Surfing is fortunately not an activity limited to those who live within driving distance of the Pacific coast. The sport is seeing a resurgence of interest and it’s doable regardless of your age or ability levels.
There are plenty of places out there that are great spots for beginners to cut their teeth and step on a board for the first time. If you’re looking for great places to learn how to surf, there are more options than you might have thought of to ride your first wave!
Here are our recommendations for 5 great places to learn how to surf.
1. The Island of Barbados
Just southeast of St. Lucia sits the island of Barbados in the Caribbean. If you’re planning a vacation to the Caribbean, Barbados is worth exploring, especially if you’re seeking waves and a stretch of coastline that enjoys stable conditions perfect for the new surfer.
While in Barbados, head on over to Inch Marlow along the southern coast in the parish of Christ Church. There, you’ll head to the aptly named Surfer’s Point which is the ideal tropical setting to learn how to surf. Here, you can attend Zed’s Surfing Adventures, coordinated by famous local surfer Zed Layson.
2. The United Kingdom
We know what you’re thinking: the U.K. is not known for having enviable, postcard-worthy weather. But if you’re open to surfing conditions outside the typical tropical climate, you can actually find great conditions for beginners in the island of the United Kingdom.
If you’re in the United Kingdom looking to ride some waves, be sure to head to Newquay, a town on the north coast of Cornwall in southwest England. Here you can head out to the waves on the sandy Watergate Bay and Fistral beaches, both known for the great waves and clean swells that make it a surfing Mecca in Europe.
Here the surf culture is alive and well; you’ll find a variety of accommodations for every price point, plenty of fellow surfers to engage with at the local cafes, and surf schools in and around Newquay.
As equally unlikely a spot as the U.K., Ireland is also emerging as a great alternative location to get some quality surfing done. If you’ve already crossed the pond, why not stop by Bundoran along Ireland’s west coast?
Bundoran is a great place to learn the basics, with a variety of beach breaks on offer to develop your skills at all levels. Rossnowlagh Beach and Tullan Beach are both great places to stop and test the swells. While you’re in town, you can also check out Bundoran Surf Co. which offers classes and lodging for individuals and small groups. You can even take in some surf yoga while you’re there for a uniquely Irish experience.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the very birthplace of surfing! Hawaii is home to four islands that are each renowned to catch waves and learn the art. Oahu, Kauai, Maui and of course, the Big Island of Hawaii offer different locales to suit every taste. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an aspiring expert, there is truly no better culture catered for the surfer than the one where it all got started.
The beaches of Waikiki along the Oahu coast are especially pleasant for beginning surfers. The consistent rolling waves of Waikiki are perfect for novices, offering longer waves and a challenging but fun atmosphere. No matter what island in Hawaii you choose to visit to take up surfing lessons, you’ll find a plethora of schools offering private and group classes, tailored for every experience level.
Morocco, a North African country situated along the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, is a surfing destination that you might not have heard of. But it will make an unforgettable experience for a surf vacation. Morrocco is uniquely situated — bordered by the Western Sahara to the south, and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean — which makes for great surfing conditions in early autumn that’s best geared toward beginners. The season continues through winter, from November to February, as more challenging waves develop, making it an ideal time for intermediate surfers to come back for more.
Here in Morocco, you can come as a complete beginner and find a variety of surf schools to choose from no matter what part of the beach you visit. If you head to the south coast of Morocco, you’ll encounter Le Grand Sud (the Great South), which is home to the most popular surfing areas of the country.
Your best bet for surfing here will be to target the region between Essaouira and Agadir, but you’ll also find more crowds here. For more wide open beaches and fewer tourists, you’ll keep heading south. No matter what stretch of beach you choose in Morocco, you’ll be met by beautiful waves, satisfying swells and a surf experience like no other!
If surfing is high atop your bucket list, you’ll find a piece of coast that is bound not to disappoint — from the tropical stretches of Hawaii to the rocky coastlines of the United Kingdom, your next surf vacation will be an unforgettable one!