Everything You Need to Know About Taking Your Surfboard Abroad

You’ve been dreaming of hitting the waves recently in the likes of Lagos, San Sebastian or Hossegor when you start thinking should you take your surfboard with you or hire one when you arrive.

You have probably heard stories about what happens when you check in your surfboard but don’t panic, just yet! We’ve weighed up the pros and cons for you, now all you need to think about is getting away a week or two of sunshine and great waves.

Is it better to take your Surfboard abroad or hire?

To hire or not to hire? Having your own surfboard with you is familiar, you know what to expect but do you really want the hassle of carrying it through the airport and more importantly risk what might happen to it during transit.

Things to consider…

How much does it cost to hire a surfboard? Will the airline charge extra for checking in a surfboard and board bag? Will the surf equipment at a surf school be suitable for your level?

Where are you going surfing?

In a destination with lots of surfers, you would expect there to be an extensive selection of surfboard’s available however this is not necessarily the case. In quieter locations, it is more difficult to find the perfect surfboard.

What type of board would you like to ride when you arrive?

If you aren’t overly fussy about what you ride and are looking for something standard, then in most places you will easily come across a board to suit you. If you are used to riding a board which is a bit unusual and not standard, then obviously this will be more difficult to find.

Pros and Cons of taking your surfboard abroad…

Surf travel is becoming more and more popular with many travelling to places such as Sagres, Portugal and Capbreton, France.

Let’s start off with the ‘surfer-friendliness’ of airlines luggage policies. It is fair to say that several airlines are trying to make surfer’s lives a lot easier and include generous luggage policies, however, as with most things some aren’t quite hitting the mark and even failing to understand that surfers travel on a regular basis.

What will it cost?

Many airlines charge a substantial fee for taking your surfboard abroad. It depends who you are flying with, but short-haul flights tend to be reasonably cheaper than long haul. Our favourite is British Airways who allow you to take a Surfboard bag for free (T&Cs apply). You’ll have to weigh up whether the extra cost of taking your board away in comparison to hiring one is worth it – sometimes it’s similar but other times there is a huge difference.

Row of Surfboards

Accepts your surfboards as a normal checked bag, if the surfboard bag doesn’t exceed the following dimensions and weight limit: 190cm x 75cm x 65cm (75in x 29.5in x 25.5in) & 23kg (51lb). 

Classes surfboards and surfboard bags as ‘large sports equipment’ with a weight allowance of 32 kg per surfboard bag max. One surfboard bag can be carried for £35 per flight. A really good price for a budget airline.

They might be the cheapest booking a flight for your surf holiday but NOT if you want to take your Surfboard away. In terms of their surf/ general sports equipment oversize luggage policies: Up to 100€ per bag with a 20 kg limit! No thanks.

This is the least surf traveller friendly and one best avoidedNot only are their fees extremely high (150€) they may even charge extra for luggage belts. What?!  

You must call the airline when booking to reserve space for your board but in principle, they can be for a fee of £30. Not bad!!! 


Surfing abroad is very popular, meaning there are plenty of companies who offer surfing specific insurance, which includes surfboard cover. If you are still undecided about where to go on your surf holiday, then why not try Mundaka or even Seignosse.

Many surfing injuries occur during collisions with the board, coral reefs or hard sand surfaces. Shoulder injuries are the most common while surfing but all in all, it is a relatively low-risk sport. If you are arranging a surf holiday particularly abroad then it is important to take out the correct type of insurance for your trip.

We would always recommend you take out insurance not only to protect yourself but also your surfboard.

Total costs

AirlineCost of flightExtra Baggage FeeInsurance ChargeTotal Cost (return flight)
Ryanair£88£45Price of flight + £133
Iberia£132£45Price of flight + £177
Flybe£60£45Price of flight + £105
British Airways£45Price of flight + £45
EasyJet£70£45Price of flight + £115


Things to remember when taking your surfboard on a plane

Clearly label your bag and make it identifiable

We keep coming back to this, but if the very worst were to happen, you would want to know in your head that if your bag does go missing, but is found, that whoever finds it would be able to contact you.

Also, by adding something bright, like bits of string, to your bag, will make it much more identifiable when you’re looking at every surf bag which looks the same on the conveyor belt.

Protect, protect, protect

We can emphasise this enough, protect your board at all costs. This doesn’t mean fight any off who comes in close vicinity of your board. What we mean, is use plenty of padding and cushioning while your bag is in the bag. For example, wrap pipe insulation around the rails of your board. Add bubble wrap to the deck of your surfboard. Finally, place your board in a board sock for even more cushioning. Then you’ll be good to go!

Get a durable, well-made bag

Make sure you choose the right board bag for your journey. We’d recommend lugging around a huge coffin board bag, you’ll thank us for this tip! Also, make sure you go for a durable bag. Especially if you’re on a long trip away, your board will likely come to a few blows while it is in transit, so a durable bag is a necessity.

Whichever bag you go for, make sure you don’t scrimp, and you choose a well-made bag. The cost may be slightly higher at first, but a durable bag will last you years!

Should I Hire a Surfboard?

You may ride an unusual surfboard and feel more comfortable using your own. If this is the case your main consideration should be the cost of transporting it. If it’s not overly expensive then it makes more sense.

Looking for flexibility, then renting a board is possibly the best option for you. If the airline charges don’t fit in with your budget and you are relaxed about the type of board then hiring is a great option.

It really depends on your love of your board and the cost. If you are not overly fussed and the cost is similar, then why not hire one when you get there and save the risk of damage.

Whatever you decide we are sure you will enjoy the waves either way!!!

What to do when you’re on the other side

Forget about the hassle of dragging your surfboard from the luggage conveyor belt, out of the doors into the blazing heat and to the taxi stand or public transport station, to wait in line and get more and more sweaty.

