By Lena Smirnova at (08/06/2023)

El Salvador has more than 60 surfing spots. We couldn’t decide which one is the best, so we asked the country’s top surfer, Pan American Games medallist Bryan Perez, to narrow things down. Tune in to the live stream from the 2023 ISA World Surfing Games on to see the world’s best try out one of Perez’ picks for themselves.

Surfer practising at El Sunzal, El Salvador

Imagine hitting a country’s Top 5 surfing spots within one day’s drive. El Salvador’s surf hero Bryan Perez knows just how to accomplish it.

Perez was born in Punta Roca and grew up surfing the waves with his three brothers. Now 23 years old, he knows El Salvador’s 300-kilometre coastline by heart.

“I started surfing when I was a kid, when I was eight years old, thanks to my dad,” the 2019 Pan American Games medallist told “Growing up in El Salvador with these amazing waves we have, it’s a blessing, and I’m very lucky that I get to surf them.

“There are many special places in El Salvador. There are right point breaks, warm water, waves all year round. I think it is a very special thing for everybody.”

So, what are Perez’s favourite places to surf? And how did the two beaches that are hosting the 2023 ISA World Surfing Games, La Bocana and El Sunzal, fare in his ranking? spoke to the Salvadorian surfer to find out.


1. Punta Roca

“Punta Roca is one of the best waves we have in El Salvador. It’s a right-point break. It’s coming from the river mouth, so that makes the point long and a perfect wave.

“And it’s rocky. There’s rock everywhere, and the rock makes the wave more powerful, more perfect.

“It’s such a beautiful place. We had the city there too so it’s a place that everyone wants to go to. Everyone wants to go there to surf. The wave is a perfect wave.”


2. Las Flores

“Las Flores is another point break. We have just right-hand point breaks, so I think it’s one of the special places to surf.

“It’s a beautiful place. There’s sand. That’s a good part about Las Flores – there’s sand. And because it’s a right-hand point break there’s big barrels, big turns. It’s one of my favourite waves to surf.

“It’s a long ride, a one-minute ride, 40, 45 seconds. A long ride.”

3. Punta Mango

“Punta Mango is an interesting wave. Most people know that wave for the big barrels. You can surf there and get the barrel you like so that makes that place more special. It’s the same, all rock, right point break, but there is a little bit of sand, so that makes the barrel bigger and harder. A lot of people, when they go there, they go there for the barrel. That’s the place to get barrels, that’s the spot.

“You can get a barrel every session, every wave maybe. If you’ve never gotten a barrel, there you can get a barrel, for sure.

“Two years ago, in September, I went there to celebrate my birthday. We checked the forecast, and the forecast was going to be 40 feet. It was perfect. OK, let’s go. And then I remember we went to stay two days with my brother and my friends, and we stayed for like two weeks. It was perfect. Every day, every day, every day – barrels, barrels, barrels. I think that's the best surf I did in my whole life. I was there for two weeks, getting barrels every morning, every day.

“Also, it’s one of the best places to go because it’s safer. Nothing like big hotels and places to stay, just a big mountain. There are places to stay, but it’s not busy. It’s more natural. It’s such a beautiful place to go.”

4. El Zonte

“El Zonte is a wave that I like to surf every day. That’s a wave that’s three feet, four feet. You can go left, you can go right. You can go deeper and get barrels. It has everything. You can surf a beach break, you can surf a left. That’s what makes it such a great place to surf – three different waves in one day, three different waves in one session so that for me is super special.

“It’s the perfect training ground. That’s why I live there now. I can surf beach breaks, I can surf left, I can surf right. Everything is there.”

5. La Bocana

“I like La Bocana because it’s a wave where you can go left and you can go right.

“And this wave is so fun. When it’s four feet, five feet, it's a perfect place to train. You can go right, you can go left, do turns.

“I think La Bocana is the only true left we have in the country, that’s what makes it more special. We don’t have that many lefts, and this left is the best.”

Honorable Mention: El Sunzal

“It was El Sunzal and La Bocana, driving surf culture (in El Salvador) a long time ago. I talked with my dad - my dad is a surfer – and he told me, ‘Everything started in Sunzal’. I have some pictures that my dad got surfing in El Sunzal a long time ago and there were not many people. But the surfing culture started there, and then Punta Roca was the second place where people wanted to surf because it was a perfect right.”

And the best part about Perez’s Top 5 picks? If travelling by car, it is possible to hit all these surf spots in one day – though based on what El Salvador’s pioneering surfer said, you might want to spend a bit more time in each one.

Written by Swell Made

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