There are many ways to enjoy a beach vacation, with surfing being one of them. There’s nothing like paddling out to catch the perfect wave. This is why surfing holidays are so popular with active travelers – from beginners to professionals. If you are just learning to surf, find the best places to learn to surf before you book your surf vacation.
Choosing the right place to learn to surf makes all the difference. Not all beaches are great for surfing, and not all surfing beaches are great for beginners. You want the surfer town vibe (complete with surf camps and surf shops), but you don’t want to be thrown in the big waves among the pros while you’re figuring out that surf thing. You’ll want small, manageable waves, along with a fairly long beach that gives you time to get on your board, as well as excellent surf schools in the area.
Here are some of the The best places to learn to surf worldwide – which are also all great destinations for a surf vacation for those who are already in love with the sport.
Grab your surfboards, let’s get on the water!
Where to go for an epic surf vacation
Bali is full of expert waves, but luckily there are a couple of surf spots in Bali for beginners too that are great for beginners too. One such place is the shallow waters of Kuta Beach. Kuta Beach is eight kilometers long and separated by three areas – Kuta Beach, Legian Beach, and Seminyak Beach. The waves are smaller here and the water bottom is sandy compared to the more rocky sections on the other beaches. Kuta is also Bali’s main tourist area, so it’s full of cheap hostels and has a lively club scene.
Beginners can find some local surf schools that have great deals on surf lessons – you can find both group, partner or private lessons. When you feel confident enough after your class is over, make your way to the professionals at Dreamland. The waves there are strong though, so be warned. Surfing is just one of the water sports activities in Bali so make sure you spend plenty of time in the water!
Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a famous surfing destination that is suitable for all skill levels. The land has different seasonal patterns on each side of the island; When one coast is restless, the other is calm. The best time to visit the east side of the island, where Arugam Bay is located, is between May and October.
This quiet surf town is home to a few surf schools, all of which have beginner surfboards that are great for beginners. The best places to learn to surf in Arugam Bay are Baby Point (from July), Elephant Rock, Whiskey Point and Peanut Farm. You can usually find some surf schools that use these spots – often changing spots depending on the time of day or month.
Byron Bay, Australia
Byron Bay is one of the most popular surfing spots in Australia, with a range of breaks for surfers of all levels. One of the great beginner surfer spots here is The Pass – not only does the wave break slowly, but the runout is super long, which makes it easy to get up.
Aside from surfing, the city is packed with great restaurants and great cafes. The golden sandy beaches are lined with locals with guitars and VW vans with drivers with dreadlocks – everything adds to the cool surfer-city atmosphere. Oh, and dolphins. What more do you really want?
Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa
Jeffrey’s Bay (or J-Bay as the locals call it) is one of the most popular surfing spots in the world among professionals. The main surf beach, Supertubes, is known as one of the most demanding surf spots in the world. Jeffrey’s Bay is also full of surf shops (including some factory shops with great deals) and is a vibrant tourist destination during the summer months. It’s a great vibe to get in the surf vacation mood.
Beginners can learn the basics at beautiful Dolphin Beach – a blue flag beach in Jeffreys Bay that’s perfect for surfing without major currents or rocks. There are many surf schools that offer surf courses for beginners to advanced, as well as companies that offer surf vacations.
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
With its multitude of surf spots, Costa Rica is a popular destination for surf vacations for all levels. For beginners, there are several beaches with gentle waves, which are ideal conditions for learning to surf. Playa Tamarindo is however one of the most popular beaches for learning to surf in Costa Rica.
The beach is long and lined with surf shops and surf schools, so you don’t have to search far to set up your surfing lesson. The whole atmosphere of the city will captivate you and you will feel like a real surfer in no time. However, be prepared to expect crowds as it is a popular spot.
Check out these places to snorkel in Costa Rica during your stay.
Surfer’s Point, Barbados
Surfer’s Point on the southeast coast of Barbados is a popular surfing spot with locals and tourists. There are several surf schools on the beach that offer surfboard rentals and surf lessons.
The popular surf school Zed’s surfing adventure is operated by former competition surfer local Zed Layson. The school offers two-hour lessons and has easy-to-drive foam surfboards. The beach is too popular for windsurfing, kite surfing, boogie boarding, SUP and kayaking – just in case the surf lesson doesn’t go so well.
Morocco has been a popular winter destination for European surfers since the 1970s. Convoys of VW mobile homes line the beaches – mostly where the long, right-hand point breaks are. There are a variety of surf schools in Morocco that are suitable for beginners to advanced surfers.
Taghazoute in the south has plenty of surf schools to choose from (almost more than surf spots!) So you won’t have any problem finding one that suits your needs and budget. The best waves for beginners are around Agadir, otherwise the chilled port city of Essaouira is only three hours north and offers some good beginners waves. Beginners should also go there in early fall as the waves are smaller and the big swells come from November to February.