Whether you are an avid surfer or just starting to think about dipping your toes in, a surf-centered vacation can be a great way to connect to yourself, to the ocean, and to others. Learning a new skill or advancing your technique can help you get into vacation-mode more quickly, moving your focus away from work and daily drama. Shared experiences also facilitate stronger relationships, so bring a friend or partner for a great bonding experience. If you are a solo traveler, small group trips can be a great way to connect with others who share your passions and sense of adventure.
All Levels, including advanced:
If you are looking to ride with the locals and take your sport to the next level, you’ll want to consider a small group trip led by someone who knows the ropes. Guru Adventure Travel specializes in action sports vacations, hosted by pro-athletes. Trips are focused around the athlete’s home location so they vary according to sport and pro. Their March surf trip is in Maui, led by legendary big wave surfer, Paige Alms. She just won the Big Wave World Championship for the 3rd time! She'll not only guide you out to the best break, but she'll spend the week showing you all her favorite Maui hikes, beaches, and secret spots. Beginners and non-surfers can opt-in to lessons or just enjoy the beachfront workouts with Paige's personal trainer, yoga and healthy meals cooked by the private chef.
If you feel comfortable enough to rent a board and go out on your own, you may consider a surf lodge. Often, there are optional rentals and instruction, but no set itinerary. This can also be a nice solution for budget travelers, since meals and programming are a la carte. Check out El Encuentro Surf Lodge in Cabarete, Dominican Republic. The lodge is tucked away near an amazing surf beach, just twenty minutes outside of the main town. There is a very cool community at the beach, a little pop-up town of surf shacks nestled amongst the palms trees with lessons, rentals, and a small cafe just steps from the water. Back at the lodge, there is a poolside tiki bar for a well-earned drink at the end of the day. Take a moto ride into Cabarete for more food options and nightlife or find your zen in this secluded little hideaway.
Lagos, Portugal is a coastal town full of cute shops, excellent eateries and great nightlife. Rent a board at Jah Shaka Surf Shop and play in the white water or paddle out to the big waves. Many local shops run excursions up the cliff-lined coast. The scenery is amazing and the surf ranges from tame to terrifying, so head warnings of rip tides and rocks. As a rule of thumb, always talk to the local experts and surf shop owners before paddling out.
For a true beginner, you'll want to choose a place where surfing is not the only option. It will take the pressure off and help you mix up your trip with a variety of activities. Learning to surf can leave you a little bruised and definitely tired, so it makes sense to plan short sessions and rest periods in between. Get comfortable before your trip by taking a few laps in a pool or trying a surf workout class like Surfset.
Combine two great body-awareness activities with a surf and yoga retreat. Witch’s Rock Surf Retreats in Costa Rica hosts women-only group trips that include yoga and surf instruction.
If you are looking for an even more exotic adventure, Morocco has some amazing surf locations including Maroc Surf Camp. Explore the beautiful cities and spend some days by the shore riding horses, practicing yoga, and learning to surf.
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