Though surfing may look easy, we can assure you, it definitely is not. It can be an intensive sport to learn, requiring willpower, physical and mental strength, and a care-free attitude toward looking silly (as you will fall off… a lot!).
However, it can be an incredibly fun sport to learn, especially if you do so in the right place.
Though, with the sheer number of coastal towns across the globe boasting the ‘best waves for beginners’, it can be tricky to narrow down the most appropriate place for you.
This decision is all the more important if you plan to travel. The last thing you want is to arrive at a supposedly beginner friendly surf spot, only to be faced with ridiculously large waves which seem to be besting even the most experienced surfers.
That’s why we are here to help. Below you will find 10 of the best places to learn to surf across the globe.
Each one provides a great opportunity for beginners to learn the physical skills required, as well as the chance to soak up the wonderful ways of surf culture!
The 10 Best Places To Learn To Surf
1. Taghazout, Morocco
Morocco is one of the best winter surfing destinations in the world, and is quickly becoming a favourite amongst surfers from across the globe. The gorgeous weather combined with the wave size and variety available in Morocco makes it an ideal choice for a surf holiday, even for beginners!
Taghazout encapsulates exactly what is so great about the Moroccan surf. As the home to the famous Anchor Point, one of the best point breaks in the world, Taghazout is an iconic place to surf.
However, that isn’t to say that it isn’t also perfect for beginners. In addition to Taghazout being a world-renowned sport for well-seasoned surfers, it is also home to a large number of surf camps and surf schools, which offer lessons to absolute beginners.
Additionally, there are some super fun, but really mellow surf spots which are great for beginners.
Take a look into spots like Crocs and Devils Rock if Taghazout sounds like the place for you! There are also a number of intermediate level surf spots around, in case you happen to be a complete natural!
2. Raglan, New Zealand
When it comes to surfing, New Zealand may not be the country that immediately pops into your mind. However, the country offers one of the largest surfing playgrounds in the world.
Its natural coastline, which is a whopping 15,000km long, is home to hundreds of bays and coves, each boasting some incredible breaks. There is an abundance of choice for surfers!
Even though Raglan is home to some of New Zealand’s most intense point breaks, such as that at Manu Bay and Whale Bay, it is also a wonderful place to learn to surf. For beginners, Ngarunui Beach is ideal. Its mellow waves and calm atmosphere is the perfect place to learn to surf at your own pace.
If you were hoping to engage in other outdoor activities, New Zealand is a great choice of destination. The whole country is saturated with natural beauty.
Its rivers and lakes are ideal for other water activities such as kayaking, and its incredible mountain ranges are perfect for hikers and climbers. Therefore, if you’re looking to dip your toes into multiple new outdoor sports, give New Zealand a go!
3. Nosara, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is quickly becoming incredibly popular amongst surfers, and it’s not hard to see why!
The country boasts both a Pacific and a Caribbean coast, which provide consistent year-round surf. Though, the completely laid-back surf scene and tropical nature are also compelling draws.
In fact, the warm waters and variety of waves makes Costa Rica an ideal place to learn how to surf. Specifically, the stretch of beach at Playa Jaco is ideal for beginners and advanced surfers alike.
Though, if you would prefer somewhere more tailed just toward learners, Costa Rica can provide that too. Just check out Playa Guapil, Playa Dominicalito or Playa Hermosa for a mellow, gentle entrance to surfing.
Although, the beaches around Nosara are our favourite spots for beginners. This spot is further from the most popular beaches, which can get particularly overcrowded.
Rather, beaches such as Playa Nosara are ideal for beginners, not only boasting a great reef break and lovely beach, but a calmer atmosphere, less saturated with know-it-all surfers.
Another reason this area is so great is because of the range of other activities on offer. You can learn to scuba dive, or even decide to volunteer with sea turtles!
4. Weligama, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a great choice for travellers on a budget and for those of you who want to experience a number of sporting adventures. Whilst learning how to surf, you will be able to visit beautiful mountains, waterfalls and rainforests. What more could you ask for?
In terms of the beaches, Sri Lanka is famous for its wonderfully soft, golden sand, and range of great waves for all types of surfers. As a beginner, you will definitely appreciate the consistency, slow speed and mellowness of the waves in Sri Lanka.
You should consider visiting Weligama if you plan on learning to surf. It’s not a very remote spot, and is ideal for those hoping to experience some night life!
There are also a number of surf camps close by, so you can get all the guidance and support you need. If you want to explore the wider area, it is very easy to do so, making this spot ideal for backpackers.
5. Byron Bay, Australia
Though you may be skeptical, Australia truly lives up to its nickname of a ‘surfer’s paradise’. Like New Zealand, Australia boasts an incredibly long coastline, at 37,000 km long. Australia also has some of the most challenging waves, which is why it draws so much attention from professionals.
Byron Bay in particular has become completely synonymous with surfing, and although it has become a very crowded spot, its charm remains intact, and it continues to be a popular draw for all kinds of surfers.
