Photograph by Hemis/Alamy
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A surfer rides a wave just off the coast of Chile's Easter Island.

Photograph by Hemis/Alamy

Surf the Dangerous Waves Around Chile's Easter Island

Find perfect barrels on the coast of this South American destination.

Recommended by: Ramon Navarro, Surfer

Easter Island, located some 2,200 miles off the coast of Chile, is best known for the giant stone statues fashioned by long-gone Polynesians. It’s less well known for surfing, which is good news for Navarro. Few know about the swells he is after, which travel thousands of miles across the ocean to slam into the shallow, rocky reef breaks of the southern flank of the island.

"It’s one of the craziest places in the world," says Navarro, who has been five times. "The waves are amazing but pretty dangerous at the same time because it’s all rocks and shallow reefs. The waves are really powerful."

However, if you catch the winds and weather just right, perfect gigantic barrels appear—and the surfers who do venture out have the 20-plus-foot waves all to themselves. "This island is an amazing place," Navarro says.

Chilean Ramon Navarro has surfed big waves all over the world, from Todos Santos, Mexico, to Indonesia. But he is perhaps best known for catching one of the world’s most perfect barrel waves—a 15-footer—in June 2012 at Fiji’s Cloudbreak. His other laudable claim to fame: a commitment to conservation. He helped stop a sewage pipe from destroying the water quality of the bay of his birthplace, Punta de Lobos. Now, he’s working to turn a stretch of Chilean coastline into a national park to protect it from development.