The guide on surf schools for beginners, intermediate and pro sportsmen

The guide on surf schools for beginners, intermediate and pro sportsmen

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Nowadays surfing has been fairly considered one of the most spectacular sports ever. Just a fact: in 2021 surfing is going to have its debut appearance at the Olympics in Japan.

More and more people are attracted by the hype around surfing and seeking opportunities to challenge their first, second and who know what number of wave. But it all starts from a school for surfing.

In this feature, a second part of an article on how to choose a surf school, we will tell more about surfing schools for beginners, intermediate and pro sportsmen all around the world. We have also collected a list of the best schools for you.

Surf school for beginners

Photo: Nick-fewings / Unsplash

When you as a beginner apply for your first course in a surf school, you should remember, that there is no such thing as an overnight success. It's a real school where you will have to really study, aside of all fun options of course.

Many first timers mistakenly consider that being good in snowboarding will help them succeed in surfing quickly. The reality proves the opposite. Surfing requires not only solid physical power, but also good balancing, swimming and diving skills, courage and A LOT of theoretical knowledge. Thus education in surf schools is basically built around all these spheres with a particular emphasis on theory. 

When you get to a surf school for the first time, they will not take you to the ocean right away. Normally instructors begin the first lesson with some basic explanation on currents, waves and safety as well as provide a demonstration of paddling and take-off techniques.

Later on, depending on a particular school, you may also have training on free diving (in a pool) and power exercises, skateboard and yoga classes, lectures on breathing, types of surfboards and many more, either included or for extra money.

All together these activities may number around 5-7 events besides surfing program. Usually these details are listed in surf school offer which you can view on a home page or in social media, but if you find that anything is unclear to you its always better to ask and check before you proceed to payment.

Well, let’s compare some surf schools from different parts of the world:

Quicksilver Bali Surf Academy

  • Location: Kuta, Bali, Indonesia.
  • Best season: beginners are welcome to come to challenge theirs first fun waves all year round with the best season lasting from May to October, which is also good for intermediate and advanced surfers.
  • Duration of a course: up to 3 lessons 2 hours each, which you may double or triple and so on depending on your progress and holiday duration.
  • Instructors’ certificates: ISA.
  • Lifeguards: OK.
  • Equipment (brands): different "Learn To Surf" surfboard brands, local manufacturers Chilli & Luke Struder.
  • Accommodation: not included.
  • Price of course: 3 lessons in a group (4 pax) — 1.200.000 IDR per person, prices of individual instructors on this location — 950.000 IDR for 2 hours.
  • Nearest airport: Ngurah Rai — Denpasar, Bali.

Website

Cabarete Surf Camp

  • Location: Cabarete — Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.
  • Best season: November — March.
  • Duration of a course: longest course lasts for 3 days, however you are welcome to contact the school to customize your surf trip.
  • Instructors’ certificates: N/A.
  • Lifeguards: N/A.
  • Equipment (brands): brands are not specified, on the home page it is stated that the school possesses a collection of more than 100 boards, all of top quality and in excellent condition.
  • Accommodation: included.
  • Price of course: 95—300 USD depending on length of your stay and type of room you choose, prices per hour of individual instructors on this location — 40 USD.
  • Nearest airport: Puerto Plata International Airport.

Website

Baleal Surf Camp

  • Location: Peniche, Portugal.
  • Best season: April — September — for beginners, October — March — for intermediate and advanced surfers.
  • Duration of a course: 1—4, 5, 10 and 15 classes.
  • Instructors’ certificates: ISA, Portuguese Surfing Federation, Portuguese Tourism Board, Peniche Harbour Captancy.
  • Lifeguards: OK.
  • Equipment (brands): not specified.
  • Accommodation: not included.
  • Price of course: 30—345 EUR depending on number of lessons and season, prices per hour of individual instructors on these locations — 69-80 EUR depending on the season.
  • Nearest airport: Lisbon Airport.

Website

Biarritz Paradise Surf School

  • Location: Biarritz, France.
  • Best season: May — August.
  • Duration of a course: regular — up to 5 days (1 lesson per day), intensive — 5 days (2 lessons per day).
  • Instructors’ certificates: FFS (France Surfing Federation).
  • Lifeguards: OK.
  • Equipment (brands): 150 boards and 60 wetsuits.
  • Accommodation: not included.
  • Price of course: 40—330 EUR depending on number of lessons and season, prices per hour of individual instructors on these locations — 100—120 EUR depending on the season.
  • Nearest airport: Biarritz Airport.

Website

The Surfer Surf Camp

  • Location: Weligama, Sri Lanka.
  • Best season: November — April.
  • Duration of a course: 7 days.
  • Instructors’ certificates: not specified.
  • Lifeguards: not specified.
  • Equipment (brands): local brands.
  • Accommodation: included.
  • Price of course: 350—1300 USD depending on the number of lessons per day and accommodation type.
  • Nearest airport: Bandaranaike International Airport.

Website

Surf school for intermediate sportsmen

Photo: Autri-taheri / Unsplash

What distinguishes an intermediate surfer is the ability to do bottom-turn and cutback as well as take off smoothly, maintain a linear trajectory on the surf line and bail out without hurting oneself and others in the process. Another significant skill is to read surf forecast and plan a session.

