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Q: Surfing & scuba diving ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Surfing & scuba diving
Category: Sports and Recreation > Travel
Asked by: riche-ga
List Price: $6.00
Posted: 22 Oct 2003 21:29 PDT
Expires: 21 Nov 2003 20:29 PST
Question ID: 268908
I need help figuring out where to go on vacation with my girlfriend. 
What are some good vacation destinations where she can scuba dive
(she's certified already) and I can learn how to surf?

I'd like a list of 5 or 6 destinations.  We live in New York City and
would prefer not to fly more than 7 hours.  I was thinking somwhere in
the caribbean, but I'd like someone who knows something about surfing
and scuba diving (and might have actually been to some of these
places) to make the recommendations, since I don't know much on the
subject.  I'd, ideally, like to spend less than $1000/person (hotel &
flight or $1500 all-inclusive) for about 7 days during the last week
of November or the 1st week of December.  I don't need specific travel
fares or deals (just specific beaches, areas of islands, etc), but it
would be nice, if it's not too much trouble.
Subject: Re: Surfing & scuba diving
Answered By: omniscientbeing-ga on 22 Oct 2003 22:45 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars

As a certified PADI Divemaster and marine biologist  who lived in the
Florida Keys for several years, and who now lives and surfs in
southern California, I feel qualified to Answer your Question.

I'll list possible destinations for you here. The real trick is
finding a place that is good for both diving and surfing. I could list
a ton that are good for either or, but it's touch to come up with
places that have surfable waves and good diving that meet your
criteria. That said, here are my suggestions:

I’ve been to the Bahamas with my girlfriend on a 1 week snorkeling
trip (she’s not certified but is an avid snorkeller), so I”ll start
off with that:

1. Nassau, Bahamas.-- Excellent snorkeling and SCUBA diving. Surf only
if you can charter a boat to take you to the outer reef breaks.
There’s not really surfable waves on the main island of Nausau, but
there are remote reef breaks if you’re willing to pay a charter to
take you there. The diving is easy access. Besides that, night life is
there if you want it, as well as fine dining, gambling and just plain
relaxing on the white sand beaches.Cable Beach is the main beach
tourst area where most of the beach hotels are.  English spoken
everywhere, US dollars accepted. U.S. passports are not necessary *if*
you have an original birth certificate with you as well as a driver
license. You’d probably fly from NY to MIA (Miami Airport or perhaps
Fort Lauderdale) and from their a smaller jet goes to the Nassau. It’s
about a 45 min. flight from Miami to Nassau.

Search google for “Nassau Bahamas” and you’ll find plenty of info.
“Atlantis” is the fanciest resort there. Nassau Beach Hotel is about
as inexpensive as it gets to stay on the sand. If you stay in a hotel
downtown, out of the main tourism area, it’s much cheaper. Taxis and
shuttles abound.

2. Florida Keys—
Again, fantastic snorkeling and SCUBA diving (John Pennekamp State
Park is there, in Key Largo), but here there is absolutely zero surf.
Diving in the Keys is best in Key Largo and Key West. There is also
some good diving in the middle Keys around Marathon, but you’ll need
an experienced boat captain to take you there.

Although there is no surf in the Keys, Sebastian Inlet, on the Florida
mainland, is known for good surf, depending on the conditions. It’s
about a 6 hour drive north from Key Largo. So, you could conceivably
rent a car and head up there for a day or 2 out of your stay in the

Search Google for “Florida Keys” and you’ll find plenty of info.

3. Bermuda—

Haven’t beent there myself, but I know people who have. Nice diving.
Surg occasionally if the conditions are right. Relatively close to you
in NY.

Search Google for “Bermuda.” To find more details on the surf there,
search for “Bermuda surfing” and see what comes up.

4. North Carolina, Outer Banks—Good diving here offshore, if you go on
the dive charter or “six-pack” boats. Also, there is surf both on the
mainland and the Outer Banks. Close proximity to you in NY.

