Looking for the best places to learn to surf? From Bali and Sri Lanka to the UK, South Africa and beyond – here are some of the best beginners surf spots!
Really want to give surfing a go and trying to figure out the best places to learn to surf and some awesome beginner surf spots?
From the tropical shores of Sri Lanka and Bali to the colder climates of the UK and latino vibes of Ecuador – here are some the best beginners surf spots in the world.
So get ready for some ocean vibes, god times and heaps of stoke!
15 Of The Best Places To Learn To Surf
Why Are These The Best Places To Learn To Surf?
So when it comes to learning to surf it’s pretty important to keep in mind that the best surf destinations in the world aren’t necessarily the nest places to learn to surf!
Advanced surfers chase long, hollow waves, usually breaking over shallow, sharp reefs – which are certainly not the conditions you want to be learning to surf in!
Beginner surf spots are generally mellow, forgiving beach breaks – with sandy bottoms and long walls of rolling white water. And that’s what all the following surf spots have in common, they’re forgiving and ideal to learn on.
So if you’re looking to learn to surf these are some of the best places to learn to surf all over the globe…
The Taghazout surf scene is known by surfers all over the globe – with the famous Anchor Point being one of the worlds premier point breaks.
But Taghazout is also an awesome place to learn to surf and there are plenty of amazing surf camps and surf schools in the area who will be able to help you out.
Spots like Devils Rock, Crocs and KM21 all offer some really fun, mellow conditions to learn on. And of course if you want to push your surfing to the next levels there are plenty of other awesome intermediate spots around too.
A great destination to escape the European winter, Taghazout is pretty cheap to get to (fly into Agadir airport) and costs on the ground are pretty cheap too.
Byron Bay, Australia
One of my personal favourites – Byron Bay is certainly one of the best places to learn to surf in Australia, as well as the world.
The famous Pass surf spot offers long, rolling right hander that break over a sandy bottom – and you can score wave there over a minute long!
The inside section of this point is ideal for beginners too and there are plenty of surf schools in the area offering lessons. Insider tip though – only Style Surf and Lets Go Surf have permits to actually teach in Byron Bay itself, all the other surf schools will take you down the coast!
Wategos and Main Beach are 2 other awesome beginner surf spots in the area too – but as with all the spots in Byron once the swell gets pumping its advanced surfers only.
Often described as Byron Bay 25 years ago, Yamba is all about the beach vibes and is another amazing beginner surf spot in Australia.
Turners Beach offers super fun, sheltered waves year round and you’ll often see dolphins in the lineup too!
Yamba is certainly much more relaxed and quiet than Byron Bay – so hit up my buddy Shayno from Surf Camp Down Under to join his surf lessons and make the most of the chilled out Yamba vibes!
Ahangama, Sri Lanka
After working a surf photographer for a couple of seasons, Sri Lanka has firmly made it onto the list of the best pales to learn to surf.
There are a huge variety of waves along the South West Coast which are suitable for beginners and intermediate surfers.
The Sri Lanka surf season runs from Oct > April too so it’s pumping when Bali and Indonesia drops off – ideal!
Ahangama is one of the least crowded sections of the coastline too and much less of a tourist hotspot than neighbouring towns like Mirissa.
Stick and Marshmallows would be the spots I recommend hitting up. Marshmallows is a super fun, deep water reef (honestly you’d be hard pushed to hit it!) ideal for beginners and longboarders.
Sticks on the other hand has the potential for some much more punchy, hollow waves, but on a smaller swell is super fun for higher end beginners too.
Ticket to Ride Surf House sits right in front on them as well – so it’s the perfect base with some amazing coaching.
Weligama, Sri Lanka
Alongside Ahangama is Weligama – which offers up a huge range of amazing surf breaks suitable for those learning to surf and beyond.
It’s certainly busier than Ahangama, but that makes it ideal for those people who want a bit more nightlife and activity outside of surfing and their are plenty of Sri Lanka surf camps kicking around to choose from.
Like Ahangama there are plenty of waves in the area to help you progress too, all within a short tuk tuk ride of the town.
And whilst most of the spots are out of bounds for beginner surfers the beach breaks of Seminyak (and even Kuta) are perfect places to learn to surf.
With heaps of local surf coaches and surf camps, coupled with cheap accomodation costs and living – not to mention the tropical waters – Seminyak offers one of the best places to learn to surf in Bali!
Sure the hipster Mecca of Canggu promotes itself as a great place to learn, but the crowded lineups make it a bit of a nightmare – so trust me, you’re better off learning in Seminyak!
Raglan, New Zealand
Welcome to the land of the long white cloud!
The main point break in Ragland, New Zealand is one of the best left handers in the world and I’ve been stoked enough to see it work its magic and scored some epic sessions whilst I was living out there!
But the beach break in Raglan is also an amazing place to learn to surf whilst you’re in New Zealand too.
It’s pretty unique too with its black volcanic sands – but these empty lineups are the perfect place to practice. Hit up the crew of Raglan Surf School who offer lessons as well as surf and stay packages too.
