The first time surfing with your child

Going on a surf holiday with your child – is that simply stressful without any time in the line-up for yourself? Is it really possible and how does it actually work with a surf course? Are there any surf courses for children at all? So many questions to which you will hopefully find satisfactory answers after our blog post.

On my surf trips and travels abroad I meet many young families with more or less small children, who are on vacation or on a longer journey and don’t want to put their own passion for surfing to rest. I often ask myself, how can this actually work? How do you reconcile the time-consuming learning to surf with the kiddies? Does the child take part in a special children’s course? Where are the kids when the parents are in the water themselves? Does all this end in stress or is there enough room for fun and stoke in the water?

It’s a fact that you have to adjust to such things once you have a baby. But it is all the more refreshing to meet people who don’t want to change completely and see that there are a lot of offers that meet your needs. I was able to talk about this with my good friend Monika, who is a surfer herself and who was now on a surf holiday with her little son for the first time.

Read in this blog post about her experience mixed with our tips for your surf holiday with your kids.

Beach towel, kid and sun cream

In July Monika went surfing together with her son Nils (7 years old) for the first time. It was logical that both could hardly stand the anticipation and excitement. With a little research on family-friendly surf camps in Europe, Moni had booked a double room for both of them at Da Silva Surfcamp in Portugal – she has been to Peniche for surfing often in the past and knows that there are many great spots off the busy surf hotspots. She says that this was great, because she was able to plan well in advance and was well advised with many questions about her surf package. The surf week with surf course included breakfast, 2 BBQs and the surf course on 5 days. For Moni food and nutrition is very important and everyone with child knows – it is not always easy to satisfy the little mouths tastefully and so she likes to be able to cook it herself. In the surf camp there is a large, fully equipped kitchen and the Tiny House, which you and Nils would move into, is also equipped with a small, own cooking nieche. Perfect.

The journey was easy and not much has to be thought of. A cheap flight to Lisbon was easy to find and because she likes to show Nils a lot, she decided to take the bus from Lisbon to the small village Praia Da Areia Branca.

How did it go Moni? – Super easy and relaxed! We got off the plane after 3h, from the airport only two stops with the metro to the bus station and another hour with the express bus through beautiful scenery. Nils was super enthusiastic! Daniel, the owner of the camp picked us up at the local bus stop and explained in advance how we get to the camp. But for the departure we take the camp shuttle :)

The planning

If you are planning your first surf holiday including a surf course with a child, you should answer three questions for yourself in advance that will help you in the organization:

  • Do we all do one course or only my child/children?
  • What does my Kiddo do if only I take a surf course?
  • Is there an extra children’s surf course?

With that in mind you are already a big step further and closer to your goal: the actual surf spot. Further hints will also help you to plan your family surf holiday including a surf course:

  • What standard is important to me?
  • What is my budget?
  • Are there any reviews?
  • Is the surf spot suited for families?
  • Where do I want to go?
  • How long should the journey take?
  • What kind of food is served?
  • What accommodation options are available?
  • Is the surf camp close to the surf spot?
  • What do I want from my surf trip – just learn how to surf and tanning! Or sightseeing as well?

Organization is everything

Moni felt well advised directly by the surf camp owner Daniel, who helped her with all questions concerning her journey

Monika: – We were super fast and stress-free at the destination. If we’d had one suitcase less, we would certainly have made it to the city centre. At the bus we met a mom with 4 children, who sent all her stuff to Peniche in advance to spend 7 weeks in her holiday appartment. Organization is everything :)

And off we go
When you arrive at the camp you will be checked in friendly, taken to your room and informed about the course of the coming week. The evening starts with a delicious BBQ and all guests get to know each other.

Moni and Nils are lucky – the people are not only super nice, but there are two more children of the same age at the start. Sunday is still a rest day and Moni says:

Monika: – That was also very dear to me. Shopping, a nice coffee at the beach and getting some sun after a long time at work. After all, it’s a holiday. Nils and the other two guys were immediately Buddies and made the wide area in and around the camp unsafe. It would have been a bit much for me to start the surf course on Sunday, even if I couldn’t wait to get on the board.

Children’s surf course – you have to be aware of that
How one wants to spend the common time in the surf vacation with child or how one arranges this, should be well clear to one beforehand. Have a look at these points that might play a role for you:

  • The whole family learns to surf
    • This also means more costs
  • The child is taken care of
    • But what if it’s not fun?
  • Common hobby also after the surf course!
    • The choice of suitable camps is limited here.

Finding the right surf camp

As you can read from Moni so far, she was lucky with the choice of the surf camp for herself and Nils. For families who want to take a surf course during their holiday, certain conditions have to be met so that it will be a great experience for everyone. Some of these have already been described in one of our last postings. You can find more here:

Surf instructors and teamers

These are basically the people in whose hands you and the kids enter. When choosing the camp, make sure that the teachers are certified. Ratings via Tripadvisor, Google & Co give information about the satisfaction and the standard. Find out how old the teamers, camp leaders and surf instructors are and how much experience they have.

That’s what Moni tells me about teamers and surf instructors at Da Silva Camp:

The beauty for Nils and me was that the camp is very familiar. That’s what I took into account when I made my choice. I didn’t want to attend a typical big kids/teen camp in France. Here with Daniel and Ana it is like with friends. The two have a small family of their own and so it is always lively and active. The parents are sitting together and the kids have room to do their own thing. Also the teamer was so relaxed, warm and open. At the beginning I was worried that the course in English would become a problem. But this is our adult brain. The surf instructor was patient, funny and dedicated. I had the feeling that you didn’t have to talk at all. When I was in the water, I could surf relaxed because Nils was together with the other kids and that is already a quite independent age. But I also know that the camp offers childcare if you wish.

The food

Food is always an exciting point during vacation. Especially if you’re travelling with children who, well, are often rather choosy. A good selection is therefore important and here too evaluation portals give a good direction. When I wanted to know this point from Monika, she only got into a rage about the delicious BBQs with local meat, fish and veggies as well as many salads – Ana is the queen of the BBQs and conjures up a Portuguese style feast twice a week. Also the breakfast offers a huge choice and is wonderfully arranged with everything you need – muesli, yogurt, bread and cold cuts, fruit, eggs and coffee.

Moni says – I went shopping locally on the days when there was no BBQ and cooked something delicious for myself and Nils. Often we all cooked together with the others and went out for a delicious meal. I think that’s the best way to enjoy a surf trip – you want to be close to everything. All-inclusive doesn’t fit there.

Conclusion

Surfing with the kiddies is different. But it’s not worse, it just needs a bit more organization. Meanwhile there are so many great offers for surf camps with children that you will always get your money’s worth in the line-up. In any case we want to give you on your way that you don’t have to be scared off or that having children keeps you from surfing – quite the opposite.