Why put yourself through that, when you can book your transfers to the surf resort with Sea-Lifts. We take care of your transfer needs from the airport to resort, you’ll have a friendly driver waiting for you at the airport the moment you step off the plane.

Top 50 Surf Blogs!

When you live miles away from the Ocean, how do you keep up to date with the surfing community? Aside from booking surf holidays to some of the best breaks, the best way to get your surfing fix is by reading surf blogs.

But which blogs do you read? With so many blogs, it can be hard to find the right one for you. To help inspire your next surf holiday, we’ve searched the internet for the best surf blogs and ranked them to find out which is best.

How are they ranked?

In order to make our ranking fair, we took into account 4 factors:

  • Alexa Rank
  • Social Media Following
  • Domain Rating
  • Similarweb rank

For each factor we gave each blog points, with the top blog getting 1 point, the 2nd blog getting 2 points etc. With each factor worth 25%, we added up the total number of points, with the lower the number of points the higher the ranking.

To everyone included in the rankings…

There are a number of ways you can shout about your listing on Sea-Lifts’ Top 50 Surf Blogs.

Winner’s Badge

Get your well-deserved badge to display on your website:

Copy and paste the code

<a href=”https://www.sea-lifts.com/blog/top-50-surf-blogs/”><img class=”alignnone size-medium wp-image-10496″ src=”https://www.sea-lifts.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/50-surf-blog-e1528448392772.png” width=”auto” height=”auto” /></a>

Get Social

Shout about your achievement on social media

We’ve been featured as a @SeaLifts Top 50 Surf Blogs! Check it out: https://www.sea-lifts.com/blog/top-50-surf-blogs/ …

So what are the Top 50 Best Surf Blogs? Let’s find out!

The Best 50 Surf Blogs

1. Surfer


Considered to be “the bible of the sport”, it’s no surprise SURFER Magazine is our number 1 surf blog. Packed with reviews, guides and the latest news, reading SURFER is the best way to keep up to date with the surfing community no matter where you are in the world.
Website: surfer.com

2. CI Surf Boards

CI surf boards site

Established in 1969, Channel Islands has developed from a grassroots operation to an innovative, high-performance brand. As a result, some of the best surfers in the world turn to Channel Island to take their surf to the next level. Following the team at different contests, the blog has some of the best surf photography around.
Website: cisurfboards.com
3. Catch Surf

Catch surf site

A Surf shop based in Laguna Beach, the Catch Surf Blog follows the team as they try out new equipment and the latest surfing technology. Featuring plenty of surfing footage and excellent surf photography, the blog is full of personality.
Website: catchsurf.com
4. Surf Simply

simply surf

One of the leading surf coaching retreats, Surf Simply understands what it takes to catch a break. Sharing their passion with as many people, Surf Simply produces an excellent podcast and magazine discussing everything relating to surf culture, characters, coaching and competition. For those looking to improve their technique before their next surf holiday, have a look at the free video tutorials from Surf Simply founder, Ru Hill, which talk through some of the basics.
Website: surfsimply.com
5. Laird Hamilton

Laird Hamilton

The blog of the innovative big wave surfer Laird Hamilton, visitors are treated to updates and incredible photographs of his travels. Whilst big waves are out of the question for most surfers, reading Laird’s blog will make even a beginner want to book a surf holiday to Peniche.
Website: lairdhamilton.com
6. Bare Foot Surf Travel

Bare Foot Surf Travel

Sharing their love of surf trips, Bare Foot Surf Travel’s blog, titled ‘Livemore Magazine’ has the perfect mix of surf guides and travel inspiration. Including interesting features such as a day in the life of a professional surfer, you can easily lose track of time reading this blog.
Website: barefootsurftravel.net
7. We are Surfers

We are surfers

An International surfing, surf art and culture website, We Are Surfers provides updates from the surfing community around the world. Aside from news updates, visitors will find helpful reviews and guides on every aspect of surf culture.
Website: wearesurfer.net
 8. Lush Palm

Lush Palm

A complete guide to surf travel and lifestyle for the modern surfer, Lush Palm aims to provide inspiration for the ocean-minded. With spectacular photography, Lush Palm should be a must-visit when planning your surf holiday.
Website: lushpalm.com
9. 360 Guide

360 Guide

Born from a passion for action sports, the 360Guide covers everything from surfing to snowboarding. Whilst most of the site is equipment or guide focused, we love the ‘BoardBlog’ for its relatable stories and travel inspiration.
Website: 360guide.info
10. Surfd


Bringing stories and insights from the surfing community, Surfd has earned its place in our top 10 surf blogs. Whether you’re looking for reviews on the latest surfboard or wetsuit, or want advice on improving your fitness and health, there is something for everyone on this blog.
Website: surfd.com
11. Surf Ears


The blog of the leading surfing earplug brand, Surf Ears blog is ideal for anyone looking to see more of their favourite professional surfers. Following iconic wave riders around the world, the blog gives amazing insights into some of our favourite destinations.
Website: surfears.com/blog
12. Kelly Slater


Crowned World Surf League Champion a record 11 times, Kelly Slater is an iconic professional surfer. Founder of the Kelly Slater Wave Company, the blog shares incredible footage of surfers testing the first repeatable man-made wave on an inland lake in California.
Website: kellyslater.com
13. Surf Strength Coach

Surf Strength Coach

The perfect blog for intermediate and expert surfers, Surf Strength Coach has the primary goal to help surfers improve their performance through exercise and nutrition. Alongside programs and coaching, helpful guides are guaranteed to help improve your fitness for your next surf holiday.
Website: surfstrengthcoach.com/blog
14. Drift


Combing a love of surfing and a loyal community, Drift is a must-read blog for all surfers. From exclusive interviews to insightful features on ocean environments, the blog is truly dedicated to providing surfing updates to its readers.
Website: driftsurfing.eu
15. Turf to Surf

