8 Of The Best Surf Schools In The UK And Abroad

Which surf school should you choose? Where are the best surfing lessons? Surf school in Wales? Surf schools in the UK?

It doesn’t matter how old you are, everyone can learn the sport of surfing in the UK, just like skiing and snowboarding, surfing is a sport that many people learn after in life.

Cornwall is still the place in the UK where you’re most likely to find a crowd of pupils in matching wetsuits on foamy surfboards, however there are many other places to surf in the UK and around the world that offer amazing surf tuition.

You don’t have to be a beginner to warrant a surf lesson. It doesn’t matter if you have mastered your pop and want to learn how to surf the green waves, or your out in the lineup but want to perfect your technique, all schools will have a more advanced options as well as beginner classes.

Whether you have your own surfboard and wetsuit and want a little help with improving your skills, or you’ve never stepped in the ocean before and need to learn everything from riptides to surfing etiquette and surf safety, the right surf school is out there.

St Ives Surf School (Cornwall) 

Surf schools use big foamy surfboards to teach pupils to get on waves Photo: iStock

Based on the Blue Flag Porthmeor Beach, St Ives Surf School is among the best of the best, not only in Cornwall, but the rest of the UK as well.  Porthmeor beach is good for beginner surfers as it’s fairly exposed beach break has fairly consistent surf than can be surfed at any time of the year.

This school, which offers beginner, intermediate and advanced surf coaching, allows you to choose between any size class from one on one sessions, to private groups and bigger courses.

For the advanced students, the school employs Rip Curl team rider and UK tour champion, Jayce Robinson, who is also available for one on one lessons. Robinson offers both in the water training as well as  video analysis and fitness training, giving an all round surf fitness experience.

Surf Snowdonia (Wales)

Surf schools across the UK teach people of all different levels and abilities how to improve their skills Photo: iStock

Snowdonia’s artificial wave pool, which opened last year and is fully working for 2017 is a great choice for surfing lessons when going to a beach isn’t a possibility.

Because the waves at Surf Snowdonia are generated at the push of the button, you can work on your technique in a manner that isn’t possible at most UK beaches.

“There’s no hanging around waiting for the swell to be just right,” says the centre. ‘We’re always ready to go when you are.”

The classes are split into a beginner session and two different intermediate classes ro choice between. Beginners learn the basics of learning to pop and catching the whitewater, while intermediate classes focus on the green waves and turns.

The centre reopens for it’s 2017 season on March 11th and the wave pool will open 10.00am until sunset, with the centre open from 8.00am for breakfast through to last orders in the bar at 11pm.

C2C Surf School (Scotland)

Three teenage boys wearing their wetsuits carrying their surfboards run into the sea on a sunny summers day Photo: iStock

Scotland might not be the first place you think of when wanting to learn to surf, but one of the best surf schools to put on your wetsuit and find your see legs, can be found on its beaches.

Based on Belhaven bay, the closest consistently surfed beach to Edinburgh and Glasgow, C2C Surf School runs lessons from April to October. As well as standard surf lessons, this school also runs more social weekly sunset sessions to improve on your surfing and four day surf courses for all levels.

Coast To Coast also run a junior surf team that the strongest young surfers are invited to join. Four of the current group of surfers represent Scotland in the World and European Juniors in 2016.

Surf SouthWest (Devon)

Catching the green waves and surfing on a short board are some of the skills taught in intermeddiate classes Photo: iStock

North Devon is one of the most popular places in the UK for surfing, and no beach is more popular in this area than Croyde Bay. Surf SouthWest runs a school across both this beach and neighbouring beach Saunton Sands between March and November every year.

Instead of offering single classes, the school structures their lessons in blocks, you can choose either a half day (2 hours), a full day (4 hours) or a weekend (6 hours) which comes with a lunch included.

The classes strictly adhere to the Surfing GB coaching ratio. , meaning that no more than eight students will be taught by one instructor, although the school notes that class sizes are often smaller.

The school offers Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4 Surfing GB qualified coaching for more experienced surfers staff, coaching surfers right through to elite standard. Their programmes cover topics such as conditioning/fitness training, contest strategy, mental preparation and nutrition with senior coaches.

O’Neill Surf Academy (Cornwall)

O’Neill Surf Academy is based in Watergate Bay near the surfing capital of ether UK, Newquay in Cornwall.

The difference in this surf school is that they don’t only offer classes, you can book a place to stay while you master the waves. If you get fed up of Cornwall’s cold water, they also have an option to continue your surf in the sunny heat of The Golden State, California.

The school also runs surf lessons just for kids aged from six to twelve, to give a more tailored type of tuition for younger pupils.

Croyde Surf Academy (Devon)

Surf instructor giving surf lessons to a group of teenagers on the beach on a sunny day Photo: iStock

The second Croyde Bay based surf school on this list, Croyde Surf Academy can be easily found by looking for the big blue double decker bus that contains its office.

Croyde Surf Academy are very good at what they do, and what they do is give top standard surfing tuition. All classes are a reasonable size, the timetable is planned around tide times and the teachers are very well trained.

These guys are well known and liked in the area and after a long day in the water, odds are you’ll find them for a pint in the village pub to chat about the day!


Saltburn Surf School (Saltburn)

Good surf schools can be found on the coast of England, Scotland and Wales Photo: iStock

Another of the lesser known Northern surf schools of the UK, Saltburn Surf school is based on the East Coast of the country, near Newcastle and Durham.

This school has been around since 1983 and has earned is stripes in the UK’s surfing community, now standing as the only surf school approved by Surfing Great Britain on the East Coast.

The school offers one on one teaching, group classes, private bookings and corporate bookings for work trips. It also now offers coaching video analysis of your surfing, so you can get some tips on your technique without even leaving the house!

Soul And Surf (Outside The UK)

International surf schools often offer accommodation and week long retreats Photo: iStock

Fancy going somewhere a little warmer to master the surf? We don’t blame you.

Soul And Surf is a surf retreat based in India and Sri Lanka, that offers surf lessons along with yoga, boat rides and more. For those of us who think that India might be a little far to travel for a surf lesson, the company has now set up ‘pop up’ retreats around the world, find amazing surf spots and bring their retreats to the spot for limited time.

So whenever we find another place like that, when we get to know it and when we feel at home somewhere we’re inspired to take Soul & Surf to that place.

“We’ve experimented with some ‘Pop-Up’ Soul & Surf’s in new locations,” says the people behind Soul and Surf. “We tried the south west coast of Sri Lanka for a more luxurious retreat – that went very well and now we have our own retreat there.

“We tried Little Andaman, a far-flung, untouched island in the middle of the Bay of Bengal for a wilder more adventurous trip. That went really well too. Then we had a long weekend in Cornwall in Spring.”

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