The Best Places to Learn to Surf: 9 Beginner Surf Destinations (2023)

Last Updated on August 14, 2023 by Matt Hapgood

6-8 Minute Read

Are you curious why surfing has increasingly grown popular over the years?

The answer is simple:it is one of the most thrilling and rewarding sports there is! Not only does surfing provide a fantastic workout for your body – engaging your core, arms, legs, and back – it also stimulates your mind, improving your mental focus and overall well-being.

By learning to surf, you will gain confidence and inner strength, as you learn to navigate the waves and conquer your fears.

In this article, we will discuss the numerous benefits of learning to surf and give you a list of the best beaches to learn to surf. Our goal is to inspire you to take up the sport and join the thousands of people around the world who have already experienced the joys of surfing and everything that goes along with it.

We’ll also run through the best places to learn to surf around the world, and hopefully inspire you to take that surf trip and get riding those waves!

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Hawaii, USA

The birthplace of surfing, Hawaii is undoubtedly the mecca of surfing on a global scale – with powerful reef breaks, point breaks, and beginner-friendly spots, it surely has everything to offer you as an aspiring surfer.

To learn more about Hawaii and it’s importance in the surf culture check out this article on the History of Surfing.

Ok, so you probably aren’t going to paddle out at Wamiea, Jaws or Pipe, but the South Side of Hawaii offers a tonne of options to learn to surf.

I remember hearing Tom Curren talking about the best place to learn to surf, and he mentioned Hawaii – basically, due to the fact there is a tonne of places to surf, and the water is almost always a nice warm temperature. I’d have to agree. Hawaii is THE surf capital of the World.

Best Beginner Surf Spots in Hawaii

1. ‘Pops’ aka Populars, Waikiki

Time of year: Any!

With mellow waves, long rides, and a laid-back atmosphere, although it can get very busy sometimes, Pops is a perfect place to learn to surf. Take lessons or rent a board from the beach and head out.

Water temperature is idyllic, typically around 75-80F year-round, so trunks and bikinis are the go-to attire!

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2: Pu’ena Point,Hale’iwa
Time of year: November through April

Catch the longest wave of your life atPu’ena! The swell needs to be big at surrounding breaks for this spot to work, but don’t worry, it’s a great beginner surf spot. It can get busy with surf schools. but if you take your time and show respect, you will get some fun rides that’s for sure!

Bali, Indonesia

If you’re a beginner surfer, the surfing mecca of Bali is the perfect destination for you. This Indonesian island has really consistent waves which are beginner-friendly – ideal for novices looking to hone their skills and, at the same time, have some exciting surfs.

But it’s not just the waves that make Bali such a great choice for beginners. The islands famous for some of the friendliest and most accommodating locals, who are always willing to lend a hand or offer tips to beginners looking to improve their surfing.

As well as being a great place to learn, Bali also has a load on offer when you’re not surfing. Stunning scenery, and awesome cafe’s and bars too, making it a great place to soak in some sun after a long day of surfing lessons.

So, whether you’re an experienced surfer looking for a new challenge or a complete newbie keen to experience the thrill of the waves, Bali is the perfect destination for you. Don’t wait any longer – book your surf trip now and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!

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Best Beginner Surf Spots in Bali

3. Batu Bolong Beach, Canggu AKA Old Man’s
Time of year: May through September

Easily one of the best places to learn to surf on the island of Bali is around Canggu. This small surf town has its own vibe and surf scene – probably due to the mix of natives and foreigners who now call this place home.

Slightly North West of Canggu, the waves at Old Man’s are a bit softer than Canggu, so more manageable for beginners. Be aware of the shorebreak at certain times of the day – it can be heavy!

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4. Padang Padang Rights AKA Baby Padang
Time of year: May through September

So the old saying goes, Padang Padang is so good it had to be named twice. ‘Baby Padang’ as the name suggests doesn’t have the powerful waves of its big sister – it’s the right-hander breaking closer to shore with a mellower personality.

Nonetheless, it’s a great place for you to learn the basics of popping-up and riding your first green wave, Baby Padang and the area around is also a great choice for a surf trip.

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Australia is an absolute paradise for surfers, with some of the best places in the world to surf. The country is surrounded by hundreds of miles of pristine coastline, offering crystal clear waters and no shortage of surf for both beginners and advanced surfers.

Also home to many of the World’s best surfers, a trip to Oz is a must!

There are countless surf spots in Australia, each with its own unique characteristics and charm. Whether you’re looking for a pro-level challenge or just want to catch a few fun waves, Australia has got you covered.

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Best Beginner Surf Spots in Australia

5. The Pass, Byron Bay
Time of Year: April through August

Considered one of the best surf breaks on the East Coast of Australia, The Pass often has beautiful mellow waves, perfect to improve your surf skills.

It can get insanely crowded, which is something important to consider – as is surf etiquette. Be mindful of others in the water and try to experience a laid-back surf.

Located just outside of the hippy surf town of Byron Bay, this area is a perfect destination for beginner surfers.

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6. Main Beach and around, Noosa Heads
Time of Year: All Year!

If you’re looking for places to get some of the best waves in the World, Noosa has to be on the list! Beginner-friendly surf is on tap, from Main Beach, all the way up to the points (depending on the conditions).

