10 Top Surfing Destinations for Beginners

Byron Bay

Surfing amid cool breeze, warm water, and sunset is one of the best feelings you can get, and to finally master the waves, you will need to keep your balance and make sure you don’t end up in the water.

Another bonus point of surfing is that it helps to keep you fit and you also get to feel and absorb the beach’s beautiful surroundings.

Finding the best places to surf is a whole lot different from finding the best places to learn how to surf, because the locations for experienced surfers may not be the best place for learners to stand up on a board.

If you’re going to learn how to surf, then you have to do it the right way and at the right locations.

Finding the best beginner-friendly surfing spots

There are many things that one should put into consideration when planning their first surfing trip. They are:

  1. Beginner-friendly waves
  2. Good and highly rated surf camps with experienced instructors
  3. Good vibes
  4. Locality and food
  5. The crowd
  6. The nightlife.

All of these are of paramount importance and should be considered when choosing a location.

Where are the top surfing destinations for beginners?

Below is a list of top surf destinations for beginners:

1. Muizenberg, Western Cape, South Africa

Muizenberg

This place is highly regarded and is considered the birthplace of surfing in South Africa, and is definitely one of the best places in the world to surf. Host and home to a bustling surfing community, and numerous surf schools.

Muizenberg used to be well known for its Great White sharks before Cape Town authorities came up with a shark spotting system that successfully keeps incidents at a minimum level. You could visit at any time of the year, as the weather conditions are always good for surfing and surfers are in the waters at all times.

Still, if you’re a beginner, the best time to visit Muinzenberge would be December and January – these are peak tourist seasons. At these times of the year, you find the water is at its warmest, between 19 to 21°C (66 to 70°F).

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The beaches may be crowded though, as both tourists and regular surfers are always in the water. If you want to beat the crowds, you might find that the month of August to October is a little less crowded.

February to June is when the water is usually cold, between 14 to 16°C (57 to 61°F), and a 4/3 mm.

2. Biarritz, France

Biarritz

Biarritz is located just in the Bay of Biscay, situated in the middle of Europe’s premier surf coastline. It sits on the Atlantic coast and offers incredible surfing opportunities.

This city is a luxurious seaside tourist destination right at the French Basque Country in southwestern France, and it just the perfect place for beach breaks and surfing holidays.

The city, only twenty-two miles from the Spanish border, is well known for its surf culture, and it’s just the perfect location for a surfing holiday. Down there, the waves are constant, and they vary, the area is very suitable for surfers of all abilities.

The best time to surf in Biarritz varies depending on surf ability. Biarritz is suitable for beginners from April to October, with June and July generally offering the perfect conditions and much tamer waves.

Biarritz is usually very busy and crowded since everyone loves to catch the surf bug, but from May to March and September to November, crowds are quieter, and the surf is much bigger.

Advanced surfers may want to skip this location during July and August because that’s when the waves coming from the Bay of Biscay are at their lowest. October and November are said to have the best, most challenging conditions.

Biarritz offers two iconic beaches with so many incredible surf spots, the Grande Plage and Cote des Basques. Beginners are advised to visit La Cote des Basques, located in the south of the city, for one of the best beaches in Europe to learn how to surf.

The beach has more shelter than the majority of spots in the area. La Cote des Basques offers mellow rides, which are just ideal for beginners.

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The town of Biarritz is located further up south, and it offers many spots for both beginners and experts.

3. San Clemente, California, USA

San Clemente

Is there any better place to catch the surfing bug than in California? Every other day, you see surfers chilling at the beach, sharing stories, waiting for the next lazy peak, and never fighting for a wave.

It’s a great place to be at any time of the year, but if you’re a beginner, its better you visit during summer.

Around this time, the water ranges from around 18 to 22°C (64 to 72°F). The water is chilly during winter, usually between 13 to 16°C (55 to 61°F), and you will need a wetsuit for longer sessions, so you don’t catch a cold.

4. Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

Byron Bay

It used to be a quiet hippie surf enclave, but it has now become a city of its own. Byron Bay has been well-known surfing in the Land Down Under since the 1960s, and it’s still considered one of the best surf towns in the world.

At Byron Bay, you’ll find there are eight main surf spots, with perfect peeling point breaks that are set against a lush backdrop. Most of them are moderate, and they never get too big, which is why it is so suitable for beginners.

At any given time of the year, you find that the weather is always lovely, the waves are very consistent, and you’ll find the water is warm, with its temperature does not go below 19°C (66°F).

So you can get your surf right away with just a spring suit during the Southern Hemisphere winter.

5. Zarautz, San Sebastian, Spain

Zarautz, San Sebastian, Spain

This is where you have it all, great food, lush hillsides, spectacular beaches, and a vibrant nightlife. San Sebastian, popularly known to be Spain’s food capital, is widely known as the birthplace of surfing in Spain.

