If we’re being honest, surfing really isn’t one of those pastimes that needs much of an introduction. Many surfing articles will speak about the fact that many people enjoy surfing, particularly surfers, for many reasons including the wonderfully beautiful weather of the world’s finest surfing hotspots, but this kind of stuff goes without saying. Surfing comes with the image of clear waters, large waves that are wonderfully symmetrical, and overly-tanned individuals with remarkably perfect bodies and long, texturized hair that proves they spend a lot of time in salty water. It’s just best to agree that surfing is great, but it is a relatively difficult activity that requires a fair bit of practice, and most of the world’s famous surfing destinations are famous because they require a certain level of visually impressive skill in order for the surfer in question to be able to hold their own in the challenging waters. This article is a little more beginner friendly and hopes to posit some sublime destinations for beginners.
Surfer’s Point – Inch Marlow, Barbados
The reason that Surfer’s Point is more appropriate f or beginners is because in contrast to many other areas, it is located in the south and is shielded from stronger tides and larger waves, making it perfect for the beginner wishing to break themselves in to surfing without having to be restricted to the UK in their efforts. As one can imagine, Surfer’s Point is wonderfully picturesque and is a tropical setting that you can use to surf the day away, from morning until night if necessary.
It is probably best to avoid the rainy months which stretch from June through to October, but they are still surfable even during these times. The forgiving nature of the waves here means that you will encounter people engaging in various other water sports such as windsurfing and kayaking. The Surfer’s Point section on the Barbados website has a little more information about it. Zed’s Surfing Adventures is a great place to look for those wishing to undergo some instruction and tuition before getting on with surfing.
Waikiki – Hawaii
Hawaii is of course the original home of surfing, and in contrast to the large waves of many of the other famous beaches here, Waikiki’s waves are gentle and forgiving by comparison. Check out the Canoes Break section of the Oahu website for information about Waikiki’s most popular break. Canoes is known for its manageable swells, ranging from 3 to 7 foot in height; nowhere near the 15+ foot plus swells of many of the intermediate to advanced beaches. Though beginners may find the crowds a little intimidating, the surf is still relatively steady and moderately-paced so that one can become accustomed to the open water and still feel like they’re doing something worthwhile. You’ll find surf schools and surf board rentals galore as well, so it’s all pretty much there on a plate for the beginner surfer.
Taghazoute – Morocco
Morocco isn’t always the most popular destination on many top 10 lists, but it certainly has a lot to offer and is ideal for those in Europe to venture to during winter to catch a bit of lovely weather and a few waves. November through February is a time for the beginners to avoid since you’ll encounter big swells and choppier waters at these times, but the rest of the year is calmer and perfect for surfers just starting off in the water.
Taghzoute has a number of different beaches ideal for beginner surfers, with Hash Point Surf Camp being an ideal destination for those looking for a bit of guidance with their surfing holiday.
Lagos – Portugal
Don’t go looking for waves in Lagos itself. Instead, take advantage of the surf schools in the area and the excursions to beaches that lay within convenient distance to Lagos where one will find waves of a manageable nature. Arrifana is an ideal location because it is protected from oversized swells that may spook a beginner and it also has a wonderful school, The Arrifana Surf Lodge, to get you up and surfing in no time.
Byron Bay – Australia
There shouldn’t be a surfer’s list in existence that doesn’t have Australia in its rundown, and Byron Bay is the perfect inclusion for this list. This bay has breaks to suit pretty much any level of surfing skill, from beginner to advanced. Watego Beach you may find has the most timid of all the waves, though still good enough to learn how to surf on. The official Byron Bay website should contain all of the necessary information for all levels of surfer, including surf schools and vital information that is required before you set off on your journey.
Kuta – Bali, Indonesia
It would be a mistake to go to Bali under the impression that you won’t find any serious waves because it is actually home to some pretty terrifying left-hand swells that break onto treacherously shallow reefs, but it isn’t without its brilliance for beginners as well.
Specifically, you will do well to visit Kuta, which although a touristy location, is ideal for those not comfortable with massive breaks and kilometre-long tubes that will have all but the experienced bowing out after mere seconds. The only problem with Kuta is that you won’t find consistently manageable waves; you have to watch for the tides because they can result in some choppier and less manageable swell. May and September are ideal month-based boundaries between which you will find the best atmosphere and some lively winds to make the whole experience more interesting.
Bali Surfing Lesson is just one of the surf schools you will find there that will offer you the chance to get some learning under your belt before you simply go out and try to fend for yourself. Surfboard rental is of course an option for those that don’t have their own, which is probably a majority of beginners.
Tamarindo - Costa Rica
The Pacific coast is home to a large number of beautiful places, one of the most notable of which is Costa Rica, and Tamarindo is Costa Rica’s answer to the question of where one of the best places for beginners to surf is. Tamarindo has the whole package in terms of wonderful location, varied accommodation, excellent nightlife, and most importantly of all, a number of great beaches where one can pop their surfing cherry.
It’s best for beginners to avoid the famous Playa Negra since the fast breaks here are best suited for experts and only the very brave, but Playa Tamarindo is a wonderfully varied location where you will find waves to suit all kinds of skill, with the 3-6 footers being perfectly suited for the aspiring surfer. Tamarindo Surf School offer various packages such as individual surf lessons for surfers of all levels of skill, courses that run over multiple days, and even the option to lodge so that you have a base for all of your surfing efforts.
San Sebastian – Spain
Visit here at any time other than Autumn for some lighter waves; coming in the fall will show you the choppier side of San Sebastian’s waters. This is more of an urban location than some of the tropical paradises listed above but this doesn’t mean that this location isn’t ideal for casual surfers and beginners looking to balance their time between surfing in the day and partying at night.
One can check out La Concha bay for one of the more protected surfing locations with minimal rocks and gentle waters to ease you into the surfing experience. Stick to summer time in La Concha however since the seas are a little more choppy in winter resulting in waves of fifteen feet and over which are less than ideal if you’re just starting off in the surfing world. Also, check out the National Geographic San Sebastian page for a little more information on the non-surfing activities here.