Did you know there’s an island paradise with warm weather and water year-round, super fun beach breaks, consistency, and natural beauty to rival any surf destination on the planet? Florianopolis offers all of the above and more!
Situated in the Santa Catarina region in southern Brazil, the subtropical island paradise offers all the spoils of one of the world’s best surf destinations. Whether you’re after a digital nomad surfing base or a South American surf destination to focus on surfing, Floripa is it!
The waves are fun, there’s barrels on offer frequently, and the numerous spots mean there’s something to surf every day, no matter what the conditions or your ability. Here’s everything you need to know about surfing in Florianopolis.
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Florianopolis Surf Season
While the island enjoys great waves year-round, the Florianopolis surf season can be considered winter. Which in Brazil runs from April – October. This is when the largest swells are created from storms deep down in the roaring forties and send the largest ground swells to the Brazilian coast.
While significantly cooler than other spots further north in the country, the weather in Floripa is warm year round and although the mornings are a little chilly, you can surf in a 3/2 all year round and even surf in boardies during the summer.
Florianopolis Surf Spots
The island of Florianopolis boasts a wide array of spots for all abilities. But don’t be fooled; despite Brazil’s reputation for having crappy average beach breaks, the waves here pack a punch and get heavy… Below are some of the most well-known spots in the area.
When over 4ft, a super consistent spot turns into a menacing closeout. On smaller days, punchy peaks up and down the beach are perfect for intermediate to advanced surfers.
The banks change at Mole, but it’s a super reliable spot, with waves almost all the time. There is usually a left wedge breaking off the rocks at the Northen end–which is sick but the most crowded peak.
Praia da Galheta
North of Praia Mole is Galheta. A beautiful stretch of beach is only accessible by walking the trail from Mole. This takes around 15 minutes, and the walk is beautiful. The waves at galheta are usually punchier than Mole, and it is the go-to spot when it’s too big at Mole.
If the wind is north and ruining Mole, walk to the northern end of Galehta, and it will be offshore and more protected. Super fun when it’s bigger with the wind blowing into the rights. Tubes and air sections!
One of the centerpieces of surfing in Florianopolis. Another super reliable beach break is located in the island’s center—fun, punchy, and, at times, heavy. Popular and easily accessible means this spot does get crowded but walk down the beach, and you’ll find peaks to yourself.
More protected due to Isla Campeche covering E/SE swells, but on larger days, swell wraps around the island to create shallow barreling wedges running down the sandbar, which on the best days is reminiscent of Snapper in Australia.
A long stretch of beach runs for miles at the island’s northern end. The potential for peaks up and down the beach means you can often score great waves here with little to no one else around.
Barra Da Lagoa
The perfect sheltered corner (in south winds, at least) for beginners and intermediates. Tucked into the corner is the ideal beginner spot with small waves even on the biggest days, and as the beach bends around toward Mocambique, the waves get progressively bigger as you go, so pick the size you want to surf.
Where is Florianopolis?
Florianopolis is an island in the south of Brazil in the state of Santa Catarina.
Fly to Floripa from any major city in Brazil. There are direct services from Rio, Sao Paulo, and most major cities; Sky Airlines and LATAM are the two major carriers in the country. You can also find direct flights from other cities across South America. For example, I flew directly from Santiago in Chile, which cost around $ 350 USD. From further afield, you’ll need to connect through Sao Paulo or Rio, then hop on a domestic flight to Floripa.
The bus is a great option if you’re already in Brazil, particularly if you’re on a budget surf trip or traveling elsewhere in South America. Although the distances are long in Brazil, many bus services cater to this and are complete with A/C, wifi, and comfy reclining seats. If you’ve ever traveled on the buses in Brazil, please let me know of your experience in the comments.
You can get to Florianopolis by car if you’re coming from another city in Brazil (just be prepared for super long distances). Hiring a car is also a great way to get around in Floripa, and gives you the most freedom in surfing the best breaks on the best days. Find the best hire car prices here.
Floripa has long been established on the Brazilian surfing map and is widely regarded as one of the best locations to be a surfer in Brazil. A huge claim in a country comparable in size to Australia and where surfing is as popular as football.