You might then be surprised to hear that Byron Bay is also a great place for learners! It has a number of surf spots, wherein most of the waves rarely get too large.
If you’re looking for specific beginner friendly beaches in Byron Bay, be sure to check out Belongil beach, The Wreck, Main Beach, Clarkes Beach, The Pass, or Wategos.
6. Lagos, Portugal
Portugal is arguably one of the best countries for surfing in Europe, and is a great choice if you’re on a budget due to its affordability and budget-friendly flights. Portugal has always been seen as a place with a great variety of waves, providing beach breaks, point breaks and reef breaks to fit every surfing style and ability.
In addition to its surfing reputation, Portugal is home to wonderful historic cities, world-class cuisine, and gorgeous natural landscapes to be explored.
If you are hoping to explore quaint towns, gorgeous fishing villages and stunning beaches, The Algarve coastline is ideal. In particular, the town of Lagos is an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding areas, and is also home to numerous surf schools.
Though the surf is a short drive away, if you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy nightlife as well as surf and scenery, Lagos is a perfect compromise.
Whether you’re a solo traveller, or plan to travel in a group, Lagos offers numerous opportunities to meet like-minded people whilst also soaking up the culture and learning to surf in one of the best surf spots in Europe.
7. Bali, Indonesia
Bali is a dream for surfers. Surf spots are numerous across the island, and provide waves which are suitable for all levels of surfing. It also has its own uniquely laid-back culture, which makes your surfing experience all the more wonderful.
In addition to its incredibly inviting atmosphere, Bali boasts glorious hidden beaches, mountains, waterfalls and historical temples.
Not only is Bali perfect for surfing, but it’s an ideal spot if you’re hoping to soak up some culture, experience some of the world’s most renowned natural beauty, and meet locals with an amazingly kind and gracious nature.
Kuta, Nusa Dua and Canggu are some of the best surf spots to visit in Bali. All of these spots are good for beginners, though Kuta can become overcrowded at times. The best surf camp in Bali is located in Canggu, which also happens to have a wonderfully artistic scene, and is home to good food, shops, live music and fun bars.
In comparison to Kuta, Canggu is far less touristy, but rather hits a great middle-ground in terms of its business.
8. Devon, UK
Admittedly, the UK isn’t home to the most glorious weather or the warmest waters. However, it is home to some great places to surf, especially if you are a beginner! Devon in particular is a great spot to learn to surf.
In terms of surfing, Devon is often overlooked due to its coastal neighbour Cornwall. However, Devon is home to some great surf spots itself.
Woolacombe is a great beach for learners, as it provides the most ideal, quiet, mellow, beginner-friendly breaks that you could ask for! It also isn’t far from Croyde, a beach which is particularly popular with well-seasoned surfers, if you fancy a challenge.
Devon boasts five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which make it the perfect place to soak up some fresh air and explore the countryside as well as the coastline! It is also an ideal place to visit if you’re hoping to try any kind of outdoor sport. From climbing, to yoga, to abseiling, Deven has a lot more to offer than you might think.
9. Waikiki, Hawaii
Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing, and thus, is the most fitting place to learn the sport.
Although, with such a rich, extended history, which is intimately intertwined with spirituality, culture, and the environment, surfing is far more than just a sport. If you want to learn more about all aspects of surfing, Hawaii is the option for you.
Surfing is a way of life for many Hawaiians, which makes Hawaii a great place to truly understand the connection between the people and the ocean.
Waikiki itself is probably one of the best surf spots for beginners in the world. The slow, rolling waves have been the preference of many tourists. Though, if you take to the sport quickly, there are a lot of intermediate waves nearby.
Further, if you want to spend an afternoon watching experts ride the Ala Moana Bowls and dreaming of one day reaching their standard, it is only a brief paddle away!
Another pull for beginners is the great year-round temperature of the water. Hawaii boasts some of the warmest year-round water, which is definitely a bonus for beginners.
Wetsuits can be too restrictive for those who aren’t used to them, so it’s usually best to start off in bathers alone.
Also, in Hawaii, when you inevitably wipeout, you definitely won’t be met with an uncomfortably cold temperature. As a beginner this is desirable, because you will wipeout a lot!
10. San Sebastian, Spain
If you’re looking for a holiday to surf but also indulge, look no further than Zarautz in San Sebastian, Spain. Zarautz is the Spanish birthplace of surfing, and San Sebastian is the country’s food capital. What more could you want?
Zarautz boasts consistent beach breaks which are a draw for all kinds of surfers. Although, as the country’s surf capital, it is also home to a large number of surf schools, making it the perfect place to learn to surf and gain advice from the local surfing community.
Additionally, there are a number of beachside bars, cafes, and shops to enjoy whilst you’re there. Although, be sure to go during the summer months if you’re a beginner, as throughout the winter, Zarautz is home to more expert-worthy waves.
Surfing is such a fun sport to learn, and so it makes sense to search out an equally fun place to enjoy whilst you do so! Hopefully this varied list will help you find the perfect surf spot for you.