Ah Montanita – one of my personal favourite surf towns around the globe!
I actually surf coached for a few seasons in this stunning slice of South America and it’s certainly one of the best places to learn to surf I’ve come across on my travels.
Not only do the mellow rolling beach breaks offer the ideal playground to nail your moves the town itself is heaps of fun when you’re not surfing too!
So if you’re heading to South America and Ecuador is on the itinerary make sure you pencil in some serious time for surf, sun and salsa dancing in Montanita!
Another hot spot for escaping the European winter, Portugal gets some pumping Atlantic swells throughout the main surf season.
But for those wanting to learn to surf there are plenty of sheltered beach breaks to choose from – and a whole range of accredited surf schools and surf camps so you can choose from day lessons or a full week long surf trip to get you started.
Great food, cheap prices and budget friendly flights from Europe and the UK all make Portugal a great choice for a surf trip. Your best bet will be to fly into Faro airport and then head down to Sagres. You could also opt for a stay or surf camp in Lagos too if you wanted a bit more hustle and bustle, but head down the coast for the best beginner waves.
Cape Town, South Africa
If I had to pick one destination on the list as my ultimate places to learn to surf Cape Town would come out as the winner.
Not only is Cape Town full of incredible things to see and do (seriously you can jam pack your itinerary here!) but there’s some incredible wave son offer here too.
Muizenberg Beach has got to be one of the best places to learn to surf anywhere in the world and serves up the ideal playground for beginners surfers.
This long, sandy bottom beach has the perfect waves for those looking to perfect their pop and beginner turns.
Coffee Bay, South Africa
Another South Africa addition to the list, Coffee Bay is an insanely beautiful spot, just a few hours drive south of Durban.
Expect super friendly locals, laid back vibes and some really fun, mellow surf peaks – all of which make it an ideal spot to learn to surf.
The Coffee Shack (the villages only hostel) also offer up what must be the cheapest surf lessons on the planet too – with a 2 hour lesson costing on £3 – about $6AUD or $4USD!
If that doesn’t entice you to get a lesson and hit the waves I don’t know what will!
Time to leave the tropics behind and hit the UK for some waves now. Yup, everyones a bit shocked to hear you can surf in the UK, but this little island in the Atlantic is where I actually learnt to surf!
Newquay has to take the crown as the most famous surf town in the UK and this little slice of Cornwall is packed full of really fun waves for all levels of surfer.
Fistral Beach is the place to head for the most consistent surf here though, with Watergate Bay another firm personal favourite.
There are plenty of surf schools in the area, so get a lesson booked in and get the surfing basics nailed before you head off on a warm water adventure!
Saunton is the beach I spent the most time surfing on growing up, so it had to make the list!
This spot in North Devon sits alongside Croyde and Putsborough – 2 of my other favourite UK surf spots.
What sets Saunton apart as one of the best places to learn to surf though is its long boarder appeal and the waves here are super cruise, breaking along a huge sandy beach, seriously there are miles of it!
As far as I know there’s only one surf school operating on Saunton Beach – but its also a great spot to head once you start venturing out solo too.
Ummm hang on isn’t Bristol a city, miles from the beach?!
Well yeah, but it’s also home to The Wave – one of the most accessible wave pools in the world.
And as well as pumping up a huge range of intermediate and advanced waves, The Wave in Bristol also offers surf lessons too.
So if you want controlled, guaranteed conditions year round it does set itself up as one of the best places to learn to surf.
That being said though, it’s not the ocean – so don’t nail the basics here and then head straight for the beach without learning about ocean safety and taking a few ocean based surf lessons too!
Or if you’re Aussie based, URBNSURF wavepool in Melbourne is also a solid shout!
Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica
When it comes to surf destinations in Central America Costa Rica has to be one of the most popular – and its mix of tropical climate, epic beaches and largely Americanised infrastructure make it super accessible.
For seasoned surfers the draw of the Endless Summer showcased some of the best waves the country had to offer (which unfortunately are now pretty crowded) but for beginner surfers Playa Tamarindo offers up the goods.
Miles of beautiful white sandy beaches with playful surf make it a great place to learn and there are a whole host of surf camps and instructors on hand to help you out.
The town itself has some epic party vibes too – so its a surf hard, party harder vibe with all the Central American flair you could ask for!
San Juan del Sur, Nicuragua
Another addition from Central America but certainly more off the beaten track than Costa Rica is Nicuragua.
This relative new comer to the surf scene it’s one of the most adventurous destinations that Central has to offer, but those who take the time and effort will be rewarded with largely empty surf beaches and tropical vibes.
For those who don’t want to stray too far off the track San Juan del Surf is the palce to head and this lively tourist town has enough to keep you busy (including the infamous Sunday Funday).
But we’re here to talk about the surf though! There are plenty of mellow beach breaks around the area and lots of hostels and surf camps who will welcome you in and show you the ropes.
Where are you heading to learn to surf?
Any spots you’d add to the list?