April 17, 2019 6 min read

You want to learn to surf and don't really dare to go to a surf camp alone? I had felt these thoughts 100 times before. Even after years I have this certain tingling sensation before every surf holiday. I am nervous because I don't know what to expect in the surf camp. Questions like "Are the people nice there? Do I find a connection? Am I too bad at surfing? Is it just a party? Am I too uncool?“ But I can calm you down: All these thoughts were completely unnecessary every time. Every surf camp holiday was a fantastic experience. So you go girl!

Now I'll tell you what to look out for when choosing the right surf camp. With these tips your holiday at the surfcamp will be just beautiful. Here are my five best tips for your first surf camp holiday.

I'm always afraid that I won't get connected or that I can't get along with the other guests. Therefore, when choosing a surf camp, I always make sure that the so-called vibe of the surf camp suits me and my mood.

The first question you should ask yourself when booking a surf camp is the following: What do you expect of a holiday at a surfcamp? Are you in the mood for a party? Are you mainly interested in peace and relaxation? Are you looking for a big camp with lots of people or something small and familiar? After you have answered this question, you can search for a suitable surf camp. For example, I personally always choose relaxed, small surf camps. In smaller camps you don't get lost in the crowd. In a small group you always quickly get into conversation with other people. And you always have one common topic of conversation: surfing.

One of my other thoughts before a surf holiday in a surf camp is always: What if nobody likes me? If you followed my first tip, it won't happen. After all, you and the other guests are on holiday. On holiday everyone is relaxed and sociable. Besides, everyone is at the surf camp with the same goal: to surf, to meet new people and to have a good time. Through the common surf lessons and meals, you automatically get into conversation and the new contacts are established virtually by themselves. 

And if you want some peace and quiet, you can just lay down in the sun with a book or a podcast and do whatever you want. It's your personal holiday and you can do anything you want to do. Just be yourself and the rest will come.

I am 30, so I often asked myself „Am I too old for a vacation in the surfcamp?“. I always had pictures of camps in France in my head, where hundreds of teenagers get drunk. As already mentioned above, there are also other surf camps. Pay attention beside the Vibe also to the average age in the surfcamp. Sometimes you can find this in the FAQs. Pictures on the website or on Instagram will give you some information, too. You can also send an e-mail to the surfcamp of your choice and ask.

You are too old to learn surfing: I didn't start to learn surfing until I was 32 years old. Meanwhile I am 35 years old and am a real addict and found my passion. So if you're a bit sporty, you'll still be able to surf at 50. You may not be able to do surf contests anymore, but you'll have fun in the waves. Be sure to find a surf camp that suits your age. There are numerous surf camps for young adults around 20, for older adults over 30 and even for families. 

What used to bother me a lot: What if I'm too stupid to surf? Or too unsporting? Or if I've forgotten everything again and I embarrass myself in front of the others? Some people are also afraid of the water or the waves. You definitely don’t need to have these fears: You will certainly not embarrass yourself. In a surf camp you are usually divided into small groups with different surf levels. This means that if you have never been on the surfboard before, you will join the beginners group and learn surfing step by step.

My tip: When choosing your surf camp, pay attention to the quality of your lessons. For example, I was on Bali in a surf camp, where we were just pushed into the waves. No surf theory and no tips on how to improve myself. In other surf camps, such as the A-Frame Surf & Yoga Camp in Spain, there is a lot of surf theory. So you will learn much about sandbanks, tide, wind, swell, waves and the flow of the ocean. After the surf lessons, video analyses are made to ensure the best possible learning. The surf instructors go into the water with you and don't just stand outside, so the learning effect is very high. And above all: I always felt safe in the water. The qualities of the surf camps and lessons are very different and it is often worthwhile to book the more expensive lesson or surf camp. Because with the price the quality often increases and you simply have a nice surf holiday.

beachbreak or reef break? There are waves breaking over a reef and waves breaking over sandbanks. These so-called beach breaks are best suited for beginners. I learned to surf on the reef in Bali, but as a beginner I often tore my feet open. So I always recommend beginners to learn surfing at beach break spots. This takes away a lot of inner stress and you can concentrate on surfing.

Now you are ready for your surfing holiday in the surfcamp

You see, you don't have to worry or be inhibited. If you follow these tips, you really can't do anything wrong. So look forward to a nice surf holiday. A holiday in a surf camp is relaxed, fun and you get to know like-minded people. I have already made many real friends in surf camps. To make you even less worried, I'll also tell you my ultimate packing list for a surf camp holiday.

The advantage of a surf holiday in a surf camp is: You don't have to pack so much, because the surf equipment like surfboard, wetsuit, etc. will be at the surf camp for rental. If you have your own wetsuit, I would definitely take it with me. Before check the water temperature in the internet so that you know if the thickness of your wetsuit is okay. If it is too thin, you can leave it at home and take one from the surf camp. 

I advise you to pack the following for your surf holiday:

  • Waterproof sun cream LSF 50 or so called zinc  Also use on cloudy days. Don't forget your hands and feet.
  • Bikini or swimsuit (neoprene suits are usually available at the surf camp) Tip: best without nodules or pearls, because they will squeeze you when you are lying on the surfboard.
  • FlipFlops
  • Drinking bottle (BPA free)
  • Cap, Cappy or the like if you stay long on the beach.
  • Beach towel, if you want to chill longer on the beach and change your bikini unobserved. Even better is a surf poncho.
  • Depending on where you go: long trousers and jacket for the evening.
  • A good book
  • A good hair conditioner to care for your hair. Salt water and sun dry out the hair quickly.
  • Gimmicks like GoPro, Smartphone for beautiful surf pictures on the beach, etc.

You are now on fire for your first surf holiday in a surf camp? That's great! Now all you have to do is decide on a surf camp. I have already visited many surf camps and can recommend these two camps in Spain and Portugal to you:

SaltyWay Surf & Climb Camp in Portugal

SaltyWay moved to a new house in Praia das Maças in Portugal this year. Cafés, restaurants, shops and the beach are within walking distance. SaltyWay is the meeting point for single travellers, couples and friends who want to surf or climb. The atmosphere here is relaxed and the guests are usually already in a working age. At SaltyWay all guests live together in an enchanting house with a huge garden. There is a pizza oven, bean bags for relaxing and a slackline. Twice a week you can participate in yoga classes. The owner is a women and also the surf instructor, which I found particularly pleasant as a beginner. From woman to woman you just learn to surf differently.



A-Frame Surf & Yoga Camp in Southern Spain

I've been to A-Frame several times and I keep coming back. The camp is located in El Palmar, a small coastal town in Andalusia. You can choose between the beach camp on the beach and the idyllic Oasis Camp 400 meters further back. The team is warm hearted, the accommodations comfortable and the food fantastic. In the evening there is a program like cocktail evening, movie night or a BBQ. If you want to you have a lot of privacy, so that you can also withdraw, but you can also have dinner together in the evening. So you can quickly get in touch with the other guests and make new friends.