If you’ve ever wanted to surf, you have probably imagined yourself carving that perfect wave. The sun is shining, the water is warm, you’re slicing through the water heading toward a sandy beach. If only it were that simple! The truth is that many of us don’t live in a location that has a great surf break. With that in mind, you might decide that a surf holiday is worth a shot!
If you want to be standing on your board in no time, consider for a holiday that includes lessons. Even if you can stand up on your board, there’s a good chance that you have to break a few bad habits. Whilst they may not hamper you in the short term, to develop as a surfer you’ll want dodgy techniques to disappear ASAP.
Also, the sea can be a dangerous place. Over time you learn how to surf safely, but the risks from rip currents, tidal changes and anything else under your board are well worth learning about right from the start. A decent lesson will cover this.
Where Should You Go?
Everyone wants different things from a surf holiday. Advanced surfers might be looking for big waves or long tubes. You may also know whether you prefer a point break, beach break or a reef break (a ‘surf break’ is the sub-sea structure which causes a wave to break). Less-advanced surfers may well be looking for smaller waves, finishing on a pleasant beach somewhere.
There are literally thousands of surf-destination options, though. All you really need is a beach, a wave and somewhere to stay. If you’ve got a bit of cash to spend, the idyllic beaches of the Galapagos, Australia or even the Solomon Islands may be tempting, but don’t forget places closer to home too. In and around the UK, there’s world-class surfing in Ireland, Scotland and Cornwall. You just might need to wrap up a bit warmer.
What to Take on a Surfing Holiday?
Now that you’ve decided to go on a surf holiday, think about what you want to take with you. If you’ve decided to go where the sea is warm, you’ll probably be alright surfing in your board shorts or bikini (with plenty of sun cream on, of course). if you’re going somewhere slightly more chilly, though, you will want to wear a wetsuit to keep warm. Tailored to a variety of conditions, these come in different thicknesses. It’s also possible to get gloves and booties too to keep the extremities comfy. Needless to say, a tour operator should be able to give you good advice and may also have equipment for hire.
If you want to buy your own kit, look at how it has been made. Being immersed in the sea, you want it to be clean, so keep an eye out for products fabricated with the environment in mind. Have a read of this infographic about the toxicity of surfing.
What to Do When You’re Not Surfing?
You can’t guarantee the waves, so think a bit more about what else will be available where you’re going. If you want nightlife, then there are many places where you can combine city fun with surfing – perhaps Lagos in Portugal or Newquay in Cornwall. You might instead want to chill out, get a tan and read a book. In this case try somewhere a little off the beaten track; Nicaragua has some fantastic surf, for example.
Many surf operators are now also offering other activities on their holidays. Yoga is a great when combined with surfing – relaxing and great for your core muscles. There are many other places offering guests the opportunity to get involved in conservation projects whilst on holiday.
Anything Else to Look Out for?
It goes without saying that the company you holiday with has a massive effect on your experience. The waves could be awesome, but if your accommodation, the local staff or food is poor, you might not have a great time. Conversely, a great company will be able to make sure your holiday is a success even if the waves are flat.
Our top tip? Try holidaying with a locally run company. The owners are going to know everything there is to know about the waves, the area and surfing. They’re going to inspire you with their passion, and it’s their livelihood – you enjoying your holiday is their biggest priority. You’ll also be helping the local community – and quite possibly the environment too – so look out for companies with sustainability policies in place.