Once you have mastered the art of popping up, you can graduate to Little Cove and then on to Tea Tree – which has absolutely awesome surf.

With warm water year round (never really getting below 70F) Noosa is as good a place as anywhere in the World to learn to surf. The town has a load of cool restaurants and a tonne of surf shops to check out once your arms have given up for the day too!

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Discover the not-so-hidden gem of Europe – Portugal! This country boasts some of the best surf spots in the world, making it a surfer’s paradise.

From the rugged coastlines of the north to the sunny beaches of the south, Portugal offers a diversity of waves for all levels of surfers. A great place to give surfing a go, there are surf schools at practically every well-known beach across the country.

Apart from surfing, there are endless reasons to visit Portugal. From the vibrant capital city of Lisbon to the charming towns of Porto and Sintra, the country is rich in culture, history, and breathtaking natural beauty. Sample the delicious cuisine and indulge in renowned wine regions such as Douro, Alentejo, and Dao.

Get lost in the winding cobbled streets, soak up the sun on the golden sandy beaches, or hike through the lush green countryside. Whatever your interests may be, Portugal has something to offer you.

So, pack your bags and discover the wonders of this captivating country. With its warm and sunny weather, friendly and laid-back atmosphere, and world-class surf spots, Portugal is a destination that you won’t regret visiting.

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Best Beginner Surf Spots in Portugal

7. Peniche and around
Time of Year: All Year!

One of the most well-known surf towns in Europe, the coastline around Peniche is truly amazing.

With beaches facing in nearly every direction possible, no matter where you go, there will be at least one beach with good winds – and surfing in Portugal the wind is something you need to consider. It’s a windy country!

If you are looking for the best place to grab a surf lesson, there are a tonne of options around Peniche. November through April tends to have big waves, with smaller more easy waves in the Summer.

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8. Arrifana
Time of Year: All Year!

A beautiful bay surrounded by breathtaking cliffs, Arrifana, situated on the Southwest coast of the Algarve, Portugal is a great place for a surf vacation.

Sheltered by the common Nortada (Northerly) wind, and very consistent, you can surf almost every day of the year here.

With plenty of surf schools to choose from and a load of other waves in the area, the town of Aljezur just 10 mins drive is, in my opinion, one of the best destinations in Europe for your next surf vacation.

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Costa Rica

Are you searching for an adventure-packed destination with vibrant culture? Look no further than Costa Rica! This country is teeming with great surf is rightfully known for its friendly locals, tasty cuisine, and stunning beaches.

Speaking of beaches, Costa Rica has some of the best surf spots in the world!

From Playa Jaco to Tamarindo Beach, there are plenty of breaks for beginners and advanced surfers alike. But it’s not just about the waves.

Learning to surf in Costa Rica also presents a unique opportunity to connect with the ocean’s energy. And while there are a tonne of perfect beginner waves in Costa Rica, most spots offer great waves for intermediate and advanced surfers too.

Couple this with warm water year round you can see why the country is so famous for surfing.

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Best Beginner Surf Spots in Costa Rica

9. Playa Tamarindo
Time of Year: December through March

The long sandy beach at Tamarindo is ideal if you are learning to surf. Bars and guest houses line the beach – once you’re done for the day, sipping a tall cold drink and watching the sunset is something not to be missed.

If the waves are too small at Tamarindo, Playa Grande just to the North picks up more swell if you are up to the challenge!

The main town of Tamarindo has a relaxed surfy vibe, and there are plenty of other activities on offer if you want to do something other than surf.

Trunks and bikinis all year round, Playa Tamarindo should be on your list of places to check out for sure.

Bonus: Best place to learn to surf Q and A

1. What is the best place to learn how to surf?

The best place to learn how to surf depends on your skill level and preference. Somebeginner surfspots includeCosta Rica,Bali,Portugal, andSri Lanka. These destinations offersurf schoolsandsurf campsthat cater tobeginner surfers.

2. What are the best beginner surf spots?

Some of thebest beginner surfspots around the world includeSan Diego,Costa Rica,Bali,Portugal, andSri Lanka. These destinations offersandy beachandbeach breakwaves, which are perfect for learning to surf.

3. What is the best place to learn to surf year round?

If you’re looking for a surf destination that offers waves year-round, considerCosta RicaorBali. Both destinations have warm water and consistent surf conditions, making them ideal forbeginner surf.

4. What are the best waves for beginner surfers?

The best waves forbeginner surfersarebeach breakwaves, which break over a flat, sandy beach. Popularbeginner surf spotsincludeSan Diego,Costa Rica,Bali,Portugal, andSri Lanka.

5. What is the best surf school for beginners?

There areplenty of surf schoolsaround the world that cater tobeginner surfers. Some highly recommended schools include Surf Diva in San Diego, Witch’s Rock Surf Camp in Costa Rica, and Padang Surf Ocean Sports Centre in Bali.

6. What is the surf season like in Bali?

With its consistent swell and warm waters, the surf season in Bali is a joy for all surfers. From May to September, the waves are consistently pumping on the West Coast, with consistent breaks and pristine conditions to let you ride the waves that you’ve always dreamed of.

Bali is also a perfect place to learn surfing, as the gentle waves offer great conditions for beginners. If you’re up for a surfing adventure, come to Bali during the surf season and catch the waves of your dreams!


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