as give lessons.