Turf to Surf

Founded in 2012 when Tasha bought a boat, Turf and Surf combines a love of writing and a love of adrenaline. Whilst Turf and Surf is mainly a sailing blog, visitors will find everything from Paddle boarding to Kiteboarding and is great for coastal destination inspiration.
Website: turftosurf.com
16. Encyclopaedia of Surfing

Encyclopaedia of Surfing

Transforming the must-read surf book by Matt Washaw into a website, the Encyclopaedia of Surfing is a hub of surfing history. Whilst the site is a subscription service, access to this impressive collection of photographs and videos is well worth the cost for keen surfers.
Website: eos.surf
17. NE Surf

NE Surf

Located in New England, USA, N.E. Surf aims to inspire and update the local surfing community. Featuring in-depth reports on everything from buoy data to the forecast, the blog shares details of major contests, complete with stunning photography.
Website: nesurf.com
18. Surf with Amigas

Surf with Amigas

An exclusive surf and yoga retreat for adventurous women, Surf with Amigas aims to support and inspire guests. Sharing updates on their inclusive community, Surf with Amigas is a must-read for women who are thinking of trying surfing for the first time.
Website: surfwithamigas.com/surf-with-amigas-blog
19. Alana Blanchard

Alana Blanchard<

A pro surfer from Hawaii, Alana Blanchard’s site acts as a hub for all her social media activity. A regular YouTuber, Alana shares her return to surfing after having her first baby. Full of inspiration travel footage and tips on surfing with families, you’ll want to book a surf holiday after watching.
Website: Alana Blanchard
20. Chica Brava

Chica Brava

Established in 2003, Chica Brava is dedicated to empowering women on their own surfing journey. Mixing advice on surfing technique with yoga and mindfulness tips, the Chica Brava blog helps to encourage people to begin their own surfing adventure.
Website: chicabrava.com/blog
22. Stephanie Gilmore

Stephanie Gilmore

Born and raised in New South Wales, Australia, Stephanie Gilmore has dominated women’s professional surfing since 2007. A 6-time World Surfing Champion, her site helps fans follow her around the world, sharing some great surf films, such as ‘Stephanie in The Water’, to inspire them to give the sport a try.
Website: stephgilmore.com
23. Young Wise Tails

Young Wise Tails

A collection of short films, photos and musings, Young Wise Tails is shares the story of two brothers travelling to find the best breaks. Featuring some incredible footage, we especially loved watching the ‘Year One’ short film, following Connor on his first year on the WSL Tour.
Website: youngwisetails.com
24. Errant Surf

Errant Surf

Aside from creating surfing experiences for people of all ages and abilities, Errant Surf also writes a great surf travel blog. Full of surf holiday inspiration, we love their helpful destination guides and advice on how to make the most of your surf holiday in Europe.
Website: blog.errantsurf.com
25. Surfer Dad

Surfer Dad

If you’re thinking of introducing children to surfing or planning a family surf holiday, this is the blog for you. Written by a father from Cornwall, Surfer Dad is one of the best European surf blogs around. Discussing a wide range of topics from surfing rants to surf music, Surfer Dad covers all aspects of the surfer lifestyle.
Website: surferdad.co.uk
26. Surf Happens

Surf Happens

A leading surf school based in Santa Barbara, Surf Happens is passionate about sharing the spirit of Aloha with surfers of all ages and abilities. From sharing details of the top competitions to providing exclusive insights on events, the Surf Happens blog is a great introduction to surfing in California.
Website: surfhappens.com/blog
27. Lea Brassy

Lea Brassy

Originally from France, Lea Brassy is an ocean adventurer with a desire to explore the coastal world and seaside communities across the globe. Through social media and her blog, Lea Brassy shares her travels and encourages people to be more responsible for their environment.
Website: leabrassy.com
28. Surf Tours Nicaragua

Surf Tours Nicaragua

Helping surfers find the best waves in Nicaragua, Surf Tours Nicaragua is your ultimate source for surfing in this Central American country. Complete with a surf webcam showing live conditions, the Surf Tours Nicaragua blog shares what it’s like exploring this stretch of coast.
Website: surftoursnicaragua.com
29. Mad to Live

Mad To Live

Written by adventure lover Sophie Everard, Mad to Live is a lifestyle, travel and fitness blog that has been featured in the likes of Women’s Health and Elle Magazine. If you’re planning on going on a surf holiday soon, we recommend reading Sophie’s blog on surf fitness, so you get catch more waves.
Website: madtoliveblog.com
30. John John Florence

John John Florence

The youngest Pipeline and Vans Triple Crown competitor ever, John John Florence is one of the most talked about surfers in the World Surf League. Keeping fans updated with his performance in major competitions, we loved watching the John John Florence series following his journey to claim the world title in 2017.
Website: johnjohn-florence.com/blog
31. Mentawai Surf Charters

Mentawai Surf Charters

Offering surf trips around Indonesia, Mentawai Surf Charters shares some extraordinary photographs of their guests. Complete with images from surf competitions and some great videos, the blog gives you a real sense of what surf tours are like.
Website: mentawaisurfcharters.com/blog
32. Original Surf Morocco

Original Surf Morocco

The blog of a surf and yoga retreat in Morocco, Original Surf Morocco provides a great insight into what its like to go to a surf and yoga camp. Whether you’re brand new to surfing or looking to improve, this blog shares some excellent tips to help you make the most of your trip.
Website: originalsurfmorocco.com/surf-holiday-blog
33. Turkey Melt

Turkey Melt

Despite its name, Turkey Melt isn’t about food. Instead, it follows surfer Alex Gray on his travels, as he surfs his way around the world. A pro big wave surfer, Alex has collected some incredible GoPro videos that will inspire you to up head to Nazare and see these giant waves for yourself.
Website: turkeymelt.com
34. Salt Surf

