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Why El Salvador’s Wild East has World Class Waves & Year-Round Swell

By now, most surfers know El Salvador as a point break mecca that churns out picture-perfect right-hand peelers year-round. It is no longer a secret that El Salvador’s Wild East region is home to, not just the best El Salvador surf spots, but possibly the best surf spots in all of Central America. Every year, countless surfers jet set from the United States, Europe, and other parts of Latin America, to get to the shores of El Salvador and find their perfect right-hand peeler. But what makes El Salvador’s surf spots so unique? What makes the rugged Salvadorian coastline produce machine quality waves that leave surfers drooling and scrambling to hop on the next flight south? How is the coastline of this tiny Central American country such a swell magnet? Several factors combine to create the surfer’s paradise we have at our El Salvador surf Resort, Las Flores

It’s south-facing
For starters, the coastline of much of El Salvador’s Wild East is almost completely south facing. During the rainy season, the months most commonly associated with North America’s spring and summer, winter storms develop in Antarctica and travel north along the Pacific coast of Latin America. These storm systems travel over thousands of miles across the open ocean, generating fetch along the way. Fetch occurs when the wind blows over water consistently over long distances. Fetch is what allows storm systems to produce waves. Because these systems originate thousands of miles away, they generate what is known as a groundswell. Groundswell is preferred to wind swell, a type of swell produced by nearby systems that are typically much weaker and results in poor surf. This groundswell grows in size and strength as it travels, and then collides with El Salvador’s coastline resulting in the waves in the Wild East that make El Salvador’s surf spots world famous. 

Its jagged topography
While El Salvador, and in particular the Wild East, contains every type of surf break imaginable: beach breaks, reef setups, and point breaks, the region is known globally for its ultra-consistent point break setups. A point break is a surf break in which incoming swell bends around a protruding landmass, such as a rock outcrop or a jetty, and forms a wave breaking in a single direction. The direction of El Salvador’s jagged coast is conducive to right-hand point breaks, making El Salvador a virtual paradise for regular footed surfers. In the Wild East region alone, where our El Salvador surf resort is located, our many world-class right-hand point breaks attract surfers from all over the world. Of all the El Salvador surf spots in the Wild East region, Las Flores takes the cake as the most celebrated wave in the area. Las Flores is a favorite amongst surfers of all levels for its long, 300-meter rides. At size, with a swell of 4-6 feet, Las Flores produces powerful right-hand waves with a steep, hollow take-off and carvable walls. Another famed El Salvador surf spot and point break in the Wild East is Punta Mango. Punta Mango is known for its racing barrel sections and 200-meter, leg-burning rides. Due to Punta Mango’s barnacle-covered reef, it is recommended for advanced surfers only

Its central location
El Salvador is located in Central America, and Central America is, well, central. During peak swell season, which as previously mentioned falls during the months of the rainy season (April-October), winter storms, originating in Antarctica produce powerful south swells that travel north to El Salvador’s Coast. This time is referred to as swell season because of the large surf that reaches the shores of every El Salvador surf spot. The swell season is often the most sought-after time of year for surfers because they are almost guaranteed to score big, powerful surf. El Salvador, however, has surf year-round, even after the swell season has come to a close. Due to El Salvador’s central location, north swell originating in Russia, which provides surf to places like Hawaii and California during the North American winter, also bring smaller surf to El Salvador. Additionally, smaller south swells still occur year-round. So, why you may not be surfing overhead waves during El Salvador’s dry season (November-March), you’re sure to score waist to chest high, clean surf.

There are offshore winds even in the offseason 
As already stated, El Salvador’s dry season has plenty to offer in terms of quality surf, even though it’s not the swell season. The months that make up dry season provide the best winds all year for surfing. The dry season offshore winds are a product of the same driving force behind North American surf, Artic storms originating in Canada. As cold fronts move from high pressure to low-pressure zones, they travel down the east coast of the United States into the Gulf of Mexico and Through the Caribbean. Finally, after traveling thousands of miles, these fronts reach the east coast of Central America and move across the continent, creating offshore winds on the opposite coast. So, while El Salvador’s dry season does not offer the same pumping conditions of the rainy season, the surf is manageable and clean making the time of year perfect for beginner and intermediate surfers. 

It has waves for every surfer  
El Salvador may be known as a wonderland for experienced surfers, who seek out deep barrels over a reef covered seabed, but the country truly has a wave for every level of surfer. If you’re an experienced surfer, Las Flores and Punta Mango will be your playground. If you’re a beginner surfer, fear not, there are plenty of beginner-friendly El Salvador surf spots in our backyard! If you’re an intermediate surfer yearning to improve your skills, the many sand bottom point breaks in the Wild East are ideal for progressing. Whether you’re traveling to El Salvador to take surf lessons, or you simply want to discover the world-class waves you’ve heard so much about, our El Salvador surf resort, Las Flores Resort will welcome you with open arms and ensure you have a once in a lifetime surf experience.