8 Best Surf Universities In The World
Because life isn't all about how many hours you clocked in the library...
I'm going to a surf university. It's kind of like saying you studied at the University of Life. Except these places really do exist.
Some teach surf science as a degree, while others have campuses that literally overlook perfect peeling left-handers. We saw this rad post on European surf universities from our pals at Surf Europe and thought, why not expand it to the whole world?
When I chose my university, I picked the one with surfers on the brochure cover. It was the best decision I ever made. Combining the beach lifestyle with studying is what it's all about.
So when you're sick of being cooped up in the library for the ninth consecutive hour, there's something more entertaining to do than: a) make another trip to the vending machine and b) go home and watch TV.
These universities are based just a few miles from the best breaks in the world. So you're biggest dilemma won't be how you're going to keep off the Fresher Fifteen, it'll be how legit is it to use "... but it was a perfect 3ft onshore!" as an excuse to skip class...
Never surfed before but want to give it a go? Check out our top mistakes that every beginner surfer makes.
[part title="University of Hawaii at Mānoa, USA"]
You couldn't really choose a better university for a good surf vibe than the University of Hawaii in Mānoa.
Based in the capital of Honolulu with warm water and world-class waves, surfing is engrained in daily culture here more than any other place on the planet.
The campus is just 45 minutes from every surf spot on O'ahu. Yep, that includes the notorious Pipeline and plenty of gnarly reef breaks on the North Shore.
Plus the National Weather Service have their forecast office on campus, so you can get the most up-to-date swell report before anyone else.
NEAREST SPOTS: Ala Moana Bowls (15 minute drive), Pipeline and most of North Shore (45 minutes to 1 hour drive)
[part title="University of California, Santa Barbara, USA"]
There's few places in the world where you can see the surf from your university dorm window. UC Santa Barbara is one of them.
Just an hour and a half north of Los Angeles, the coastal campus is practically located on the beach - just check out the picture above - with most students choosing to live in the Isla Vista overlooking the ocean.
Santa Barbara might not have the most consistent breaks in SoCal, but with the long-peeling right hander Rincon just a 20 minute drive away and further breaks just past Point Conception, you'll be hard-pressed to not find a wave that suits you.
The university has produced some boffins over the years (5 Nobel Prize winners, to be precise) plus it's got a reputation for having a wild party scene.
You can even study courses in surfing, including Geography in Surfing and History of Surfing. What more could you want?
NEAREST SPOTS: Campus Point, Devereux and Sands (practically on campus), Rincon and Sandspit (20 minute drive)
[part title="Falmouth University, UK"]
If you're looking for surf in the UK, it's likely you will naturally gravitate to Cornwall.
While the south coast doesn't have the most consistent surf, there are some decent spots which start pumping during the winter, such as the reef break at Gyllyngvase Beach.
Otherwise, popular spots like Porthtowan on the north coast is only an hour's drive away. Plus you can't beat a good pint of Cornish cider in one of the local pubs after a good session.
If you're an artistic sort, Falmouth is one of the best places in the country to study graphic design and illustration, so this could be the perfect place for you.
NEAREST SPOTS: Gyllyngvase Beach (10 minute walk), Porthtowan (30 minute drive), Porthleven (35 minute drive)
[part title="Bond University, Queensland, Australia"]
How about this for perfection? It's hard to believe that this is the local break for students at Bond University on Australia's Gold Coast.
Just ten minutes drive from campus, Burleigh Heads is world-renowned for its long, thin tube, capable of building up to 8ft. There's a reason why it is regularly used for international comps, such as the Quiksilver Pro, when the other stonkingly good nearby breaks - Kirra and Snapper Rocks - aren't going off.
Bond University only has 5,000 students, so it's a pretty close knit community. It's one of the highest ranked places to study law or business, so ideal for the boffins among you.
Don't worry about getting bored if the surf is flat, the beach is often packed with students and locals BBQing and playing beach cricket after class.
NEAREST SPOTS: Burleigh Heads (10 minute drive), Kirra (24 minute drive), Snapper Rocks (29 minute drive)
[part title="University of Cape Town, South Africa"]
The University of Cape Town is the best place to study in South Africa, so it's ideal for combining good grades with world-class waves all year round.
Like California, the beauty of Cape Town is there are breaks for every level. Muizenberg has some good spots for beginners to catch their first wave, while experienced surfers should head over to the reef break at Kalk Bay or Misty Cliffs.
You'll definitely need a car to get around, but it will be worth it to explore all the spots around the peninsula. Oh and bring a decent wetsuit with you, the water isn't warm here!
Don't know where to find other surfers? Check out the UCT Surf Club on Twitter here for regular updates.
NEAREST SPOTS: Glen Beach (17 minute drive), Muizenberg (23 minute drive), Big Bay (27 minute drive),
[part title="University of Lisbon - Faculdade de Motricidade Humana, Portugal"]
Located just fifteen minutes outside Lisbon, the Faculdade de Motricidade Humana is a small campus that's part of the University of Lisbon. They run courses on everything from sports management to psychology of sport.
Carcavelos is the local beach break, hollow and punchy. When the swell is too big at Ericeira and Peniche, surfers will often head for the more sheltered breaks around Lisbon.
During the winter, you can drive up and marvel at the world's bravest big waves surfers take on 70ft+ waves at Nazaré.
Surf clubs are few and far between in Portugal, but the chances finding someone to surf the Atlantic coast with in this sporty campus are pretty high.
NEAREST SPOTS: Carcavelos (10 minute drive), Guincho (25 minute drive)
[part title="University of Bordeaux, France"]
It's hard to combine the city lifestyle with easy surf access, but the University of Bordeaux has the best of both.
With 60,000 students, the city certainly feels its student presence. Don't be put off by wine-quaffing sorts associated with the region. There are plenty of rowdy bars and cheap drink deals on student nights to keep you suitably entertained.
The surf isn't on your doorstep, but head due west for an hour and you'll reach the endless shoreline of south-west France with breaks blending into one another from the summer party vibes in Lacanau to the less-crowded Biscarosse Plage. Further down the coast is Hossegor and the super fast tube at La Graviere.
NEAREST SPOTS: Lacanau (47 minute drive), Biscarosse Plage (57 minute drive), Mimizan Plage (1 hour 18 minute drive), Hossegor (1 hour 40 minute drive)
[part title="Udayana University, Bali"]
Studying from a beach in Bali sounds like, well, a massive cop out. But it's not.
Udayana University in Denpasar, Bali is the island's oldest university with 22,000 students spread across three campuses. You can study the Indonesian language or get clued up with the economy of South East Asia.
Students come from all over the world to surf in the mornings and evenings and study during the day when the sun is at its hottest. Even if you don't want to spend three years here, there's plenty of study abroad options that let you come out for just a semester.
Kuta Beach is one of the favourites for beginner surfers as there are no coral reefs to damage yourself on, plus it offers a serious number of bars to get your booze on after class.
More experienced surfers will relish in the fact that perfect reef breaks, like Padang Padang and Uluwatu, are just a few minutes drive away.
NEAREST SPOTS: Padang Padang (9 minute drive), Kuta Beach (12 minute drive) Uluwatu (15 minute drive), Bingin (20 minute drive)