With an abundance of spots for all abilities and many of Brazil’s top WSL QS surfers coming from the area, it’s no wonder the place has such a reputation. Brazil and Floripa remain relatively “off the radar” for many traveling surfers, and unless you’re on the QS, the nation of Brazil and this little island remain largely overlooked.
But should it be this way? I was intrigued, so I booked a ticket and headed to Floripa. Here I break down everything you need to know about surfing Florianopolis. From the different spots, where to stay, what surfing is like here, what to eat and how to get there.
Despite Brazil’s reputation for crappy waves, Floripa is the refreshing opposite… Consistent, punchy beach breaks and year-round sun. What’s not to love?
Where To Stay?
There are numerous accommodation options scattered across Florianopolis, many of which serve as the perfect spot for surfers and digital nomads. Here are some of the best.
I stayed at Selina Floripa, a chain of excellent hostels catering to backpackers and digital nomads across Latin America.
Selina Floripa is located perfectly across the road from Praia Mole and boasts a restaurant, surf shop, barbers, dorm and private rooms, and an epic co-work space. If you work online and want to surf, look no further.
If you’re looking for a wicked place to meet surfers, have a good time, and be seconds away from one of Florianopolis’ best beginner breaks, there’s nowhere better than Duque Hostel.
With wifi, A/C, hammocks, and a swimming pool, Duque provides everything you need for a comfortable and social surf trip to Florianopolis. Dorms start at $20usd per night.
Sea Wolf Surf Club Hostel
Another budget surf trip-friendly hostel just minutes from Barra Lagoa. Boasting a 24-hour front desk, wifi, and sea views, Sea Wolf Surf Club makes going surfing in Florianopolis and relaxing between sessions simple and easy. Prices start from as little as $15usd per night for a dorm.
Floripa Surf Hostel
If you want to stay close to one of the best waves in Florianopolis, Floripa Surf Hostel puts you almost directly in front of the wedge at Campeche. Hammock space, BBQ, and affordable prices make this an awesome spot to (hopefully) get tubed and meet surfers from round the world.
Tips for Surfing in Floripa
While for Brazilian standards, Floripa is uncrowded, the best banks at well-known spots due get crowded. After all, a lot of people surf here, and surfing is a huge part of living on the island.
As always, respect the locals, and if you get sick of battling for waves, head down the beach or walk over to a secluded corner and you’ll find plenty of options for yourself.
While not as much of an issue as other spots in Brazil, such as Rio or Saquarema, Some beaches in Floripa still get their fair share of backwash. banks change so much so one day you can be surfing a really fun shorey bank, and the very next day it turns into a backwashy closeout.
After my first surf in Floripa, I was shocked to see how much power and punch the beaches had! Brazil has a bad rep for weak, mushy waves, but the reality here is far from it. when the swell pushes 4ft, the waves throw and there’s proper tubes on offer.
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Digital Nomad in Florianopolis?
Florianopolis is a beautiful island and showcases stunning white sand beaches, lush green hills, lakes and nature. While you could spend most of your downtime, laying on the beach, soaking rays and sipping Caparinhas, there are some excellent walks to do around Floripa. many of which lead to waterfalls and great views.
Additionally, if you’re more of a night owl, head into Centro and sample some of the lively after hours activities. Brazilians certainly know how to party!
Despite Brazil’s reputation for average surf and aggressive crowds, having been here and spent, I can safely say that presumption is wrong. And if surfing in Florianopolis is anything to go by, Brazil boasts pumping, heavy waves, and enough spots to spread out the crowds.
Florianopolis has enough different spots to cater to all abilities and can keep a surfer happy for months at a time. Seriously I didn’t leave the place for weeks. To summarize, I’d highly recommend staying at Selina, surfing Mole, and exploring all this paradise island has to offer from there.
I hope this post has helped inspire and informed you to head to Floripa and get some waves. Let me know how you go in the comments. For more information on surfing in Brazil, check out my guide to surfing in Rio. Or discover more surf spots with the complete guide to surfing in South America.