Perfect Day: Papua New Guinea

Hollow and uncrowded, by design

In contrast to overly congested surf destinations like Bali or Hawaii, Papua New Guinea (PNG) still remains relatively uncrowded. Waves like the one pictured here — empty and delightfully hollow — aren't a rare sight along the country's 3,200-mile coastline. Although the remoteness of the place has helped to curb overcrowding, PNG's progressive surf-management plan has also played an important role in keeping surf tourism in check. In PNG, coastal residents own the reefs that front their communities, and years ago, the Surfing Association of Papua New Guinea instituted a strategy that required visiting surfers to pay for each surf session. This policy, which also limits the number of surfers allowed at each surf spot, economically benefits locals who take care of their land and their reef, ultimately incentivizing them to keep waves like this as pristine as possible.