Check out our guide to the 10 best spots to learn or improve your surfing.
Hossegor is one of the best-known surf destinations in France. Nestled between Seignosse and Capbreton, Hossegor has a respected reputation in the world of pro surfing, but it also has the perfect conditions to improve your surfing.
Enjoy the waves and tides of the Atlantic Ocean in a dream landscape along the endless sandy beaches of the Cote d’Argent. Surf conditions here are optimal thanks to the currents and sandbanks that help form picture-perfect waves that seem to go on forever. Start off at Hossegors’ Central and South beaches where the swell is slightly weaker and thus easier to tame. Once you’re ready for some punchier waves head over to the famous breaks at Culs Nus (Naked Bums) beach, home to solid waves and surf competitions.
In only a few years Taghazout has become the Moroccan capital of surfing. The wave conditions here are outstanding in the winter and it’s a great place to take part in surfing lessons with local professionals. As a bonus, the water is always relatively warm here never falling below 15 degrees in winter, which allows you to surf comfortably all year long. Hash Point is a perfect spot to ease in beginners just starting to surf waves with a little more power, as opposed to the more mellow beach-break spots of Crocs, Devils Rock, Panoramas or Tamri. From Hash Point, and its little fishing village, you can see the fabled surf spot of Anchor Point, a legendary right and proving ground for experienced surfers. Morocco is the ideal place to learn the fundamentals and techniques to surf beach-breaks, reef-breaks and point-breaks.
Byron Bay, Australia
The Australian vibe is pretty much all about chilling out, BBQs and surfing, and that’s what awaits you in Byron Bay on the east coast of Australia. Most surfers serious about taming some waves in Oz know about The Pass, a right-hand point-break wave that peels over a hundred meters, offering rides up to one minute long if you can navigate around the sections. The Pass is surfable on a longboard and is suitable for beginners as well as experienced surfers alike. With an average sized swell, beginners will be able to surf ideal waves at Tallow Beach and Clarkes Beach which offer perfect conditions when other spots are too flat. Tallow has the advantage of offering both rights and left, perfect for mastering your technique whether you’re goofy or regular. It’s the same for the waves at Suffolk Park, fully loaded with lefts and rights ready to keep you thrilled for hours while you live the Australian surf dream.
Learning to surf in the very place where surfing was born is about as good as it gets. Waikiki is a place of pilgrimage for surfers all over the world who want to surf the ancient waves that created this much-loved sport. Surf conditions are ideal in the summer and invite you to discover reef-breaks and the legendary beach-breaks of Waikiki. Beginners can enjoy riding their first waves in Canoes, a surf spot home to fun rights and lefts, which also has several zones of take-off and help you to learn the “surf code” in serenity. Once you’ve gained some confidence on your board, your surf instructors will take you to Threes, a famous spot with a perfect right that peels down the line perfectly without closing out. While you’re here you can enjoy the chance to glean some insight from pro surfers by watching them light-up the line-up in spots like Diamond Head, Fours or Ala Moana Bowl.
Muizenberg, South Africa
The Muizenberg surf spot, located 27 km south of Cape Town, is a perfect spot to learn surfing in amazing conditions. The waves steam-roll in regularly and consistently and, to top it off, Muizenberg was voted one of the best surf spots in the world by National Geographic, with Bondi Beach in Australia and Kauai Beach in Hawaii. This small village attracts many local and international visitors in a laid-back village atmosphere, and due to its layout, Muizenberg is an ideal spot to learn or improve your surfing skills. You can take classes and rent surf equipment to enjoy the long and clean waves. Muizenberg is a dream beach-break with rights and lefts tailored to goofy-footers and regulars alike. Furthermore, it’s the longest break in the Cape Peninsula with a picturesque wave that runs for nearly 1.5 km!
In summer, the Bailey’s Reef spot, which, as the name suggest breaks over a reef, is relatively flat but allows beginners to learn how to surf smoothly. This is a good alternative to Muizenberg if you’re keen to get away from the crowds and work on your technique with a bit more peace a quiet. Moreover, this place is the origin of surfing in South Africa, more than just a sport, it has become a way of life many and a visit here gives you the chance to culturally immerse yourself both physically and mentally.
Jaco, Costa Rica
Jaco is THE surf town of Costa Rica, where you’ll find a relaxing and sacred atmosphere popular with surfers from all over the world. Jaco’s beach-break waves allows surfing beginners to find waves adapted to their level, learn how to get up on their boards and understand all the rules of surfing by immersing themselves in the “surf spirit”. Playa Hermosa is one of the top surf spots on the coast of Costa Rica, an ideal beach-break which comes alive when a South-South-West swell direction hits with waves suited to experienced surfers due to the fast low-tide tubes. With a rising tide, the waves round out and allow for a more technical ride that will push you to work on your balance. After several sessions at Jaco and Playa Hermosa, you’ll have all the basics you need to tackle your next surf adventure with confidence!
Lanzarote, Canary Islands
To start surfing in Europe, Lanzarote in the Canary Islands is one of the best destinations in the world. The island is home to no less than thirty surf spots suitable for a variety of abilities. To start with, check out Arietta, a spot featuring rights and lefts breaking over a sandbar. This spot also tends to be less crowded which makes it the perfect place for beginners to take their first ride. The heavy left at El Muelle is a great place to work on manoeuvres once you’ve found your feet on your surfboard. Take a timeout after your surf lesson and study the technique of the pros at El Quemao, where the tubes look like something you drew on your notepad when day-dreaming of the perfect wave. Between October and March, the legendary left gives way to a hollow and critical right.
Tibau do Sul, Brazil
Brazil is famous for its water sports and dream beaches, and surfing is high on the list of activities to do once you find yourself there! The best waves from December to March are between Tibau do Sul and Praia da Pipa. Tibau do Sul has several beautiful surf beaches like La Boy, an ideal beach-break lit-up by swell coming from the North, East and South-East. Ideally, start with a professional surf instructor to help guide and introduce you to the code of conduct of surfing. Spots like Cacimbinhas, a long beach-break needing a North, East and South-East swell, and Ponta do Madeiro, a long world-famous right working on a Northerly swell direction, are perfect for when you’re comfortable with the basic manoeuvres.
Portugal’s coastline is fruitful with a multitude of surf spots suitable for beginners and pros. Peniche is THE spot, with perfect conditions to surf all year long and frequented by off-shore winds, this place is ideal for all surfing levels. Start your first session at Praia do Cero, in the bay north of Peniche, this right and left-hand breaking beach-break allows you to work on your technique whether you are goofy or regular footed with the aid of a surf instructor. With a little skill, you can venture south of Peniche to Molhe Leste, a perfect point-break with hollow rights, or Banana Beach, which is ideal for testing your tube riding skills.
Bali has adopted its own style of surfing by mixing it with traditional culture. Why not start your surf adventure with professionals who can take you on a journey to help you discover your “Surf Spirit”? Kuta Beach is the best-known spot on the Indian Ocean in Bali, at low tide beginners can start practicing in the hollow waves or more mellow beach-breakers at Halfway Kuta. The swell here is really consistent which means great conditions during surf lessons are pretty much guaranteed. Once you’ve attained a good enough level, your surf instructors will probably take you to test the waves at Legian Beach or observe the technique of the most experienced surfers at Kuta Reef.
Top picture : surfsimply.com