Search Google for “North Carolina Outer Banks diving and surfing”

5. With a 7 hour flight range, you can make the west coast of the U.S.
North of Santa Barabara, California, it gets cold, so if you’re
looking for warm, tropical water, this is not the place for you.
However, southern California, especially in the Summer, is pretty
warm, with water temps in the low 70s to upper 60s.

I recommend Catalina Island. 
Fly from NY to LAX. From LA you can take the express ferries daily to
Catalina for about  80 bucks round trip for both of you. It’s 22 miles
off the LA coast. Fantastic diving, if a little chilly, but with 1\8
to 1\4 inch wetsuites, you’ll be fine. Also, the backside of Catalina
has excellent surf, for the adventurous, and of course LA has reat
surf. Notably, Malibu beach, Zuma beach, El Porto and Palos Verdes,
among other spots.

Search Google for both “Catalina Island” and “Los Angeles diving” and
“Los Angeles surfing”

6. Baja California, Mexico.

Technically, this is beyond your flight range, but you could probably
fly to San Diego, California, from NY in about 7 hours. From there,
you could rent a car and drive south of the border into Mexico for 90
minutes to Ensenada, where both the diving and surfing is great. Water
temp similar to Los Angeles and Catalina, some freaky cold currents
aside. This would be an “adventurous” type of trip, but there are nice
hotels there if you choose. Or, you can camp along the beach.

Search Google for “Diving and surfing in Baja California, Mexico.”

Again, if you want warm tropical-ness, then Cabo San Lucas is the most
tropical place for you in Baja, but that’s the tip of Baja, a solid 24
hours drive from San Diego.

I hope this gives you some good ideas. Have fun on your trip, and
remember to always dive and surf safely!

Google Answers Researcher

Request for Answer Clarification by riche-ga on 23 Oct 2003 11:26 PDT
Could you be a little more specific on whether this places are good
for LEARNING how to surf.  The FL Keys and to a lesser extent the
Bahamas don't really meet the conditions of being good for both
surfing AND scuba diving in a single vacation.  Also, any thoughts on
Costa Rica?  I know very little about the country and it is on the
fence of the 7 hour limit, but I have heard it referenced for both
good surfing and scuba diving.

Clarification of Answer by omniscientbeing-ga on 23 Oct 2003 12:18 PDT

There really aren't too many places likely to offer conditions of both
good surf AND diving while you happen to be there for a week or two
within your travel range. Of the places I mentioned, Sebastian inlet
offers good learning-to-surf conditions. So does Los Angeles, such as
at Santa Monica beach or Malibu on a smaller day.

As far as Costa Rica, I thought of that, but didn't include it because
it's a little beyond your flight range and I haven't been there
personally. However, I know many people who have, and it does meet
your criteria quite well with the exception of the distance.

However, even in Costa Rica, you're not going to get good surf and
diving in the same place. The Carribean side is great for diving, but
you'll have to corss over trhough the jungle (which, from what I hear,
is not always easy and takes a day or two in itself, but is well worth
the experience--watch for three-toes sloths) to get to the Pacific
side where the surf is. As long as you don't happen to be there during
a large swell, you should find many sandy beaches with small surf that
will facilitate learning.

I hope this helps.

Google Answers Researcher
riche-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
That was helpful.  Thanks.

Subject: Re: Surfing & scuba diving
From: omniscientbeing-ga on 23 Oct 2003 12:23 PDT
Now that I think about it, if you and your companion are comfortable
with non-carribbean boat diving, in other words, you don't mind going
off the beach, the Costa Rican west cost would give you good surfing
conditions (even to learn) as well as good beach diving. I'm sure they
also do offshore charter "live-aboard" dives that are longer range,
but for advanced, experienced divers. (They're also quite expensive)
But it is definately beyond the 7 hour flight range from NY.

Google Answers Researcher

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