Mexico

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Mexico is full of potential for the adventurous surfer. 6,000 km of coastline, an incredible variety of breaks to suit all tastes and abilities, year-round consistency from swells generated by deep Southern Ocean low pressure systems and water warm enough that you need never wear a wetsuit! But before you leap off to pack your bags it is worth remembering that here, as in much of South and Central America, there are problems.

With a population of over 100 million and a drug-trafficking culture second to none, crime is rife. Surfers have been know to experience everything from petty theft to car-jacking at gunpoint. Neither is the water entirely without threat. In 2008 two surfers died in three separate shark attacks in the Guerrero region. That said, hundreds of surfers visit the country each year, and have been doing so for several decades. Most return with their souls and bodies intact, if not their boards, and a heap of stories to tell about epic, barrelling, huge, powerful Mexican waves - of the watery kind - and friendly, warm, helpful locals.

Baja California is the obvious place to start an overland trip, with world-class breaks such as Baja Malibu and Punta San Jose just a couple of hours drive from the US border. If you can, continue a little further to Baja Sur, an underrated swell magnet with fewer crowds and waves to suit all levels and tastes such as Costa Azul and Cerritos.

Heading to Mainland Mexico could be an exercise in survival - the ASP dubbed this region 'home of the hollowest waves in the world', with Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca known throughout the surfing community as the Mexican Pipeline. Take more than one board and make one of them a gun.

For those who wish for something a little mellower, there is world-class longboarding to be had at La Saladita, and those who hate crowds should head to the Gulf coast where an array of deserted beaches, crystal clear (small) waves and all the shrimp you can eat eagerly awaits you.