Surfing is one of those things that you KNOW, if you could JUST master it, would automatically make you cool. Just as cool as speaking 10 languages and somewhere on the path to rock-star status.
If you’re a complete beginner, surf camps are a great way to get proper coaching whilst having everything organized for you. Their staff will take you to the best waves for your ability, get you standing up on a board, provide you with equipment and even cook your meals for you. Surf camps provide a crash course in surfing, whilst allowing you to meet new people. But camps aren’t just for beginners- more advanced surfers choose a surf camp so they’re guaranteed to overlook the best waves, get a good meal, great accommodation and be with like-minded people. Many famous spots are packed with surf camps which can make it difficult to choose when you’re booking your surf trip, so here’s a list of some of the best destinations from around the world….
Mentawais Surf Camps
The Mentawai islands are an island chain off the coast of Sumatra which has remained isolated for many years, meaning the islands are still relatively unspoilt. Siberut, the largest island in the archipelago, is covered with dense tropical forest with unique flora and fauna and the entire western side is a protected National Park. The paradise islands also have several species of native animals that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The Mentawais happen to be a notable surfing destination with consistent, quality waves coming in from the Indian Ocean all year round. Boats will take you out to the surf breaks and you can choose to stay anchored at the same spot all day, or check out the other options. Stay in luxurious beach bungalows at the Easy Surf Trips Mentawais surf resort with electricity and hot running water. The camp is set in a tropical paradise environment, with jungle, white sand beaches and incredible surf outside your window.
Australia is such a vast country it’s difficult to even know where to start when it comes to the choice of waves. Do you go West and head to Perth? Or East to Sydney or Byron Bay? Then there’s the Great Ocean Road and Bell’s Beach…Luckily EST Australia has it covered. You can go on 1-7 day surf trips up the East Coast from Sydney to Byron Bay to experience a range of surf spots along the coastline. They’ll take care of everything for you, including transport, equipment, food and accommodation, so all you have to do is show up for the ride. Surf all day and party all night on the ultimate surfing experience in the Land Down Under.
Lanzarote or Fuerteventura? It might be a tough decision, but Lanzarote in the Spanish Canary Islands has twice the number of spots as Fuerte. The best time to go is during Europe’s winter from November to late March and waves vary in levels of difficulty. If you dream of standing up on a board and learning to surf, then the Canary Islands could be the place for you. Lanzarote has a volcanic landscape with black sand beaches and great nightlife in Puerto del Carmen. The best place for beginners to learn is the sandy beach of Famara on the north of the island, which has a laid-back vibe. During the summer when the waves are smaller and the winds are stronger you can learn to kite surf here instead. In the town of Famara there are several surf schools and a couple of surf shops offering lessons and surf equipment. EST’s Famara Surf School does a great job in providing great accommodation and getting everyone out into the surf and having fun.
Portugal Surf Camps
Although there aren’t really many waves in the town itself, Lagos is a great base for learning to surf. You haven’t partied until you’ve been to Lagos, where Jager is more readily available than water and the bars pump you with beer bongs and cheap booze. The best way to cure a hangover? Surfing on one of the beaches out towards Sagres and the West Coast. The Easy Surf Trips Portugal camp is in the town itself, with easy access to the shops, restaurants and bars of Lagos. The Aussie/English crew will take you out to the south and west coasts in 4WDs to search for the best surfing conditions. After a day out on the water, they’ll show you the best spots in town to tuck into cheap Portuguese meals with massive portions.
