19 Best Surfing Schools in the World

Welcome to our collection of some of the best surfing schools around the world.

What sets these surfing schools apart is a commitment to excellence. Learn how to catch a wave fast no matter where you travel to in the world. From Portugal to Hawaii, South Africa to Costa Rica.

We've put together a list of the top surfing schools you'll come across in all the surfing destinations.

Surf n Sol, Kauai, Hawaii

Chill vibe, and epic offshore waves have long delighted serious surfers at Hanalei Bay. But the bay's waves also are great for beginners. Offering up clean swells, a sandy bottom, and warm water. Nearby, you'll witness humpback whales spouting. Surf n Sol’s multiday programs include private or small-group lessons, yoga, and massages.


Surf Diva, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

This epically long beaches draw tourists to Playa Tamarindo. Thick thick jungle and rough roads keep most travelers away from the south of the beach town. Surf Diva’s resort features a stretch of sand so secluded its location is kept secret from enrollees before they arrive. This surfing school is for women only, boards are scaled for their narrower shoulders and shorter reach.


Check out our surfing Costa Rica guide

Richard Schmidt Surf School, Santa Cruz, California

If you're looking for a one-on-one experience from a seasoned surfer, Richard Schmidt Surf School is for you. The pro surfer paddles alongside beginners, showing them how to pop-up and master smooth, long rides. At Cowell’s Point break, where Schmidt runs his surfing schools, a single wave can roll for a quarter mile.


Rusty Miller, Byron Bay, Australia

This surfing schools surf haven is also the longtime home of 1965 U.S. surfing champion Rusty Miller. Miller, nearly 70, teaches private lessons in the morning at Byron’s easiest shore breaks. For Miller, surfing is a near-spiritual pursuit; he encourages ocean respect and humility.


Easy Drop's, Itacare, Brazil

This small, chill Bahía community attracts eco-minded surfers and nature enthusiasts  to take part in Easy Drop’s multiday surf school. Not only are the long, beautiful beaches swept by wicked swells; they’re also surrounded by a swath of UNESCO-protected rain forest that’s filled with waterfalls and vividly colored tropical.


Zed's Surfing Adventures, Surfers Point, Barbados

Still not on the radar of many surfers, the sandy shore breaks in Barbados offer up forgiving waves. Perfect for beginners. Zed Layson and his instructors private day lessons and also weeklong packages. Their three-day “Be a Surfer” program includes twice-daily small-group lessons. Also giving you enough time to explore the island.


Access Trips Surf Camp, Sayulita, Mexico

Based in a quiet village on Mexico's Pacific Coast, Access Trips Surf Camp's weeklong surfing schools program teaches you all aspects of surfing. Such as how to spot and understand wave patterns, surfing etiquette, and surfboard care. You start out by surfing shallow white water and eventually move up to more challenging point breaks.

Pacific Surf School, Tofino, Canada

Parents and kids can both take advantage of the multiday camps offered by the Pacific Surf School, which is located in Tofino on Vancouver Island.

The surfing schools instruction is season. Only being held in July and August. Which even then, the water is biting cold, requiring wetsuits. Enjoy views of towering spruce and fir forests from the water. Tofino is a great place to also camp, hike, rock climb, and bear- and whale-watch when you aren't surfing.

Koala Surf, Hossegor, France

Surfing is the raison d’etre for this coastal town located just north of Biarritz on the Bay of Biscay. The streets are lined with board shops, beachy bars, and seafood restaurants. Koala Surf’s surfing schools instructional packages include daily small-group surf lessons, as well as trips to various learner-friendly breaks for practice.


Lapoint Surf Camps, Portugal

Surf schools provide a perfect introduction into the world of surfing. Once you learn, you'll gain confidence and have something else to do around the world.

One company offering this is Lapoint, which has camps in six countries, including the Portuguese fishing town of Ericeira, 50km north-west of Lisbon – where there is a vibrant surf scene. Head coach João Durão began teaching at 19. Specializing in theory lessons, fitness training and one instructor for every six students.