Salt Surf

Established in New York in 2011, Salt Surf is a surf brand with a vision to create items that people can connect with and see themselves using. Now based in California, the brand has its own store which sells their own apparel, surfboards and accessories, along with some of their favourite brands. Alongside their store, the Salt Surf blog, known as Below the Salt, gives an exclusive look behind-the-scenes of the brand.
Website: blog.saltsurf.com
35. Last Name First

Last Name First

Passionate surfers, Last Name First is a project by Alex and Koa Smith to inspire people to live a life of freedom, creativity and adventure. Wanting to create useful entertainment that helps people live a more positive life, the blog follows the brothers travels, and surf experiences, through some incredible videos.
Website: lastnamefirst.tv
36. Salty Beards

Salty Beards

Based in California, Salty Beards is a surf school that also has an online store and a great surf blog. A collection of some of the best surf videos and photographs on the internet, it’s the ultimate motivation to catch some waves.
Website: saltybeards.com
37. Salt in My Hair

Salt in my hair

An online magazine about being active and having adventures, Salt In My Hair is the perfect blog for wave lovers. Covering surfing, yoga and mind, expect to see surf interviews and book reviews mixed with travel diaries including a trip to South Portugal.
Website: saltinmyhair.com
38. Surfing Margaret River

Surfing Margaret River

Following the publication of their excellent surf book, Surfing Margaret River provides regularly updates on the surf conditions in the area. With breathtaking photographs and helpful insights, it’s enough to inspire anyone to book a surf holiday.
Website: surfingmargaretriver.com/blog
39. Surf City Family

Surf City Family

Written by Marcie from Huntington Beach, Surf City Family is the ultimate blog for those with a Californian dream. A family-based lifestyle blog with a clear love of the ocean, it covers all the major events including surf competitions. Great for getting a taste of the Cali lifestyle, our favourite posts are about the Surf City Surf Dog Competition!
Website: surfcityfamily.com
40. Surfragette


Sharing surfing adventures with her readers, Marta inspires everyone to give surfing a go. Covering everything from photography tips to advice on high-energy snacks, Surfragette covers all aspects of the surfer lifestyle.
Website: surfragette.com
41. Brink Surf

Brink Surf

Thriving on the responsibility of their customers’ performance in the water, Brink is a board shaper that transforms choosing the right surfboard into an art. Educating their readers on different styles of surfboard, Brink Surf is a must-read for anyone looking to take their surfing to the next level.
Website: brinksurf.com/blog
42. Loco Surfing

Loco Surfing

A UK boardsports brand, Loco Surfing was established after the founder, Joe, discovered there was a limited choice in stand-up paddle boards. Surrounding himself with a world-class team, Loco Surfing channels its passion into providing surfers with an extensive range of SUP, surf and kiteboards. On their blog, Loco shares insights into competitions, travel inspiration and performance tips.
Website: locosurfing.com
43. Morocco Surf Life

Morocco Surf Life

If you’ve ever wondered what happens at a surf camp, this is the blog for you! Written by a surfing holidays company, Morocco Surf Life, the blog gives a great insight into surf holidays and even shares videos of some of the surfer’s experiences.
Website: moroccosurfline.com
44. Joistik Surfboards

Joistik Surfboards

Established in 2005 by shaper and designer Nick Blair, Joistik Surfboards is an Australian surfboard manufacturer who creates premium quality surfboards, customised for the best performance for surfers of all abilities. Through their blog, the brand shares exclusive insights in the process of shaping the boards and how the designs help pro surfers perform to the highest level.
Website: joistiksurfboards.com/blog
45. A Broad on a Board

A Broad on a Board

An accountant from the U.K., Charlotte has now quit her job and is on possibly the best surf holiday in the world. Noticing that there weren’t many guides for surf travel, she began A Broad on a Board to help give surfers, travellers and backpackers some help creating the surfing holiday of their dreams.
Website: abroadonaboard.com
46. Tatiana Howard

Tatiana Howard

After travelling the world on the Professional Windsurfing Tour at the age of 16, it’s easy to say that Tatiana Howard knows her waves. Lover of windsurfing, kitesurfing and surfing, she is the founder of the worldwide water woman movement, The Butterfly Effect. Her blog follows her competitions, travels and work to promote the sport.
Website: tatiannahoward.com
47. Tale of a Mermaid

A Broad on a Board

Driven by a wish to share her love of the Ocean with the world, Devon documents her life, surfing and travel on Tale of a Mermaid. Covering everything from surfing whilst pregnant and with her children, to practicing her skills on a skateboard, we love following Devon’s journey.
Website: talesofamermaid.com
48. Fiji Surf Shots

Fiji Surf Shots

Another incredible surf photography blog, Fiji Surf Shots is the sister blog of the Fiji Surf Company. Taking photos of their guests, Stu and Malia Johnson have captured the adrenaline, excitement, freedom and passion that surrounds surfing.
Website: fijisurfshots.com
49. Soul Surfing

A Broad on a Board

Written by Jason Swan, a visual artist/photographer who specialises in Isle of Wight Surf Photography, Soul Surfing is the place to go for beautiful imagery. Showcasing his collation of landscape and action/lifestyle photography, Soul Surfing covers everything from surfing and stand-up-paddle-boarding to sailing and walking.
Website: soul-surfing.co.uk
50. Son of a Beach

Son of a Beach

Starting his surfing journey in September 2015, Jakub of Son of a Beach now dreams of becoming a pro surfer. Living 1434 miles from the ocean might put some people off from pursuing the dream of riding waves but seems to only have made him more determined. What makes Jakub different is his love of men’s fashion, combing fashion trends with surfer style to create a unique blend.
Website: sonofabea.ch

The History of Surfing – Surfing Now & Then

Three Surfers

With over 20 million participants worldwide, surfing has experienced a dramatic evolution. From its spiritual beginnings to earning its place in pop culture, surfing has transformed into an international, multi-billion-pound industry. But how did surfing begin? And how did surfing spread from Hawaii to Europe?

