Have board, will travel – 12 islands that rip!

Passport, toothbrush, skateboard: our travel guide to the best islands for skating around the world.
By Sam McGuire

Who doesn’t love an island? Whether it’s a tropical one out in the Indian Ocean, or the rugged cliffs of eastern Canada, islands offer some of the best landscape this world has to offer. While travelling the globe to look at lovely scenery is all well and good, let’s be honest: where are the spots?

Luckily, we’ve done the hard yards and spent the last few years exploring the world looking for the best. So we present you with this, our ultimate guide to the best islands for skateboarding around the world.

 Puerto Rico – playas in paradise

Adrien Bulard, wallride by the Carribean in Puerto Rico
Adrien Bulard – Wallride © Kevin Metallier

In the middle of the Caribbean Sea lies perhaps one of skateboarding’s greatest islands, Puerto Rico. An unincorporated part of the United States means it’s easy to travel to for people from the US and lots of other countries. It’s small, it’s affordable, the food is amazing and the beaches even better. Oh, and the best part? Spots. Spots as far as the eye can see. If you're looking to mix a holiday with a skate trip, there isn’t a better place than Puerto Rico.

Sri Lanka – pearl of the Indian Ocean

Nick Boserio is an absolute champion, battling this massive 50-50 in the Colombo heat until he came away victorious
Nick Boserio – 50-50 © Sam McGuire

Sri Lanka has long been visited as a popular surf destination, but what many don’t know is that the country is teeming with skate spots. From Colombo in the south, to Jaffna in the north, Sri Lanka has all sorts of interesting terrain. Coupled with the warm, welcoming people and the country’s affordability, it makes Sri Lanka high up on the list of places to consider.

Cuba – let the good times roll!

Walker Ryan, Backside Ollie Transfer
Walker Ryan – Backside Ollie Transfer © Patrik Wallner

A country with a long and interesting history which also happens to be home to many a good skate spot. Growing in popularity over the recent years as relations seem to be improving between the US and Cuba, more and more skaters are visiting Cuba - and we don’t blame them. Seemingly endless beaches, Cuban food and spots beyond colourful spots will leave you, well, never wanting to leave.

Newfoundland – skating and screeching

Silvester Eduardo, Frontside Shove It
Silvester Eduardo – Frontside Shove It © Sam McGuire

While not every island is necessarily beach-filled and tropical, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth checking out. Newfoundland on the far east seaboard of Canada is one such place worth considering if you’re looking for an island with a very diverse landscape and spots to skate. The colourful streets of St. John’s will remind you of San Francisco, but with it’s own charm. Compact and easy to get around, you’ll have no problem finding plenty to skate – just don’t forget to get 'screeched-in' while you’re there!

Madagascar – intrepid rolling experiences

Barney Page — Wallride BS 5-0
Barney Page – Wallride BS 5-0 © Lev Maslov

On many a traveller’s bucket list, Madagascar had been on film-maker Patrik Wallner’s dream destination list for many years. Not knowing what to expect, he and a crew embarked to the magical island and set sail to see what they could find.

From the hectic streets of Antananarivo to the breathtaking Avenue of Baobabs, Madagascar sparked the imaginations of travelling skaters around the world through his widely watched two-parter Melodies For The Lemurs.

Tahiti – Perfect blues and jungle ramps

Jarne Verbruggen, Boneless drop in, Tahiti by Kev Metallier
Jarne Verbruggen – Boneless drop in © Kevin Metallier

French Polynesia – not much really needs to be explained about this place as to why you would want to visit. Island after island of beautiful beaches as well as the famous Teahupo’o wave, Tahiti is sprinkled with quite a few skate spots as well. Photographer Kevin Metallier headed up a journey there and the crew came back with tales of a jungle mini ramp. If you have the time and a bit of spare change, Tahiti may be your best bet!

Ireland – friendliest locals in the world

Bobby Worrest switch ollie in Dublin, photographed by Niall O'Byrne
Bobby Worrest – Switch Ollie © Niall O'Byrne

Ireland’s skateboarding history has seen generational leaps since the 1980s, and in the last 10 years the advent of occasional outdoor concrete parks has meant that visitors can guarantee somewhere to skate if the weather agrees to play ball. With the Irish Skateboard Association helping to galvanise future developments, Ireland is only ever going to become a better destination for skating.

Just ask Bobby Worrest, Brian Lotti and Simon Stricker who came through on the timeless 40 Shades tour.

Hawaii – ditch spots of doom

Andrew Summersides, Crooked Grind
Andrew Summersides – Crooked Grind © Rich Odam

Probably up near the top of just about everyone’s list of islands to visit in the world comes Hawaii. One of the most remote island chains in the world, Hawaii consists of eight islands hidden deep within the Pacific Ocean. When it comes to sights, Hawaii has just about everything – and that goes for skating, too. Explore the hopping streets of Honolulu or the many skateparks the island has to offer before ending your day watching the sun set on a picturesque beach.

Galapagos – colour and the kids

Silvester Eduardo frontside 50-50 grinds a barrier in Ecuador
Silvester Eduardo – Frontside 50-50 © Sam McGuire

A few hours off the coast of Ecuador lies a series of 21 of the most enchanting islands on this planet. Famous for its wildlife, the Galapagos will leave you speechless as you experience life in the animals’ world, rather than them living in ours.

While it doesn’t have the most spots, Puerto Paquerizo Moreno, the capital, offers a few good bits to skate – and they are breaking ground right now on a skatepark!

Greece – a little slice of paradise

Brad McClain boneless at the Blu Enigma
Brad McClain – Boneless © Sam McGuire

You can’t talk about islands without bringing up the Greek islands. From Santorini to Mykonos to all the islands in between, I don’t think there’s much need to convince anyone to visit. However, did you know that nestled in the mountains of Andros, there’s a hotel with a skateable pool overlooking the ocean? Unforgettable sunset sessions.

The Maldives – session the DIY bowl!

Nick Garcia's gone overboard with this big ollie off the boat and onto the mainland
Nick Garcia – Ollie © Sam McGuire

Well-known for its incredibly beautiful and remote islands, The Maldives are more often associated with luxury glass-bottomed houses on deserted islands, than they are with skateboarding. Well, The Maldives may in fact be one of skateboarding's hidden gems.

The capital, Malé, is a packed metropolis of wall-to-wall people surrounded by gorgeous beaches and spots galore. Also, right on the water the locals have been busy building the Raalhugandu Skatepark, with one of the best views any skatepark could offer.

Hong Kong – city lights

Skater Yoshi Tanenbaum boosts a Backside Kickflip on a monument in Hong Kong
Yoshi Tanenbaum – Backside Kickflip © Jon Mehring

There’s really no mistaking Hong Kong when you see it, as there’s no place in the world quite like it. Skyscraper after skyscraper cram over 7m people onto the small island. An eclectic mix of cultures makes Hong Kong a melting pot of people and the bustling city mixed with the landscape makes the same true for spots: rails, banks, plazas and everything in between. If you are a city rat and want to experience an endlessly exciting world, Hong Kong should be the next place on your list!

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