If you’re a new surfer, looking to improve your fundamentals with professional coaching, or trying out surfing for the first time, taking a surf trip and immersing yourself in the surfing lifestyle may be the best thing you can do. Nothing beats traveling to a far-flung corner of the world where the water is warm the sun shines bright in the sky, and palm trees sway effortlessly in the breeze. You be under the impression that surf trips are for experienced surfers chasing massive swells at advanced breaks, but there are thousands of waves around the world ideally suited for progression. If you’re on the fence about pulling the trigger on a surf trip as your next vacation, continue reading below for The Safari Surf Guide to the Best Beginner Waves on the Planet.
Our Favorite Beginner Wave and Home Break: Playa Guiones- Nosara, Costa Rica
Our home break, Playa Guiones, is a wide-open sandy expanse that stretches for nearly 4.5 miles in front of a backdrop of dense mangrove forest and tropical jungle. Unlike many of the beaches in Costa Rica, Playa Guiones is bordered by state-protected land, meaning that there’s nothing built on the sand. Instead, the beach is lined by massive trees that are bisected by a trail system. The wave at Playa Guiones is ideally suited for new surfers. It has a gently sloping face and, even at size, breaks rather softly. Additionally, the four miles of sand bars allow surfers to spread out.
Playa Venao, Panama
Home to our second Safari Surf School, Playa Venao, on Panama’s Pacific coast, is the perfect beginner wave. Playa Venao is a south-facing, crescent-shaped cove that picks up an enormous amount of swell. The sides of the cove, however, are sheltered. So, even when overhead waves are breaking on the sand bars in the middle of the cove, the sand bars on either side of the cove provide gentle peeling beginner waves.
Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing, and Waikiki is steeped in surf lore and tradition that dates back centuries. As the birthplace of modern surfing and the home of the iconic Waikiki Beach Boys, surfing at Waikiki is like riding a wave through time. The wave at Waikiki is soft and peels for what feels like an eternity. While there’s definitely a crowd, there’s no denying that Waikiki is one of the best longboard and beginner waves on the planet.
San Onofre, California
San O was once the most coveted wave on the California coast. Back when all surfers rode single-fin logs, and getting toes off the nose was the pinnacle of high-performance surfing. Now, San O is to longboarders and new surfers what Trestles is to the high-performance crowd. Located in Camp Pendleton, just outside of San Clemente on the northern edge of San Diego County, San O provides surfers with plenty of room to spread out and practice the fundamentals. The main peak is best suited for intermediate and advanced surfers.
Lagos, located in the south-facing Algarve region of Portugal, is perhaps Europe’s best beginner wave. Tucked away in the southern reaches of the Western Iberian Peninsula, Lagos’s main stretch of coast is protected from Europe’s large northern swells. Instead of producing pumping surf in frigid water, like the rest of Portugal, Lagos is home to gentle peeling waves. The water is still a bit chilly, but the air temperatures in Lagos are much warmer than the rest of the European continent.
Beginner surfers rejoice. Safari Surf now has three locations across the globe where our expert coaches share their passion for surfing with students in Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador. To book your surf trip and discover the best beginner waves on the planet. Click here.