To help you understand the history of surfing, we’ve shared the key events that have developed surfing into the sport we recognise today.

How did Surfing begin?

Whilst most people believe surfing originates from Hawaii, that may not actually be the case. Although surfing was spread by Polynesian migrants from Indonesia through Fiji, the Marquesas, Tahiti and Hawaii, the first activity that can be recognised as surfing was in Peru!

Around 3000 to 1000 BCE, Peruvian fishermen built caballitos de totora to transport their nets and collect fish. A type of reed watercraft, fisherman used to straddle the craft liking horses, hence its name ‘little reed horses’ in English.

Although it is debated in the surfing world as to whether caballitos de totora constitutes the first form of surfing, the similarity in its shape is definitely convincing!

Surfing nearly went extinct?!

While over 20 million people actively surf world-wide, believe it or not, the sport of surfing was nearly lost in the 1880’s!

Believing the sport was a waste of time and had sinful links to gambling and nakedness, American missionaries preached against surfing in Hawaii. As colonial powers introduced a cash economy to the island, Hawaiians worked on sugar plantations, reducing their spare time and time catching waves.

Thankfully, the sport was resurrected in the late 1880’s by King Kalakaua who actively encouraged the practice of Hawaiian traditions including surfing.

Surfing in Europe

We know Hawaii is the stereotypical surfing hotspot, but how did surfing spread to Europe?

After encouragement from King Kalakaua, surfers travelled across the world to demonstrate their ability on the waves. In 1885, three Hawaiian princes visited the USA to showcase the sport, with a similar one taking place in Bridlington, UK in 1890.

However, it wasn’t until Duke Kahanamoku’s success at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, that the popularity of surfing in Europe truly began to gain momentum.

By the mid-1920’s, surfing had travelled to Europe, with the first surfers being filmed in Portugal in 1926.

Surfing was mainly focused in Portugal until WWII, when U.S. troops introduced the sport to France, transforming Biarritz into the best surfing destination in Europe.

After Peter Viertel imported the first surfboards into Biarritz and then travelled down into Spain in the 1960’s, the sport had spread across the European coast.

How have surfboards changed?

During the early 1700’s, Hawaiians followed the Code of Kapu (taboos) which dictated every aspect of an islander’s life. Under the Code, the best surf spots were reserved for Hawaiian royalty, with the island priest being sent for to pray over the water if the swell wasn’t there. Even the size of the surfboard was controlled, with royalty riding boards up to 24 feet long, whilst the rest of the islanders rode boards that averaged 12 feet long.

However, as surfing spread across the world and the sport grew in popularity, surfers began to look at ways to enhance their performance.

In 1935, Alfred Gallant Jr. became the first person to use wax on a surfboard, after noticing the effect it had on the floors of his home. In the same year, Tom Blake introduced the first stabilising fin on a surfboard, with a twin system being introduced in 1943 and Simon Anderson introducing a triple fin system in 1980.

Not only did WWII help spread surfing, it also gave way to a new generation of surfboards. As a result of the invention of chemicals and materials such as Styrofoam, Fiberglass and Resin, lighter boards were created allowing more challenging surf.

Whilst original wooden longboards usually measured 16 foot and could weigh up to 175 pounds, the 1960’s saw surfboards change shape and become smaller. After Irish Hawaiian George Freeth cut the original 16ft wood longboards in half, new surfing techniques that were more suited to European beach breaks emerged.

The Biggest Waves Surfed

Ocean Waves


Date: 10th January 2004
Location: North Shore of Maui, Hawaii
Surfer: Pete Cabrinha
Height: 70 ft


Date: 1st November 2011
Location: Nazare, Portugal
Surfer: Garret McNamara
Height: 78 ft


Date: 5th January 2008
Location: Cortes Bank, California
Surfer: Mike Parsons
Height: 77 ft


Date: 8th November 2017
Location: Nazare, Portugal
Surfer: Rodrigo Koxa
Height: 80ft

Most Influential Surfers

Duke Kahanamoku
The undisputed father of modern surfing, Duke Kahanamoku is inducted into both the Swimming and Surfing Hall of Fame. Helping to spread the sport around the world, surfing would not have advanced into the popular competitive sport it is today without his encouragement.

Kelly Slater
The record holder for the most money made by a surfer in one year ($3 million in 2009), American Kelly Slater is the most successful surfing champion in the world.

Tom Blake
Changing both surfing technique and surfboard design, Tom Blake is one of the most influential surfers. A competitor of the Duke, Blake transformed surfing performance into the dynamic sport we now know.

Tom Curren
Immortalised forever by his clashes with the young Mark Occhilupo in the 1980’s, Tom Curren helped develop surfing into a career, starring in “The Search” series filmed by Sonny Miller.

Laird Hamilton
An incredible big-wave rider in the 1990s, Laird Hamilton innovated tow-surfing and introduced the Stand-Up Paddleboard movement, creating a new way to ride the waves.

Celebrity Surfers

From Mark Twain and Prince of Wales to Cameron Diaz and Chris Hemsworth, the popularity of surfing means more and more celebrities are riding waves.

Here’s just a few that have given it a go:

Adam Sandler
Ashley Greene
Ben Stiller
Charlize Theron
Chris Hemsworth
Chris Martin
David Beckham
Emma Stone
Gisele Bundchen
Jack Johnson

Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Lawrence
Kate Hudson
Kendal Jenner
Lady Gaga
Lindsay Lohan
Matthew McConaughey
Orlando Bloom
Reese Witherspoon
Vanessa Hudgens

We hope you’ve learned something about the history of surfing.

If you want to give surfing a go like the celebrity surfers, let Sea-Lifts provide reliable and hassle-free transfers for your surfing holiday in Europe. Use our quote generator to get an instant quote and book online now!