Jo Moraiz Surf School, Biarritz, France

On France’s rugged Atlantic coast, Biarritz has been the country’s most popular surf destination since 1961. South of the old harbour, La Côte des Basques has countless surfing schools for beginners. The best out of all the surfing schools in this area is Jo Moraiz Surf School. Founded by the French surfer who represented France in world championships throughout the sixties. Today, the son of Jo, Christophe, provides the lessons.


Surf School Lanzarote, Canary Island and Sri Lanka

This school is based at Famara beach, in the village of the same name, on the Canary island’s north coast. Certain seasons unleash Atlantic storms. Leaving the towns  and often seems deserted. Volcanic cliffs shadow the beach and giant swells take over. The school is run by Tim Jones. Jones opened the UK’s first commercial surfing schools, in Devon.

His latest accomplishment is creating school on Sri Lanka’s south coast for medium-level surfers.



Buttons Surf School, Hawaii

Buttons Surf School was founded by Hawaiian professional surfer Montgomery “Buttons” Kaluhiokalani. One of surfing’s early pioneers, he is from the North Shore. Surfing at the age of seven, Buttons died in 2013. However, the school lives on, offering lessons to for all levels of surfers at the Pua’ena Point in Haleiwa.


Go Surf, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Flanked by snow-capped mountains, with slate-blue seas and haunting skies, Lofoten in Norway is one of the most dramatic surf locations in the world.

South African Shannon Ainslie was drawn to Unstad Bay, which he describes as “the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to”, and set up Go Surf, teaches small groups around here – and gives each learner lots of attention. Ainslie, who famously survived a shark attack aged 15, is expanding his surfing schools to include an academy for young competitors.


George’s Surf School, Cornwall, UK

In Polzeath in north Cornwall, George’s Surf School is owned by the inspirational George Stoy. His surfing schools have been deamed surfing excellence by Surfing England. Stoy will boost a surfers’ confidence. He teaches with the aim of making surfing accessible to everyone. He has pioneered projects such as the Polzeath Ladies Surf Club, which sees around 50 local women surfing together twice a week.


Ben’s Surf Clinic, County Clare, Ireland

Underrated Ireland, with its relatively quiet seas, is an excellent place for novice surfers. Ben Bennett is one of the most qualified and experienced surf instructors in the country and his school here has been operating for 15 years in the pretty town of Lahinch, County Clare. In the summer, the 2km-long beach is activee, with long, forgiving waves and beautiful sunsets.


Son Surf School, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape is one a noted top surfing schools center in the world. Swell arrive from the Indian Ocean. Creating a point break that splits into more than 10 different waves. Here you can witness,  advanced surfers ride the waves. Son Surf School is run by South African pro-surfer Kelvin Zehmke. He teaches groups and individuals on easier waves at Dolphin and Main beaches.


Zed’s Surfing Adventures, Barbados

Barbados may not be the first place you think of when considering where to learn to surf but Zed Layson’s school at the magical Surfer’s Point has an top reputation. Zed, who is popular among Caribbean surfers, is one of the island’s advanced surfers. There’s a friendly, authentic vibe and the location is lovely.


Australian Surf Tours, New South Wales, Australia

Based in the town of Thirroul, around 70km south of Sydney, Australian Surf Tours offers surf camps and lessons for all levels of surfers.

The camps have a young, traveler vibe. You’ll be coached with the help of video analysis. Additionally, you'll have breathe tactic sessions in the pool. This surfing schools different, as it has access to 10 different beaches for lessons.


Book Your Surf Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book your flight
Find a cheap flight by using Google Flights. They are our favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know you're getting the best flight.

Book your surf hotel or surf accommodation
You can book a really unique and local place with AirBnB anywhere in the world. We used it recently in Sri Lanka to book a place withing a 3 minute walk to a surf break. If you want to stay somewhere other than an AirBnB, use Booking.com, as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.

Don’t forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, surf gear theft, and cancellations. Basically, you get protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a surf trip without it. We’ve been using World Nomads for close to ten years now.

Protect your personal data
When you travel, you're constantly logging into public Wi-Fi. VPNs are designed to protect all of your Internet traffic. This includes email, streaming music and video, voice calls, and anything else you can think of. We use ExpressVPN when we're on a surf trip.

Looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out our resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all those I use — and they’ll save you time and money too!