Once you have decided to dedicate your holidays to surfing, everyone finds themselves in the same dilemma – how do I find the right surf school for me when I want to learn how to surf? Surfing has become more and more popular in the last few years and you can see this in the selection of the countless surf schools and surf camps, which now exist alone along the Portuguese coast. The many surf spots make it possible to provide good offers for beginners as well as for advanced surfers. Tendency: rising!
So there are a lot of spots and schools to choose from. It becomes quite a challenge to find the right surf school for you – a surf camp where you feel comfortable and where you can have confidence that you will be taught surfing correctly and comprehensively.
We have put together a checklist of characteristics to help you choose the right surf camp for you. Let’s go!
Ideally, you will find a surf school that also offers or arranges your own accommodation. Basically it also functions as a surf camp. To go to a surf camp as a surf beginner offers you many advantages. We have already described some of them here. At the top of the list is the complete 360 degree surfing experience – in and out of the water.
You can meet like-minded people and exchange ideas. Especially if you are travelling alone, this is a great opportunity to get in touch with others more easily. Often accommodation of this kind is cheaper than the surf school with lessons and accommodation to be booked separately.
Ratings on Tripadvisor, Google & Co.
A great website with good descriptions of the surf school and the surf camp are helpful to compare where you might like it. However, this is always a bit one-sided. Get more opinions and browse Tripadvisor and Google Reviews and see what other guests have for impressions. These are neutral rating platforms that are designed to give customers as neutral a picture as possible. There are always people who have something to complain about. But what does that look like in relation to positive ratings? So you will be able to make a quicker choice of the right surf school.
Good and intact surf equipment is essential when learning how to surf, to improve and especially if you are a surf school or a surf camp. Surfboards for all skill levels should be in good to very good condition and not be deficient. The equipment should also be replaced regularly.
In Portugal, where the water can get quite fresh, this is especially true for the wetsuits given to you by the surf camp and the surf school. If you have found a surf school that you would like to visit – don’t hesitate and just ask in advance for the equipment.
Qualified Surf Instructors & Certificates
In Portugal it is a requirement to be officially certified to teach surfing. Until recently, this was the ISA, where surfers could get certified as teachers. Now it is also the FPS – the Portuguese Surf Federation. Awards of the ISA and the FPS speak for the uniform quality of the teachers. You should pay attention to this, because in a big market there are often black sheep without the proper documents of qualification and not everyone is equally suitable to be a surf instructor.
It requires a lot of experience in the water and knowledge about the sea, waves and currents. It also always speaks for a surf school to work with local guides – they know the waves and spots best. A good instructor does not leave your side, supports you, is happy with you and shares your frustration.
This is also a bit like one of our first points „reviews“. Just like feedback from former guests, returning guests are an equally good, almost even better feature for a great surf camp. For example, these guests leave good reviews and you can be sure that they speak from the heart – find out why some come back again and again.
Do you share their motive for coming back or don’t you find yourself in it at all? Perfect – your decision cannot be made easier. People who always return to a surf camp feel comfortable, in good hands and above all well looked after. That’s what you want too!
Location is key! A good location for surf school and surf camp is for most people one of the most important factors for deciding where to go. Also here it plays an important role what is important to you: Proximity to nightlife, bars and restaurants, directly on the beach or rather a little quieter but not too far away from everything. Especially the location should be about one thing – surfing. Is there a local surf community, do you meet other surfers and are there good wave and weather conditions most of the year? Research what the area is like in terms of surfing and make your decision.
As mentioned above, you will usually get away cheaper if you book a surf camp instead of a surf school + accommodation or if you find a surf school that also offers its own accommodation for guests. The advantage here is the price and the all-round carefree feeling: Accommodation, surf course, equipment, breakfast and meals are all included in one package price. You will also be able to compare different offers better and save tiresome calculations – more time to focus on your surfing!
A week at the surf camp in Portugal with course, spot transport, breakfast and BBQ evenings is available from 340 Euro.
These are a few good tips and hints to help you find the right surf school or surf camp for your upcoming surf holiday. We wish you a lot of fun in the water learning how to surf.