Sitting pretty, 800 miles out into the Atlantic, these islands blasted by swells from the North Atlantic hold a multitude of thick, heavy, reefs and points. Winter is the most productive period with spring and autumn almost as good, even summer still has waves despite the Azores High. Access either to the islands or once on the islands, to the waves, is not easy but perseverance is rewarded by low crowds and short-lived but high quality swells. The 360 degree swell exposure allows almost any wind and swell combination. The locals have been surfing the region since the 1920s but it was American servicemen who popularised it in the 1960s. Sea temperatures range from 17 to 22°C or 62 to 72°F.