How To Choose the Best Surf Camp in 8 Steps

Surf camps have a certain appeal. They’re ideal places to learn surfing, especially for solo travelers who want to meet people and socialize in a friendly environment. However, surf camps are springing up in every nook and cranny. You’ll find plenty with an ocean at almost every corner of the planet.

The increased numbers make heads spin because choosing the best can become a nightmare. So, how do you go about it?

1. Picking the perfect venue

This is perhaps the most important step. If you know where you want to head to learn surfing, you’ll already be able to narrow down your search for the perfect surf camp. Once you pick a spot, you can search for all the surf camps that exist at that location and browse through their offerings, rates, and other benefits.

Choose the one that corresponds well with all your needs to make your surf camp journey a successful one. Be sure to not only make this experience about surfing, even if that is the goal, but also to venture out into this new location to learn more about local culture, art, food, and its people. 

2. Making sure you choose according to your level and requirements

If you’re a beginner or an intermediate surfer, you’d want to pick a camp that offers surf lessons. Advanced surfers usually go for surf guiding rather than lessons in which they take a few refresher courses and work with a guide to master their techniques further. Since they already know surfing, guiding helps them to become better at their own game. 

Deciding on the courses you’re most comfortable with is an integral part of selecting the best surf camp. Group lessons are fun because they involve many people learning at the same time and give you real human experience. However, if you’d like more individual and focused coaching to work on a technique you’ve been struggling with for a long time, you might want to go for personalized coaching. 

Research on the experiences and qualifications that professors possess. Skills like knowledge about lifesaving techniques and CPR are important competencies that coaches need to have. While surfing skills are important, they also need to be great teachers.

Making sure that you choose a camp based on your own needs is important for a successful progression in this field.

3. Checking if they have all the equipment you might need

While it's great if you’re considering taking your own surfboard and surfing gear, carrying these things around can be a nightmare. Check if a surf camp you’re interested in has these items on sale or to borrow.

Having access to everything in one place makes sure that even if you forget or don’t prefer to carry equipment with you, you’ll be able to get it while there. Good surf camps will always make sure that they are fully stocked so that their clients are not inconvenienced. 

4. Analyzing the ambiance

Different surf camps will offer you a different vibe, and you need to make sure that the place you’re investing in offers you just what you’re looking for.

Whether you’re a party animal, love your solitude, or are looking for a little bit of nature for a completely zen experience, you’ll have to search for the kind of ambiance each camp has and then make your decision based on that.

It’ll also be worth checking the languages the courses are offered in. If you don’t understand the language, there will be no point in registering. You should feel at ease with the curriculum and atmosphere and look forward to the experience.

5. Reading the reviews

Check what other people are saying about a specific camp. Reviews help you understand and see something from another person’s viewpoint. Platforms like TripAdvisor and Google give you a chance to do just that. If you like a particular place and read many positive reviews about it, you can take that as a confirmation that it’ll be everything that you dreamed of. You can also leave your questions, in case you have any, for other people to respond to. This way, you’ll get clarifications and added information.  

6. Verifying the curriculum

While the ambiance is great, the bottom line is that you’re going there to learn. Check their curriculum to see if they include everything that you desire to learn and whether they teach basic surf etiquette or not. If the course doesn’t cover all, ask their coaches or representatives whether they can revise it or add the particular courses you’re interested in. If not, you can check out other camps.

7. Checking the visa and document requirements

If you’re traveling to a foreign country, you need to research their specific document requirements and processes. This is important for a smooth procedure. If you’re unable to get a visa or are restricted because you didn’t fulfill a specific obligation, you might not be able to visit your dream destination or get the surfing experience you wanted.

8. Understanding refund and cancellation policies 

If you want to be able to handle any unforeseen circumstances without loss, you would need to familiarize yourself with the camp's policies. Find out about their penalties, the latest dates when you can make cancellations, and when you can get refunds so that you know what to do in case of an emergency.

Surf camps provide an amazing, all-rounded experience where you learn, grow, make new friends, and master this amazing sport. But, remember that each camp has different facilities to offer and it is wise to study them well before finalizing on one. These retreats typically cost a lot of money, so you need to be sure that your investment is worth it. 

Edward Zhang

Written by Edward Zhang

Edward is an accomplished author with a deep passion for the ocean. He holds a masters in marine science degree at the University of New South Wales and a bachelors in biology from Stony Brook University.

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