This time of year, isn't the thought of fresh snow intoxicating, flakes the size of plates wafting in circles to fields of the deepest powder? The mulled wine. The crackling fire. It's all theoretical, of course. Unless you're in the Swiss Alps or Mammoth or somewhere elevated above the clouds, you're going to be slammed with short days, cold drizzle and water that makes your kidneys unbearably ache.
So where do you wanna be? How about…
1. East Coast, Bali, Indonesia: It still strikes me as remarkable that less than 10 years ago, Bali was written off by surfers during the wet season months. And it's true, if you were surfing the west coast waves of Uluwatu and Padang Padang, you'd be wearing all-day onshores. But, now, with the sudden realisation that there are two main coastlines on this island and that one is offshore from November through to March, and that there's half-a-dozen world-class waves, well, where else would you want to bring in the New Year? It's a haul from the norther-hemi, of course, but it's worth the long Singapore or Jakarta layover. Third world prices with remarkable waves, food and hotels.
2. Whale Beach, Sydney, Australia
A beach so divine it appears handcrafted by a surfing deity. In one corner is a bowling left-hander called The Wedge, in the middle are random beachbreak peaks, and on the southern flank is a right you'll lose your fins on. In summer, which is what it is in Australia right now, it's the Wedge that has your name scrawled all over it. North-east swell, a little west in the wind is the combo you seek. (As I write, the conditions are exactly that.) Air takeoff into a tube into three slams to the beach. And look around. Australian's finest real estate hangs off the headlands. So perfect on so many levels.
3. Rottnest Island, Western Australia
Yeah, there's a little problem with Great Whites. Get over that hurdle, however, and you're at the first place south swells hit Australia after they've rounded the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. The most southern coral reefs in the world. And it's all a 30-minute ferry ride or 10-minute commuter flight from the state's capital, Perth. Hot? Yes it is. And bikes only, too. Waves, tans and exploding quadriceps. Happy New Year!
Soup Bowls. The best wave in the Caribbean. It lights up on North Swells (oh, how it lights up). It's one of Kelly Slater's favourite waves in the world. Watch Taylor Steele's "Sipping Jetstreams" for every bit of proof you'll ever need.
5. North Shore, Oahu
You don't even have to try. It's the tropics. It's the great geographic surf miracle. Drive out to the Shore on the Nimitz, park your car right there, get shacked. Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!