The Best Learn to Surf Destinations Around the World

A learn to surf trip, whether with friends or solo, is a guaranteed good time. Not only will you have fun learning a new skill, but you’ll also get to visit some unbelievable Instagram-worthy destinations. What’s more, surf lessons are a great value for money experience if you’re a backpacker. Given that you get all of your gear provided plus an expert guide to show you the difference between nosediving and hanging ten.

But where are the best learn to surf destinations located and what makes them so popular? To answer this, we’ve created a list that features 24 of our favorite learn to surf beaches and breaks from around the world. From the exotic tropics of Indonesia to the windswept coastlines of North Africa, these are the places you need to visit if you’re serious about wanting to stand up on a surfboard for the first time.

1. Bali

Bali, Indonesia

Bali is known as the ‘Island of the gods’ for good reason. With surf spots for all skill levels dotted around its southwest and southeast coast, plus ample opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture, it’s a backpacker’s learn to surf heaven on earth.

2. San Juan del Sur

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Nicaragua has had a bit of a rough trot lately, but that doesn’t change the fact San Juan Sur on the country’s Pacific coast is still one of the best learn to surf destinations in the world.

3. Byron Bay

Byron Bay, Australia

This hippie-hideout-cum-backpacker hotspot is a magnet for eager learn to surfers from all over the world… and for good reason. Located in Australia’s bucolic Northern Rivers region, Byron Bay is the complete package when it comes to surfing destinations.

4. Taghazout

Taghazout, Morocco

A favorite destination amongst intrepid surfers loing to evade those brisk European winters, Taghazout is an alluring learn to surf mecca located only a couple of short flights south of the Old World on Morocco’s Atlantic coast.

5. Waikiki

Oahu, Hawaii

Located on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, Waikiki is a veritable learn to surf playground that than lives up to its hype. Expect rolling waves that make learning to surf a breeze and an after-dark scene that rivals some of the world’s most popular nightlife destinations.

6. Cape Town

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, and specifically Muizenberg Beach, is wiy considered to be the birthplace of surfing in South Africa. Bohemian with a relaxed atmosphere, its shallow waters are ideal for backpackers who want an authentic learn to surf experience only 30 minutes from the country’s capital.

7. Sayulita

Sayulita, Mexico

A learn to surf adventure wouldn’t be complete without a trip south of the border. And nowhere in Mexico is it easier to grab a board and hit the waves than in Sayulita.

8. Manly Beach

Sydney, Australia

Manly Beach has been the go-to beach for backpackers loing to dip their toes into the Sydney surf scene for years. Less crowded than its famous counterpart over the bridge (Bondi), Manly blends big city living with a typical Australian beach lifestyle.

9. San Sebastian

San Sebastian, Spain

A picturesque beachfront promenade, world-famous restaurants and a thriving learn to surf culture make San Sebastián in Spain a not to be missed destination for wave-hungry backpackers.

10. Peniche

Peniche, Portugal

With its quaint town center and rich maritime history, Peniche offers visitors a glimpse into Portugal’s seafaring past. But the reason why we it is that it is also a hub for backpackers in Europe who want to learn to surf.

12. Strandhill

Strandhill, Ireland

Ireland may not seem like your typical learn to surf destination. But when it comes to the beach break of Strandhill, it definitely deserves a mention. Considered to be one of the best beaches to learn to surf in the country, it has also produced some of the nation’s most skilled surfers.

13. Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

If you want to learn to surf in the tropics than Santa Teresa in Costa Rica may just be the place for you. Situated in the Puntarenas Province, Santa Teresa is a town that draws surfers from all over the world.

14. Hoddevik

Hoddevik, Norway

With advances in wetsuit technology, cold-water surf destinations are becoming and popular. Hoddevik in Norway, for example, is but one learn to surf hotspot with a reputation for epic waves in near freezing conditions.

15. San Diego

San Diego, USA

Spending a few days on the west coast of the USA? A trip down to sunny San Diego for a learn to surf session should definitely be on your itinerary.

16. Durban

Durban, South Africa

African, Indian and colonial influences blend together to give Durban an almost indescribable attractiveness. Beyond its unique of cultures though, there are also some pretty awesome waves as well.

17. Sagres

Algarve, Portugal

Situated at the western tip of the Algarve, Sagres is one of the most desirable learn to surf towns in Portugal and Europe. Visitors to this laidback destination can expect to find a of beach-loving locals and beginner surfers sharing the waves.

18. Cocoa Beach

Florida, USA

Cocoa Beach is the birthplace of 11 times world champion Kelly Slater, so it goes without saying that it must have some great waves. And while you may not become an instant surfing star after a couple of sessions here, you will get to claim that you learned to surf at the same beach as this celebrated competitor.

19. Newquay

Newquay, England

Regarded as England’s foremost learn to surf destination, Newquay features great waves and the type of relaxed atmosphere that’s typical of surf towns around the world.

20. Scheveningen

Scheveningen, Netherlands

Scheveningen near the Hague can offer up some seriously memorable learn to surf days. You’ll just need to make sure you time your session when the weather isn’t too crazy.

21. Perth

Perth, Australia

Contrary to popular belief, there are other places to learn to surf in Australia besides Sydney. Perth for one has waves all year round that rarely get over waist high, making it the ideal place for beginner surfers.

22. Ngarunui Beach

New Zealand

In a country that’s known for its extreme sports and adrena-charged activities, Ngarunui Beach offers a different change of pace in a quaint New Zealand coastal setting.

23. Tofino

Tofino, Canada

Off Canada’s west coast is the town of Tofino. With its wild natural scenery that encompasses lakes, ancient rainforests and, sandy beaches, it is a popular surf destination amongst Canadians and backpacking internationals alike.

24. Weligama

Weligama, Sri Lanka

‘Weligama’ means sandy village, which is an apt name for a town that sits right next to a sweeping bay. Half fishing village and half energetic surf town, it is the perfect spot for beginners who want to refine their wave riding skills while on holiday in Sri Lanka.

So what did you think of our learn to surf list? Have we got you totally amped to try surfing for the first time? If your answer is yes, then don’t let another wave pass you by. Book a trip to one of these dreamy learn to surf destinations today and start your surfing career off on the right (or left) foot.

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