Who is the No. 1 Surf Nation?

When you think of surfing, where do you think of? Although most people will say the USA’s Californian coast, Hawaii or even Australia, do these nations produce the most top surfers? Which country is the number 1 surf nation?

With the population of Brazil over 8000% bigger that of French Polynesia, it’s hardly fair to compare the two. Whilst everyone knows Hawaii and Australia often feature high on the leaderboard, we want to know who really is the best pound for pound surf nation!

How did we calculate it? After calculating the total number of points awarded to each nation on both the men’s and women’s 2017 World Surf League Championship Tour, we divided it by the nation’s total population. After doing the maths, this gave us the ranking figure of population per World Surf League 2017 Championship Tour point and in turn, the best pound for pound surf nation.

Surf waves

Who do you think took the top spot? Let’s find out…

The Top 13 Pound for Pound Surf Nations

13. Spain

Population: 45,560,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 500

Population per World Surf League Point: 93,120
Boasting some of the best surf spots in Europe, we were surprised to find out Spain failed to make it into the top 10 surf nations. Represented by only one surfer, Aritz Aranburu came 25th in the Billabong Pro Teahupoo 2017, earning Spain just 500 points. Despite its low score, we strongly recommend Spain to anyone looking to try surfing in Europe, with the likes of Mundaka, San Sebastian and Zarautz amongst our favourite spots.

12. Japan

Population: 127,000,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 1,750

Population per World Surf League Point: 72,571
Like Spain, Japan was only represented by one surfer on the 2017 Championship Tour and failed to climb into the top 10 surf nations in the world. Achieving 13th place at the Hurley Pro at Trestles, Hiroto Ohhara was the only Japanese surfer to qualify for the 2017 Men’s Championship Tour. With such a huge population, Japan will have to climb the World League Leaderboard if it wants to be known as the number 1 surf nation.

11. Italy

Population: 60,600,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 18,700

Population per World Surf League Point: 3,240
Although Italy performed significantly better than Spain and Japan, the 10 top surfing nations remained out of reach. Represented by Leonardo Fioravanti in all 11 2017 Men’s Championship Tour events, Italy had an inconsistent performance on the Tour, with positions ranging from 5th to 25th.

10. Fiji

Population: 898,760

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 500

Population per World Surf League Point: 1,797
Obtaining 25th place in the Fiji Pro 2016, Tevita Gukilau was Fiji’s only surfer in the 2017 Men’s Championship Tour. Although Fiji is surrounded by spectacular surf spots, Gukilau finished the World Men’s Championship Tour in 45th, a position shared with several nations including Spain. Despite this performance, Fiji made it into the top 10 surf nations thanks to its small population size.

9. USA

Population: 325,700,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 353,060

Population per World Surf League Point: 922
Home to the 11-time World Surf League Champion, it’s obvious that the USA has a serious surf community. Represented by 6 surfers in the Men’s Tour, Kolohe Andino gave the best performance, obtaining an overall position of 7th. 4 female surfers also competed in the Women’s Championship Tour, with Courtney Conlogue achieving an overall position of 4th. Despite these places, the sheer size of the USA prevented from climbing higher than 9th in the top surf nations.

8. South Africa

Population: 55,910,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 98,700

Population per World Surf League Point: 566
Claiming an overall 4th place in the 2018 Men’s Championship Tour, South Africa managed to reach 8th in the worlds top surf nations. Represented by 3 surfers on the Tour, the true star of the nation is Jordy Smith, who claimed victory at the Rip Curl Pro 2017. South Africa was also represented in the women’s Tour, with Bianca Buitendag reaching 17th place overall.

7. France

Population: 66,900,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 137,800

Population per World Surf League Point: 485
Boasting some of the most consistent surf spots in Europe, it isn’t a surprise that France reached number 7 in the top surf nations ranking. Although Jeremy Flores claimed victory in the final event of the World Surf League, the Billabong Pipeline Masters 2017, his performance was too inconsistent to help France break into the top 5. Other representation came from Johanne Defay who achieved 9th place, Pauline Ado who gained 16th place, Maud Le Car in 20th place Joan Duru who achieved an overall position of 21st and Marc Lacomare who achieved 37th place.

6. Brazil

Population: 207,700,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 443,290

Population per World Surf League Point: 468
A true leader in international surfing, Brazil’s huge population prevents the nation from entering into the top 5 of surf nations. Represented by 3 surfers in the top 10 of the Men’s Championship Tour, it is clear that Brazil is a nation that takes surfing extremely seriously. Although the nation achieved 5 titles during the Men’s Tour, Silvana Lima was the only female surfer to represent Brazil and achieved an overall position of joint 12th on the Tour following victory at Swatch Women’s Pro Trestles 2017.

5. New Zealand

Population: 4,693,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 13,860

Population per World Surf League Point: 338
Represented by a solo female surfer in the Women’s Championship Tour, New Zealand’s relatively low population helped it secure a top 5 position in the top surf nations. Obtaining 13th place in the Rip Curl Pro 2017, Ella Williams finished an overall combined position of 23 in the Championship Tour.

4. Portugal

Population: 10,320,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 34,950

Population per World Surf League Point: 295
Arguably the home of European Surf, Portugal’s presence in the top 5 helps to establish the country as a must-visit location for any keen surfer. Represented by two surfers in the Men’s Championship Tour, Frederico Morais achieved an overall position of 14th, coming 2nd in the J-Bay Open 2016. The nation was also represented on the Women’s Tour by Teresa Bonvalot who claimed 9th in the Cascais Women’s Pro Portugal 2017. If you’re looking to try the world-class surf spots Portugal offers, we recommend Cascais, Lagos, Peniche and Sagres.