The consistent beach breaks attract surfers from all over the world, and as you’d expect, there are so many surf schools, surf shops, and beach side cafes and bars around. Thanks to the constant swells produced by the Bay of Biscay, surfing is possible at any given time or period of the year.

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The best time to go if you are a beginner would be during summer because the water is warm between 20 to 25°C (68 to 77°F) during this period, and the waves are calm. If you’re surfing during the summer, you’ll only be needing a spring suit.

The winter comes with powerful swells and cold water, and the waves get more challenging to tackle, this is obviously not a good time for beginners to come surfing

6. Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

Bali is well known for its legendary reef breaks, but the good news is, there are so many places where beginners can still learn to surf in this exotic paradise.

There are constant swells all year, the water is warm at all times, and there are plenty of surf schools around. There are so many spots for beginners in Bali, but the most popular beginner spot here is Kuta.

Kuta beach is endowed with long rolling waves and a sandy bottom.

And as expected, its popularity also means that it gets seriously crowded all the time, so you might want to find yourself another spot. Next to Kuta Beach is Canggu. Canguu is not as crowded or packed as Kuta, and there are three reef breaks there, that are suitable for beginners at low tide.

The best time for beginners to visit would be during the dry season, between May and September. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, then October and November are just it, they are still good months on the west coast.

The water stays warm all year, with its temperature around 27-29°C (80-84°F).

7. Weligama, Sri Lanka

Weligama, Sri Lanka

This place boasts the highest biodiversity density in the whole of Asia. Sri Lanka is a startling, beautiful, and yet unbelievably affordable destination. It is renowned for its incredibly long waves that are also friendly to first-timers.

There are two surfing seasons in Sri Lanka, one for the south coast and one for the east coast, making it possible to surf at any time of the year.

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If you’re looking for the best place to learn to surf in the country, then you should be looking towards the southern tip of the island, in the Matara District, Weligama. Here at Sri Lanka’s surfing mecca, the surf town offers many lefts and rights and long rides on slow waves.

The best time to go if you are a beginner would be from November through April, as this is the main surfing season. The water stays warm all year, and never goes below 26°C (79°F).

Everything about this place is just perfect, from the surfing seasons to the waves to the surf culture, and the food.

8. Lagos, Algarve, Portugal

Lagos, Algarve

When you think about surfing in Portugal, the epic waves immediately come to mind. If you want relaxed waves, warm water, a gorgeous natural backdrop, and great food in just one place, then head south!

But the die-hard surfers have Nazaré, Ericeira, and Peniche on their bucket list.

The Algarve, widely acknowledged as the warmest coast in mainland Europe, picks up swells from every direction; you can always find a spot to surf any time of year. Meia Praia is a long sandy beach and haven for beginner surfers right in front of the town.

The best time for beginners to visit the Lagos would be during the summer, between May and August, when the waves are smaller, and the waters are warm, with ita temperature between 22 to 25°C (72 to 77°F).

The beaches also get crowded in the summer, but you can avoid the crowd if you visit around early autumn or late spring when the water is slightly colder. A wetsuit is required.

9. Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Over time, Tamarindo has gone from a small fishing village to a booming tourist town, and the Tamarindo beach has become one of the most visited places in the country. The Tamarindo beach is well known for its excellent waves, the stunning sunsets, and the fun vibe.

This beautiful sandy beach stretches about 2.5 kilometers from one end to the other end, and the northern part of the beach turns into the estuary inside the Las Baulas National Park, and you can walk all the way down to the southern region.

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Tamarindo has been acknowledged as one of the best beaches for beginners, because of its awesome, breath-taking surfing waves and many other attributes.

The sandy shores, a plethora of surf spots and many surf camps, it’s an excellent place for people to learn to surf and have a fun time in Costa Rica.

Another fascinating highlight of the Tamarindo beach is the beautiful sunset, as you get a full view of the sun going down for the night.

The beauty is such that attracts everyone in the environment at the time, you get to see everyone taking out their cameras to take photos of the gorgeous sky as the sunsets.

10. Taghazout, Morocco

Taghazout, Morocco

Ever since the 1970s, Morocco has been a popular winter destination for European surfers, thanks to its long, righthand point breaks. The good thing is, Taghazout has a variety of surf schools to choose from.

There are arguably more surf camps than surf spots down the south, so you’re bound to find one that suits your budget, and you’re sure to get the time of your life, especially as most beaches around can throw up a smooth wave for learners.

The best time to go would be from November to February, as this isn’t when the big swells roll in, early autumn has smaller waves, and the weather is usually warmer, which makes it learner-friendly.

Bottom line

These are just some of the wonderful locations where you can learn how to surf as a beginner.

If you have visited any of these locations or there are other cool surfing spots you know with beginner-friendly waves, do not hesitate to share them with us through the comments section below.

We would love to hear all about your surfing experience and other newbies can also learn a thing or two from your feedback.

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Emmanuel Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuel Eguono is a mass communicator and fashion designer. When he is not behind a laptop screen or on a sewing machine, he spends his time netflixing and swimming.
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