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10 of the best surfing schools in the world

Lapoint Surf Camps, Portugal

Surf camps provide a taste of the surfing lifestyle and include accommodation and transport, as well as social activities where you can meet other surfers. 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 and believes the quality of the instruction is as important as having fun, so there are theory lessons, fitness training and one instructor for every six students.
Seven-night break from €499, includes five lessons, accommodation, breakfast and yoga, two- and three-week packages available, lapointcamps.com. Flights extra, as with all the schools mentioned here

Jo Moraiz Surf School, Biarritz, France

Jo Moraiz Surf School, France

On France’s rugged Atlantic coast, Biarritz has been the country’s most popular surf destination since hosting the first European Surf Championship in 1961. South of the old harbour, La Côte des Basques overflows with surf schools and beginners. Among the best is Jo Moraiz Surf School, founded by the French surfer who represented France in world championships throughout the sixties. Today, it’s his son Christophe who provides the lessons.
Private lesson €100, group lesson €40, child lesson €35, three- and five-day courses and surf camp package with accommodation available, jomoraiz.com. Doubles from €86 room only at Hôtel Kemaris

Surf School Lanzarote

Surf School, Lanzarote
Photograph: Vince Cooketel

This school is based at Famara beach, in the village of the same name, on the Canary island’s north coast. It can get hammered by Atlantic storms and often seems deserted, adding drama to the location.. Volcanic cliffs overlook the spectacular beach and ferocious swell crash in, doing wonders for your fitness levels. The school is run by the well-respected and charismatic coach Tim Jones, who opened the UK’s first commercial surf school, in Devon. With more than 35 years’ experience, he is passionate about teaching people to surf. His latest venture is a school on Sri Lanka’s south coast for medium-level surfers.
From €179pp for three days of lessons, including lunch and transport; five-day courses also available, surfschoolanzarote.com. In Sri Lanka, €325pp for five-days coaching, seven- and 10-day courses available, surfschoolsrilanka.com

Buttons Surf School, Hawaii

Buttons Surf School, Hawaii. from Facebook page.

Buttons Surf School was established by Hawaiian professional surfer Montgomery “Buttons” Kaluhiokalani. One of surfing’s early pioneers, he was born on the North Shore and began surfing at the age of seven. Buttons died in 2013 but the school lives on, offering lessons to all abilities at the idyllic Pua’ena Point in Haleiwa. Experienced at teaching children to surf, expect fun, positive vibes in the original home of surfing.
Small group lesson from US$119pp buttonssurfschool.com, Hawaiian condo with queen-size bed at Owen’s Retreat from $200 a night, owensretreat.com

Go Surf, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Go Surf (surf school), 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, plans to expand to include an academy for young competitors. He stresses it isn’t always cold in Unstad: in summer, the water temperature is around 14C. But just in case, the surf house – which is five minutes from the beach – has a sauna where you can defrost.
Four-night break from £442, includes three days of lessons, accommodation, breakfast, hiking, airport transfers, gosurf.no

George’s Surf School, Cornwall, UK

George’s Surf School, Cornwall
Photograph: George Stoy

In Polzeath in north Cornwall, George’s Surf School is owned by the inspirational George Stoy. Passionate about surf instruction, his school has been designated a centre of excellence by Surfing England. Stoy focuses on improving surfers’ confidence. With a belief in making surfing accessible to all, he has pioneered projects such as the Polzeath Ladies Surf Club, which sees around 50 local women surfing together twice a week. As well as adults, the school takes children as young as four.
From £200pp for a two-day beginner course, three- and five-day courses available, improver and advanced course available, private surf lesson £95pp, georgessurfschool.com. Accommodation extra

Ben’s Surf Clinic, County Clare, Ireland

Ben’s Surf Clinic, Ireland

Underrated Ireland, with its relatively quiet seas (when it comes to surfers, at least), 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. It’s about halfway along the Wild Atlantic Way and in summer the 2km-long beach is a lively place, with long, forgiving waves and alluring sunsets; in winter it is stormy, with some of the best waves in Ireland.
Weekend surf package including two lessons from €100pp, group surf lesson €35, benssurfclinic.com. Accommodation extra

Son Surf School, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Son Surf School, South Africa

Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape is one of the world’s top surf locations. Formidable swell rolls in from the Indian Ocean onto rocks, creating a point break that splits into more than 10 different waves, including supertubes, magnatubes and boneyards. Watching top riders tackle the waves here is worth the trip in itself. 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, using video analysis to help students improve.
Private lesson £18 (1 hour 15 mins), group lesson £7.50, surfschools.co.za. Doubles from £42 B&B at African Perfection

Zed’s Surfing Adventures, Barbados

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 enchanting Surfer’s Point has an excellent reputation. Zed, who is legendary among Caribbean surfers, is one of the island’s wave kings. There’s a friendly, authentic vibe and the location is lovely: you’ll share the water with sea turtles and see dreamy sunsets.
Two-hour lesson from US$80pp, apartment on the beach from $160 a night, all-inclusive surf packages available, zedssurftravel.com

Australian Surf Tours, New South Wales, Australia

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, including beginners. The camps have a young, international vibe, and you’ll be coached with the aid of video, breath enhancement sessions in the pool, and even skateboarding to help you get to the next level. The school has access to 10 different beaches for lessons including Killalea, a lovely, quiet cove within Killalea national surfing reserve. Known as ‘The Farm,’ surfers discovered it by creeping through a private farm, and it has been a much-loved surf spot since the early 1960s.
Private, 90-minute lesson £57pp, £90 for two people, one-day, weekend, seven and 14-day surf camps and more extended stays available, australiansurftours.com.au. Double room with ocean view in the Headlands Hotel, Austinmer, £128 a night, headlandshotel.com.au

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