Practiced all over the world, with a “no boundaries” attitude and a deep connection to nature, surfing is much more than a sport. It’s a hobby and way of life that many use to escape the daily grind and cut-loose.  Even if you’ve never tried it, you probably get the sense that learning to catch some waves with a board and ride them into the shore (a practice that dates all the way back to ancient Polynesian and Samoa) would be pretty fulfilling and fun.

As Irish surfer John McCarthy once said: “Surfing is the most blissful experience you can have on this planet.” 

So why not give into the call to slip into a wetsuit, pick up a board, and get gnarly?

You don’t have to be a seasoned wax head to take on killer tubes, bodacious swells, and jaw-dropping breaks. In fact, there are plenty of places with opportunities for learning how to surf.  You just need the right combination of warm water, soft breaks, open waters, and expert help for the perfect surfing student environment. 

Here are some beginner-friendly destinations that you can visit and that’ll have you hooked and hanging ten in no time!

Palm Beach, Australia

Image via Flickr CC - Brian Glesen

(Image via Flickr CC – Brian Glesen)

Australia is one of the world’s premier surfing destinations, and when it comes to iconic beaches, they’re in abundance! One that is lesser known and tucked away in Sydney’s Northern Beaches (41 km from Sydney’s CBD), is the long and lovely Palm Beach. Compared to the well-known neighboring beaches, such as Bondi or Manly, Palm Beach ticks all the boxes for perfect places to be a scholar of the surf. The waves are mellow (particularly in the South end, which the locals call “kiddies corner”), the water’s clean and the beach itself is free from the swarms of tourists that can sometimes make for dangerous surfing conditions. Manly Surf School is the way to go for lessons (voted #1 Surf School in NSW by Surfing Australia), and their experienced team of friendly and qualified instructors will have you standing up and riding at the speed of the ocean in no time. Lessons start from $70, and the best time of year to go is September through November and from March to May.  

Fun fact: Fans of the long-running Australian soap opera series, Home and Away will recognize Palm Beach as the mythical village of Summer Bay where the show is filmed.

Seminyak, Bali

Bali is undoubtedly one of the world’s most exceptional surfing playgrounds. A beautiful island that is as rich in cultural color as it is in spiritual experience. And, as it just happens, it is also the perfect spot to get back to nature, test yourself against the ocean and most important, learn how to ride some waves. Just north of Kuta lies the dynamic and vibrant area of Seminyak. You’ll find that the further north you go in Bali, the bustling seaside scene becomes more chilled out, making Seminyak much less chaotic than Kuta (considered Bali’s party capital). The drop in crowds, coupled with famously warm waters, and a healthy amount of Balinese run surf schools, produces a learner’s paradise. Santai Surf is a qualified school, whose friendliness is as warm as the waters in which they teach. They manage to seamlessly blend surf safety with having fun, which in the end of the day, is what it’s all about! Lessons start from $30, and the best time of year to go is from April to November.

Waikiki, Hawaii

@b_easie about to take student Nick out

A post shared by Ty Gurney Surf School (@tygurneysurf) on

Hawaii is the birthplace of modern surfing, and there is no better place than Waikiki to try your hand at the “sport of kings”. Located on the south shore of Honolulu, Waikiki or as it’s known in Hawaiian “sprouting waters”, boasts one of Hawaii’s most gentle surf breaks. And, even though this famous strand of sand can get quite crowded, the local surf schools have been teaching here in Waikiki for generations and ensure a safe and fun environment to do so. One of the most highly rated is the Ty Gurney Surf School, who guarantee that no matter your age, fitness level, or ability, you’ll be up and riding during your very first lesson! Lessons start from $110, but with that kind of guarantee, you are sure to get your money’s worth. The surf can get quite big if there is a strong Southerly swell, but Waikiki is ideal all year round for learning (in particular, from May to October).

Fun Fact: Waikiki is within a half hour of a variety of Oahu attractions, including Iolani Palace,  Nuuanu Pali Lookout, and Pearl Harbor.

Nosara, Costa Rica

(image via Flickr CC - THINK Global School)

(image via Flickr CC – THINK Global School)

Surfing in Costa Rica is a natural result of the country’s laid-back culture, respect for nature and beautiful coastlines. One place, in particular, is the Pacific beach town of Nosara. Known for its roaring surf and mellow vibe, Nosara is a surfing and yoga hotspot that feels like a rural beach town that time forgot. Slightly more protected than some of the other well-known Costa Rican surf spots, Nosara is the perfect place to unwind and learn how to tame the waves. Friendly locals, warm waters, consistent waves and sandy banks create an ideal environment for coaching and the qualified instructors at the Nosara Tico Surf School have been doing just that. Prices for lessons start at $70 with a wide range of options, and the best time of year to go is November through April.

Are you an experienced surfer? Got any tips to help those of us who are still grommets to the game?


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About The Author

From Australia, skateboarder/explorer.