Upon reaching this level you are free to go further and learn how to choose best waves, paddle out more efficiently using less power, make optimal use of each wave and moving your bodyweight from rail to rail and — if you are a longboarder — from tail to nose. To master all these skills it makes sense to apply to a surf school of a higher category. Here are some recommendations of spots of this type worldwide.

Asu Surf Camp

  • Location: Nias, Indonesia.
  • Best season: May — September.
  • Duration of a course: 10 days.
  • Instructors’ certificates: not specified.
  • Lifeguards: not specified.
  • Equipment (brands): local brands and imported basic boards.
  • Accommodation: included.
  • Price of course: 1100—1370 EUR depending on accommodation type, prices per hour of individual instructors on these locations — subject to negotiation.
  • Nearest airport: Medan International Airport.

Website

The Surf Hotel Morocco

  • Location: Tamraght, Morocco.
  • Best season: September— April.
  • Duration of a course: up to 13 days.
  • Instructors’ certificates: not specified.
  • Lifeguards: not specified.
  • Equipment (brands): over 150 boards of highest quality.
  • Accommodation: included.
  • Price of course: 142—857 EUR depending on number of lessons and accommodation type, prices per hour of  individual instructors on these locations: subject to negotiation.
  • Nearest airport: Agadir Al-Massira International Airport.

Website

Odysseys Surf School

  • Location: Kuta, Bali, Indonesia.
  • Best season: May — October.
  • Duration of a course: up to 7 days.
  • Instructors’ certificates: Australian Academy of Surfing Instructors.
  • Lifeguards: OK.
  • Equipment (brands): Malibu, local brands.
  • Accommodation: not included.
  • Price of course: 455.000—4.550.000 IDR depending on number and type of lessons, prices per hour of individual instructors on these locations — 780.000—4.550.000 IDR depending on a number of lessons.
  • Nearest airport: Ngurah Rai International Airport.

Website

Campsurf

  • Location: Manhattan Beach, California, USA.
  • Best season: December — February
  • Duration of a course: up to 5 days.
  • Instructors’ certificates: CPR.
  • Lifeguards: OK.
  • Equipment (brands): not specified.
  • Accommodation: not included
  • Price of course: 70—380 USD depending on number of lessons and participants, prices per hour of individual instructors on these locations — 90—380 USD depending on a number of lessons.
  • Nearest airport: Los Angeles International Airport.

Website

Ride Surf Resort

  • Location: Peniche, Portugal.
  • Best season: October — March.
  • Duration of a course: you are free to choose the desired duration.
  • Instructors’ certificates: not specified.
  • Lifeguards: OK.
  • Equipment (brands): not specified
  • Accommodation: included.
  • Price of course: 85—399 EUR per day depending on number of lessons and other options, prices per hour of individual instructors on these locations: not specified, the tuition fee is included in total cost with accommodation and other options.
  • Nearest airport: Lisbon Airport.

Website

Surf school for pros

Photo: Surfing-croyde-bay / Unsplash

When you reach the level of a pro-surfer, you clearly know how to catch good waves anytime anywhere on Earth. Unless you are a solo drifter there is also a community behind you. Just by definition most pros no longer go to a surf school, they rather research, plan and surf on their own or in a company of friends.

However, if as a pro you are determined to proceed further some extra professional guidance will be good. It will help you to excel what you are already capable of and learn something new, whether it is challenging fast barrels or doing aerials without getting wiped out.

Finding an appropriate surf instructor is not a big deal now. If you are planning your trip in advance, the first thing you can do is to search through social media using particular tags or pages. Today eminent surf guides and professional locals often promote themselves on Instagram and other platforms. You are free to give a shout directly to someone you like and trust. Searching through the surfing community you belong to or any other is another solution. Dedicated surfers mostly know each other or know someone who knows someone you need anywhere etc. It might be time-consuming, but this is what planning is about.

Continuing as a pro is also about reaching out to particular spots:

Mentawai and Maluku Islands, Indonesia

The travel is going to be pricey, but you will be among a few surfing in a remote and authentic location. These island trips are normally arranged on boats. The average price for the all-included package starts from 300 USD per night. Standard duration — 7-10 days.

Hawaii, USA

There you can find a large variety of surf camps and many instructors. Regular price for 2-hours pro-surf coaching will cost you 150 USD, whereas the price for 1-hour surf guide is 175 USD.

Cloud 9, Siargao Island, Philippins 

Struggling with high expenses? Nevermind, there is a spot where you can go relatively cheap and easy and still reach new limits in your surfing experience — Cloud 9 in Siargao. The Filipino island receives decent swell in August-September and annually hosts World Surf League Competitions. There is a number of greatly skilled locals who will be happy to coach and guide you for some reasonable reward.

Whatever is your choice, never forget that surfing is an endless school and you don't want to stop learning ever. Enjoy it!

You will also like these articles about surfing

The guide on surfing for beginners: gear, weather, prices, and dangers

How to read a surf forecast to get the best surfing experience

"Surfing is about connection with nature". Interview with Canadian surfer Mac Pridham

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