South Africa Surf Accommodation
St. Jeffrey’s Bay on the southern tip of Africa enjoys optimum surfing conditions thanks to the swell coming in from the South Atlantic. With nothing but ocean between Africa and Antarctica, when storms brew out in the ocean, St. Jeffrey’s Bay is in the best spot to catch the perfect waves lining up. One of the ultimate surfing destinations on the planet, St.Jeffrey’s Bay has been a mecca for surfers since the 1960s with stunning shell-studded beaches and a laid-back lifestyle. The epic Supertubes break is home to the ASP Billabong Pro, held here for 10 days each year, and many of the breaks in J-Bay featured in the movie Endless Summer. The surf camp in J-Bay is positioned in the perfect location on sand dunes overlooking the Indian Ocean. If you manage to tear yourself from the water, you can ride horses on the beach, have a go at sandboarding down sand dunes, learn to kitesurf or spot dolphins and wales. A trip to Africa wouldn’t be complete without cute animals, so get over to a local game park to spot elephants, giraffes, zebras and other awesome animals.
Costa Rica Surf Resorts
Situated on the south west corner on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, Mal Pais is sometimes referred to as the Hawaii of Latin America, which is becoming really popular for its strong surf culture, consistent waves and cool people. Activities in the area include horse-back riding along the beach, whizzing through the tree tops on zip wires in the jungle, sportfishing, scuba diving and snorkelling. The white sandy beach, Santa Teresa, is approximately 6 km long and Mal Pais has become a trendy hotspot, with visitors flocking here from all over the world. EST Costa Rica is ideally placed at the famous surf break Suck Rock, which doesn’t actually suck. The sanctuary is an upscale surf school and boutique hotel with a “pura vida” vibe. Expect exotic bungalows made out of hand carved woods, aromatherapy candles, comfy bedding, massages, yoga and jungle surroundings to make you feel like you’re staying in a tropical oasis.
Morocco Surf Camps
Berbers, camels, tagines, souks and incredible surf await you in Morocco, which has been a popular winter surf destination for many years. When the surf sucks during winter everywhere else, Morocco gets going. Taghazout is a port town about 20km North of Agadir, with surf locations including Anchor Point, Killers, Mysteries and Boilers. The Easy Surf Trips Morocco camp sits right on the water at Hash Point and provides accommodation for surfers on every kind of budget with a variety of dorms, bunks and private rooms. Whether you’re a beginner needing lessons or you’re just looking for somewhere to crash and enjoy the surf, Surf Berbere caters for every level of surfer. Enjoy a breakfast with everyone in the camp before your day out on the water and when you come back you’ll be served a home-cooked meal from their in-house chefs. If it’s flat, you can take part in yoga sessions at the camp, race around on quad bikes over the sand dunes, haggle for souvenirs in the local bazaar or take a day trip to the chilled port town of Essaouira.
Bali Surf Camps
Bali offers some of the most perfect waves in the world and with a tropical climate, there’s no need for a wetsuit. Green rice paddies, enchanting monkey temples, Bintangs on the beach and locals shouting “DVD! Transport!”- what’s not to love? Bali has friendly locals, hot weather all year round and a range of waves from safe beach breaks in Kuta to reef breaks down in Uluwatu. There are plenty of surf camps in chaotic Kuta, but EST Bali in the Canggu area offers you a surf camp experience without the crowds. Bali is a relatively small island, so it’s easy to access all the major spots like Padang Padang. The camp’s base, “The Green Room Canggu”, lies amidst green rice paddies and you can stumble out of your bed onto the beach. They also offer guided “Surfaris” to the various surf spots around the island every day. There’s a daily shuttle service to the trendy expat area of Seminyak, or if you prefer to get out and about on your own, you can use their minibuses, jeeps and mountain bikes. If you’ve overdosed on surf, head inland to explore the mountains, volcano, and the artsy town of Ubud.
Booking your next surf trip? Easy Surf Trips do exactly what they say on the tin, they make a surf trip easy. EST can save you a wad of cash on booking your surf trip and they’re linked with some of the world’s best surf camps, so you know you’re getting a good deal. They’re not paying me to say that, and they’ve not bound and gagged me- they’re friends of Pommie Travels and will make sure your next surf trip is a memorable one!
photos courtesy of Steve Beyatte