Mar 26 2008

Top 5 Places to Learn to Surf

Published by at 9:07 pm under Destinations,Travel

I’ve taken more than a few friends out to teach them surf. What I’ve learned is that there are good places to start and bad places. I took my brother out to surf at Ocean Beach San Francisco on what I thought was a small day, only to watch him go over the falls on a solid overhead wave while paddling out . He got washed back to the beach and called it a day. I learned to surf at Cowell’s Beach in Santa Cruz and stood up on the first wave I paddled for and rode it to the beach. Here’s a list of places to bring your friends or head to yourself.

Cowell’s Beach, Santa Cruz

I can’t imagine a better wave to learn on. Although the water’s generally cold, there always seems to be some swell in the water at Cowell’s The crowd is generally all beginners on foam boards, so it’s pretty safe and you don’t have to worry about hassling locals. The wave breaks on the outside and just rolls slowly over 100 yards to the beach. Most surfers are just going straight anyway, but the wave is has the perfect speed and steepness. If you’re there for a weekend, Santa Cruz is a very cool town and offers beautiful rugged Northern California beaches and Redwoods forests for exploration. Rent a surfboard and beach cruiser and hang in the chillest Northern California city.

cowells Top 5 Places to Learn to Surf

Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii

Waikiki is the warm-water version of Cowells. Or vice versa, since surfing originated in Hawaii. Waikiki has a long history of surfing. There’s waves all over the beach that a slow and rolling; the scenery is stunning; and there’s something very cool about learning where generations of Hawaiians have learned and ridden surf for centuries. Hawaii obviously has plenty to offer between sessions.

 Top 5 Places to Learn to Surf

Miami Beach, Florida

One thing you can be sure of in Miami Beach, it won’t ever be too big to learn. Miami seems to get a constant pulse of waist high surf and generally on-shore conditions. This guarantees great learning conditions and few locals to crowd the surf up. The beach goes on for miles, so you it won’t be hard to find a place to yourself. The water’s warm and you’re only a short walk from some of the best partying in the country also.

south beach miami Top 5 Places to Learn to Surf

Mal Pais, Costa Rica

Everyone has a friend or ten that have been to Costa Rica. The surprising thing about Costa Rica is that it lives up to its reputation and there are still plenty of unspoiled beautiful areas and remote beaches. Mal Pais/Santa Teresa is a beautiful beach village with a beach break that stretches for miles. It’s not touristy (not yet) and there’s plenty of ex-pat cafes and yoga to explore. There’s always swell, but the best times to surf are in the dry season from November to March. Come April, the South Pacific starts coming alive and the waves can get too big to learn to surf on.

mal pais Top 5 Places to Learn to SurfFlorianopolis, Brazil

Learn to surf trips involve generally little surfing and a lot of beach time. Florianopolis is an island in Southern Brazil surrounded by beautiful beaches. There’s a huge beach and surf culture in Brazil and plenty of board shops on the island. The nightlife in Brazil is legendary. Check out Florianpolis during our winter months and the peak of their summer. Between December and February the islands is packed with vacationing Brazilians. The beaches are busy and clubs are going all night. Nothing like a surf session to cure a hang-over.

praia mole Top 5 Places to Learn to Surf

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8 responses so far

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  • Uvitasurfschool

    The Best Waves for Beginning Surfers to Learn On

    When it comes to learning how to surf, some waves are better than others. For the beginning surfer, spilling waves are the best.

    Spilling waves occur when a gradually sloping ocean floor causes the wave to become steeper and steeper until the crest spills down the face of the wave in a rush of foaming whitewater. The wave continues in this manner until its energy is dissipated in a froth near the shore.

    Spilling waves break for a longer time than other waves, providing ample energy at the start of the ride and a gentle decrease in power as the wave nears the shore. For beginners who are just learning to stand and balance on the board this is ideal.

    When a wave breaks over a sandy bottom, it’s called a beach break. When a wave breaks over an obstruction, like a rocky bottom or a reef, it’s called a reef break. Reef breaks produce plunging waves which, while they are highly favored by experienced surfers, are difficult for beginners.

    Plunging waves rise quickly and become steeper, almost vertical at the crest, before plunging suddenly into the trough, creating a barrel or tube as they break along their line. To catch a ride inside that tube is the ultimate surfing experience.

    However, the suddenness and force of a reef break can be too much for a beginner. What’s more, the rocky bottom can result in a painful battering if the wave crashes down full force on a fallen surfer.

    At the Uvita Surf School, in Bahia Uvita, Costa Rica, Tito teaches beginners at Colonia Beach in Ballena National Marine Park. Colonia has a beach break and produces plenty of vigorous spilling waves to learn on. The gradually sloping sandy bottom at Colonia is most forgiving to surfers who fall in the course of their lessons, dramatically reducing the chance of cuts and abrasions.

    Waves are not all the same. Some are better than others. For beginners, spilling waves resulting from a beach break are the best waves to learn on.

    http://www.uvitasurfcamp.com

  • Peopleliveonearth

    I want to surf very badly, but my parents said that Santa Cruz (surfing there) has rocks and 2 people died by it recently because they hit there heads on the rocks when the waves pushed them down under… Is there a safer spot in California?????

  • Peopleliveonearth

    I want to surf very badly, but my parents said that Santa Cruz (surfing there) has rocks and 2 people died by it recently because they hit there heads on the rocks when the waves pushed them down under… Is there a safer spot in California?????

  • janiyah

    do they have sharks ???????????

  • Anonymous

    There are sharks in every ocean, but only a handful of attacks worldwide every year.

  • Angelo

    omg awesome places to visit..

  • A dream surfer

    I want to be a surfer but I don’t know how to surf that’s why I want to know where can I lern to surf in every country. Please let me !