3. Australia

Population: 24,130,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 672,130

Population per World Surf League Point: 35
With 4 of the top 10 surfers in both the Men’s and Women’s Championship Tour coming from Australia, the nation maintains its position as one of the top surf nations. Whilst the men’s tour achieved 3 victories, it is in the Women’s Tour that the nation really showed its dominance, claiming 1st, 2nd and 3rd place overall.

2. French Polynesia

Population: 280,208

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 25,450

Population per World Surf League Point: 11
Despite only being represented by a handful of surfers in the World Surf League, French Polynesia is one of the top surfing nations in the world. Whilst Michel Bourez achieved 19th place overall and Taumata Puhetini came in 45th place overall in the Men’s Tour, it is as a result of the relatively small population size that French Polynesia achieves 2nd place in our ranking.

1. Hawaii

Population: 1,428,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 330,100

Population per World Surf League Point: 4
As many will have guessed, Hawaii is the worlds number 1 surf nation (although Hawaii is technically part of the USA, the WSL recognises it as its own sovereign surfing nation). Home of the sport and the winner of the Men’s Championship Tour 2017, the nation was represented by 7 surfers during the 11 events. In addition, 6 Hawaiian surfers featured in the top 20 of the Women’s Championship Tour, with Carissa Moore achieving the best result of 5th place.

Surfing Tips for Beginners

A bucket-list activity, surfing is becoming an increasingly popular sport in Europe.  The perfect way to enjoy beautiful beaches, with summer quickly approaching, it’s the perfect time to learn. Whether you’re having lessons with friends or visiting a surf camp, we’ve shared our top surfing tips for beginners to help you prepare.

Surfer carrying surfboard

Essential Gear for Beginners

Just like any sport, surfing requires specialist equipment. Here are some items you’re going to need:

A Surfboard
It might be obvious but in order to learn how to surf you’re going to need a surfboard. Although you might be tempted to invest in a shorter board as quickly as possible, it’s best to start with a bigger board and reduce the size as your ability progresses. Most beginners opt for foam surfboards, known as ‘foamies’, or ‘soft-tops’ because they’re much comfortable after spending a lot of time sitting on it. Also, make sure your surfboard is fitted with a nose guard to prevent impacts with the surfboard nose (the front edge).

A Surfboard Leash
Preventing you and your board from being separated, a leash is a surfing essential. Although it might feel strange and it will get in your way a few times, take time to get used to it as it is a must-have item.

A Traction Pad
A small pad that you can push against when popping up, traction pads, also known as surf pads, are helpful for beginners to control their board in the surf. Not a necessity as some surfboards already have these built-in.

Available in various shapes, colours and flavours depending on the water temperature you are surfing in, wax helps to give your board grip. Applied to the deck of the surfboard, if you’ve opted for a ‘foamie’ or a ‘soft-top’, you don’t need the worry about this.

Wherever you plan on surfing, some form of wetsuit should be considered. Helping you to surf for longer. If you plan on surfing in cold surf, invest in a winter wetsuit, gloves and wetsuit boots. Whatever option you take, make sure it is properly fitted, so the insulating characteristics work correctly.

Rash Guard
Consider wearing a rash guard to protect yourself against a rubber rash that you would otherwise get on your stomach and chest. Alternatively, wear a vest or t-shirt.

Best Surf Spots in Europe for Beginners

If you are going to successfully learn to surf, it is vital that you choose a suitable beach. It’s important to find a beach with small, good, steady waves so you can practice the technique before upgrading to a more difficult surf spot.

Below are just some of the amazing beginner surf spots Sea-Lifts offer transfers to:

Surf Safety and Etiquette

As a beginner, it’s important to understand the unwritten rules of surf and how to learn safely.

While all good surf schools will help you understand this, here are the essentials:

Surf Safety

  • Beginner surfers should never try and learn by themselves. Whilst you might think you can teach yourself the basics, it can be dangerous, and you risk injuring yourself and others. Instead, have lessons or get an experienced friend to show you the correct technique.
  • Never place your board between yourself and a coming wave. Ensure you stay 15 feet away from others to avoid any collision.
  • Don’t push your board through the water fin first. Made to keep your surfboard pointed correctly, i.e. nose first, pushing the board this way can be quite dangerous.

Surfing Etiquette

  • Surfing waves have a peak which can usually be found in the middle of the wave. The part of the wave that will break first, the surfer closest to this spot will have the best chance of catching the wave first and is awarded the wave by other interested surfers.
  • Never “drop-in” on another surfer, i.e. catching a wave that has been awarded to another surfer. Not only is this extremely dangerous, it can also be seen as disrespect to another surfer.
  • You should always check to see if there is another surfer on your inside before paddling for a wave. You must be 100% sure a surfer is done with a wave before catching it yourself.

Surfing Fitness

Surfing is a physically demanding sport and requires a certain level of fitness in order to be successful. Like most sports, the fitter you are, the easier you will find it and the longer you can stay in the water.

If you are planning a surfing holiday soon, try to add push-ups and burpees to your exercise regime which will help with paddling and pop-ups. Cross training, weight training, intense cardio and yoga are also great workouts for surfing.

Top Surf Tips for Beginners

Before You Get in The Water

  1. Research your surf school carefully and ensure they are experienced. Look for any accreditations and see if insurance is included in the price.
  2. Surfing is physically demanding so you are going to have to refuel. Make sure you have plenty of water on hand and some high energy snacks. If you’re surfing in winter, you may even want to bring a thermos to keep you warm.
  3. Get an understanding of the ocean environment before you try surfing. Whilst good surf schools will teach this, knowing what a rip is and understanding currents, tides and winds will help.
  4. Taking time to find out if you are goofy or natural footed is key to being successful. Whilst some people choose a foot instinctively, others are unsure which foot to put at the front of your surfboard. To test this, see which foot leads when you go down a set of stairs. Whichever foot is first should be placed at the front of your board. If you place your right foot at the front you’re goofy footed, left foot at the front and you’re natural footed.
  5. Once you’re ready to catch a wave, don’t rush into the water straight away. Take time to warm-up, check your equipment and watch the waves to see what others are doing.

