Many people have their first surfing or bodyboarding experience on holiday, as it’s the perfect opportunity to try something new. Surrounded by stunning scenery in a nice warm climate, it’s a good way to be introduced to these exciting sports. Here are a few of the best countries to surf and bodyboard for beginners:

  • Byron Bay, Australia: has some of the best surfing beaches in the world. It’s stunningly picturesque with golden sands, and great waves for beginner surfers and bodyboarders. As a learner, the endless lengths of the waves give you lots of time to get used to coasting along. Aside from surfing, the town has some amazing restaurants, great nightlife and even dolphins. 
  • Bali, Indonesia: is where Aussie’s go on holiday, and it’s easy to see why. The tourist town of Kuta pairs laid-back beach life with a lively club scene. It’s the ideal place for learning to surf on unbroken white waves due to its gentle gradient, so you’ll get a lot of ride time. There are lots of local surf schools for you to choose from, but it can get very busy in the water.
  • Hawaii, USA: is a great place for beginners to learn to surf. Surfing is the Hawaiian way of life, and most of the islands have at least one spot to catch a good wave, although Oahu (home to Honolulu) has the most. Waikiki Beach is the best place to go for surf lessons. The waves are gentle rollers that offer a smooth, long wave ride. There are also no vicious rogue waves in the protected bay.
  • San Sebastian, Spain: is located in the Basque country of Spain, and sun is pretty much guaranteed. La Zurriola surf beach is surrounded by mountains on either side, making for spectacular views. If you really want to learn to surf properly, you can take part in one of the many week-long surf camps.

With staycations at an all-time high, the UK is the perfect place to give surfing a go. But with 20,000 miles of coastline, where do you start? Here are some of the best places to surf and bodyboard in the UK for beginners:

  • Watergate Bay, Cornwall: When people think of surfing in England, Newquay definitely springs to mind. It’s known as the home of British surfing, but as people flock from all over the country, it can get pretty crowded. Nearby Watergate Bay is an excellent alternative, with great surf schools and two miles of stunning sandy beach.
  • Longsands, Tynemouth: The centre of Newcastle’s surf scene, Longsands has staged national championships for pro surfers all over the country. There’s a great surf school with a shop and equipment rental right on the beach. But you’ll need to wrap up as sea temperatures average just 15°C at the height of summer.
  • Portrush, County Antrim: Northern Ireland’s answer to Newquay, you’ll find plenty of beginner surfers and bodyboarders splashing around in the waves. Stick to West Strand if you’re a beginner, as East Strand is mainly suited to experienced surfers.
  • Llangennith, Gower: The most popular surf spot in Wales, it has beach breaks all the way along its three-mile length. It does get very crowded, but you can find less busy areas a little further down the beach which may be better suited to beginners.

Many people who want to surf start off on a bodyboard, as they tend to be more stable and you can learn the basics before progressing to a surfboard. But the best way to learn to surf is to have lessons with professional instructors, otherwise you might pick up bad habits early on. All the equipment will be provided, so you won’t have to buy a surfboard straight away. And practice, practice, practice, by packing in as much surfing as possible to gain experience. You can always have more lessons later to try and iron out any mistakes you might be making. Everyone wants to be able to stand up straight away, but you need to be patient. Leaning to ‘wipeout’ is also crucial to avoid injuries.