So you’ve decided you want to learn to surf. Thanks to forgiving foam boards it’s never been easier. But to catch your first wave you’re going to need a spot that’s got gentle surf and some room to maneuver. We’re talking the opposite of the kind of places where pros shred huge breaks and territorial locals get “fisty” with newcomers. Get your surf on in these chilled beginner spots.
This ace image, above, is by Thomas Tolkien.
Waikiki – Hawaii, USA
Surfing’s pretty tiring, especially when you’re first starting out. So it helps if you’re learning in a place with lots of fun stuff to do when you’re not out on the water. In that respect, Waikiki’s ideal. Its gentle rolling waves lap up onto endless gorgeous beaches that are in turn backed by great bars, restaurants and shops. Added to that, Hawaii’s the home of surfing – what better place to start?
Byron Bay – New South Wales, Australia
Some say this is the best place in the world to learn to surf. It’s difficult to argue when you think of all the surf schools Down Under, the fact that it’s a backpacker’s heaven and the mix of gentle rollers and beach breaks suiting a variety of surfing levels.
Plettenberg Bay – Garden Route, South Africa
Two-foot surf (when the wind’s down), cheap hostels and friendly locals make this sleepy town on South Africa’s Garden Route a great place to take up surfing. Bear in mind that “men in grey suits”, that’s sharks to the uninitiated, are found all along South Africa’s coast, so be sure to ask the locals if there have been any sightings before you take to the water.
Newquay – Cornwall, England
You’d think glamorising surfing in forever-rainy England might be an impossible task, yet somehow the film Blue Juice managed to. The fact that it starred a young, and, frankly, scorching hot Catherine Zeta-Jones probably had something to do with it. Cornwall, Newquay in particular, is the beating heart of Britain’s surf culture. Chilled out yet professional surf schools are on hands to ease you into a seriously thick wetsuit before you get your feet wet.
Tamarindo – Guanacaste, Costa Rica
We think freezing your extremities off shouldn’t be part of the bargain when learning to surf. Given the chance we’d happily eschew Newquay’s cold grey waters for the Costa Rica’s warm azure ones. Even in winter the sea’s 26C!
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