The Safari Surf Guide to Intermediate Surf

surfer at sunset

If you’re a surf fan, you probably follow a few professional surfers on social media, or perhaps you keep up with the various surf vlogs on YouTube. A common theme across surf media and social channels is surf travel. Surf travel’s portrayal in the media is often romanticized, branded with catchy titles like “The Search,” where pro surfers travel to the far corners of the earth to find isolated, perfect surf. The waves we once saw in magazine spreads that now dominate our social media feeds are perfect by strict definition in that they look as if they break without a drop of water out of place. If you or I tried to surf most of the waves we see in surf media, we’d, at minimum, end up with a broken board. In reality, surf travel is for everyone, not just the pros. Plenty of waves around the world are ideally suited for progression, and we have three surf schools founded on that principle. If you’re an intermediate surfer curious about surf travel, continue reading below for The Safari Surf Guide to Intermediate Travel. 

Intermediate Surf Travel Planning 

Intermediate surf travel

When planning intermediate surf travel, it’s essential to consider the destination, your ideal wave type, and the time of year you’re traveling. Ideally, you’re looking for destinations with user-friendly waves, like the sand-bottom beach breaks of Costa Rica and Panama. If you’re pushing the boundaries of intermediate surfing and are ready to try out more advanced waves, we recommend looking for destinations with multiple wave types, like Ayampe, Ecuador, which has a reliable, intermediate-friendly beach break but also reefs and points nearby.

When to Plan Your Trip 


Another thing to consider when planning intermediate surf travel is the time of year you travel. Swell season in Central America falls during the rainy season, which lasts from May to September. While swell season sounds appealing, sometimes we find that big swells are too much for new and intermediate surfers. For surfers still mastering the basics of generating speed, catching waves, and turning, we suggest traveling during the dry season, which lasts from October to April. During the dry season, Central America’s Pacific Coast receives predominately offshore winds, which groom incoming medium-sized swell into the ultimate canvas for surf progression. 

Surf Lessons, Surf Coaching, or Surf Guiding 

While it may be tempting to paddle out on your own as an intermediate surfer, we recommend continuing your learning with a professional instructor, guide, or coach. Surf lessons, either in a group or private, are ideal for surfers who are starting from scratch or need to refamiliarize themselves with the fundamentals. Surf coaching is best suited for surfers working on specific aspects of progression, like generating speed or turning. Surf guiding is best for surfers who want to maximize their wave count in a new location but feel comfortable surfing on their own. 

Intermediate Surf Destinations 

surfing in Costa Rica

 There are intermediate-friendly waves all over the world. Our three Safari Surf Schools are ideally located for surfers looking to progress their skills. In Costa Rica, surfers can tackle Playa Guiones, a powerful beach break that handles serious size and offers user-friendly, slow-peeling waves. In Play Venao, our Panama surf school is located on a crescent-shaped beach where the middle of the cove is exposed to large swells, and the sides offer smaller, beginner-friendly waves. In Ayampe, Ecuador, our new surf school is on one of the continent’s most consistent beach breaks. Beyond the beach break, guests can explore the miles of untouched coastline and isolated waves with our guides. 

If you’re ready to plan your next surf trip, head to the Safari Surf Website to book your next dream surf trip. With surf schools in Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador, the Safari Surf team has everything you need for your next great surf trip. 

Safari Surf Student Travel the Benefits of Surfing & Travel for Students


Over the years in Costa Rica and now in Panama and Ecuador, our Safari Surf team has hosted several student groups. Whether these groups are sports teams, youth groups, school programs, or just school friends traveling with a chaperone, we’ve noticed that the students who arrive are not always the same when they leave. We don’t mean they physically change. Other than a minor sunburn or a newfound level of paddle endurance, the students are physically the same when they leave. Emotionally, however, travel seems to change the students who visit for the better. We’ve heard from enough parents to know that travel positively impacts students, and we thought we’d take the time to outline precisely why. Continue reading below for Safari Surf Presents the Benefits of Adventure Travel for Students.

Students Who Travel Learn to Communicate


Students who travel are forced to communicate across language barriers. When our student groups head to the beach or dinner, they must practice Spanish or learn to communicate effectively using their body language. In a world where we often type more words in a day than we speak, putting the device down, looking someone in the eyes, and communicating is a lost art.

Students Travel Introduces Kids to New Cultures & Customs

Kimber and Helberth with the Kids Camp kids!

Beyond working on their Spanish, students are introduced to Costa Rican people and their culture when they travel to Safari Surf School. From learning the true meaning of Pura Vida to understanding how other cultures live, work, and exist daily, there’s real value in this exposure. At the end of the day, the students come away with an appreciation for the slight differences between Costa Rican culture and their own, but ultimately, a deeper understanding that we are all more or less the same.

Student Travel Teaches Critical Thinking

student travel

Travel, even from point A to point B, is never easy. Something always goes wrong, and the unexpected always seems to occur at the worst possible time. Students who travel are often forced to think on their feet, exercise their patience, and problem-solve in real time. In situations where the answers are not immediately at their fingertips with the click of a button or tap of a screen, students learn to think critically.

Students Who Surf Learn Perseverance

Kids Camp - Safari Surf School

Anyone who has visited our Costa Rica Surf School or has paddled out into the ocean to surf knows that surfing isn’t easy. Even with the best surf coaches in the industry, learning to surf takes enormous willpower, patience, and perseverance. For starters, surfing is 90% paddling, 9% waiting, and 1% wave riding. However, the sensation of wave riding is so euphoric that we put up with crowded lineups, strenuous paddle outs, sets on the head, and more for the precious time we get gliding across a wave’s face. When students learn to surf, they know patience and perseverance are rewarded. We’ve found that students who learn to surf are able to transfer the skills they’ve acquired to other aspects of their lives, be it school, home, or with their friends.

At Safari Surf School, our mission is to introduce our guests to the power and joy of surfing. We’ve found that we, and our guests, get so much more out of surfing than what we put in. If you’re considering learning to surf, head to our website to start your surfing journey in Costa Rica.