In the water

  1. It might sound obvious but start small and build-up. Although you might feel like you have the ability to tackle larger waves, it can be very dangerous to upgrade if you’re not ready.
  2. Another tip that might be common sense to many is to pace yourself. Although you’ll be keen to get going, it’s important not to rush as this can lead to injury.
  3. Make sure you keep your distance from the more advanced surfers. As you’re just learning you will want plenty of space and want to avoid getting in other’s way.
  4. Take time to get comfortable sitting on your board in the water. Although very basic, it’s not the most natural of things.
  5. Paddling is key to surfing success so it is key that you keep practising. Find a rhythm and try to stick to that whilst thinking about your positioning. The best place is in the middle, as too forward and your nose will poke underwater, too far back and you will go too slow.
  6. If a breaking wave is ahead of you, you have two choices: Either duck under it or paddle over it. Whatever you choose, once the wave has broken, you need to stay perpendicular to the whitewater. If you don’t, you’re giving the surf more surface area to pull you under the water and drag you towards shore.
  7. Learn to place your hands correctly when popping up and avoiding holding onto the rails to prevent you from tipping over.
  8. When you catch a wave, make sure you bend your knees and not your back as it’s much easier to keep balance.
  9. Lastly, you need to be prepared to wipe out. Unfortunately, being knocked down by waves is part of learning how to surf and learning how to fall properly will help you stay safe in the water.

We hope this guide has inspired you to plan a surfing holiday and helped you take your surf skills to the next level.

Don’t forget, Sea-Lifts operates at all major European Surf Resorts and offers you the option to add a surfboard as luggage. Sea-Lifts will provide you reliable and hassle-free transfers from the airport to the surf resort. Get an instant quote and book online now!

Top 10 Surf Boards for 2018


A summertime favourite, surfing is becoming one of the most popular beach activities. Although not restricted to the warmer months, there is no denying that the rising temperatures make catching waves more enticing.

Whether you’re just starting to surf or a big-wave pro, everyone has to choose their surfboard. But which one do you choose?

With many factors to consider, choosing the right surfboard for you can be a difficult task. To help make choosing your new surfboard easier, we’ve created a guide for buying a new surfboard and shared our top 10 surfboards for 2018, whatever your ability.


1. The Essential Surf Board Buying Guide


As you’re surfing ability develops, your surfing needs change. Making alternations to the shape, size and weight of a board, companies tailor their designs to specific types of surfer.

Despite these changes, all surfers must consider the same factors when buying a surfboard:

1.1 Surfboard considerations

Surfboard Type & Size

One of the most important characteristics, surfers must decide what board size to buy. The size of the board varies depending on the person and will change as your skill level increases.

As a general guide:

  • Foam Board/ ‘Foamie’ Longboards
    Ideal for beginners learning how to surf, these boards are not suitable for catching bigger waves.
  • Longboards
    Heavier and bulkier than shortboards, longboards are a great alternative to a shortboard and allow you to surf bigger waves.
  • Mini-Mal Surfboards
    Smaller than a longboard, these are good for very small surfers or those who already have a good ability on longboards.
  • Fun Boards ‘Magic Carpets’
    Similar to mini-mals, these work best for wave faces that are knee high to overhead in height.
  • Performance Shortboards
    Fast and response, these boards are perfect for expert surfers.
  • Guns
    Faster and more stable than a shortboard, these are great for catching a powerful wave like those in Nazare or Zarautz. These are not suitable for beginners.


The rocker describes how curved a surfboard is from the nose to the tail.

Affecting both speed and turning, generally:

  • Small rockers are better for flat water and are faster than a large rocker.
  • Large rockers are better for higher waves and have a better turning ability than small rockers.


Rails describe the side of your board and come in various options which determine the width of the deck and the volume of the board.

  • Soft Rails are best for beginners. They also indicate the deck is flatter and the board has a high volume making it easier to paddle and turn.
  • Hard Rails are best for advanced surfers. They’re commonly seen on shorter boards that have less volume and cut into the water.


The main steering mechanism of the board, fins can be permanent or removable.

You can get different fin set-ups including single, tri and quads. Most have three, with two steering the board whilst the third dictates the direction.

Fins also vary in size, angle and flex.

We would advise beginners start with standard fins.


There are two types of board bags surfers can buy:

  • Day to day bags come in different thicknesses and are great for protecting your boards whilst being stored or travelling to the beach.
  • Travel bags are more durable than the day to day bags and are made for air travel or road trips.

Stomp Pad

The stomp pad, also known as the traction pad, helps surfers grip on the board and are great for beginners.

Varying in shape, the will improve your surfing ability and help you get more air on turns.


It is very important to have a leash that connects you and your board.

Some surfboards already come with this feature, which saves a lot of hassle.

There are different types of leash depending on your board:

  • If your board is between 6 feet and 6 feet 10 inches, you will need a 6-foot leash. For boards between 7 foot and 7 feet 10 inches, you will need a 7-inch leash.
  • Thickness varies depending on the waves you surf, but the most common is about ¼” thick. If you surf smaller waves and have a small board, 3/16″ is best, which a bigger board in bigger waves will require a 5/16″ leash.

1.2 Surfer considerations

Surfer Skill

Depending on your ability, you will need different amounts of stability.

Beginners should look at boards with a large volume, between 7 – 8-foot-long, 3 inches thick and a minimum of 22 inches wide. They should also consider soft top boards as they float much easier.


Surfboards that have a smaller surface area require a higher level of fitness. These boards tend to have better manoeuvrability and less drag.

Boards that have a larger surface area will experience an easier ride.

Height & Weight

You should consider your height and weight when buying a new board.

Heavier & Taller surfers require boards with a higher volume (represent in litres) which also increases the size of the board.

1.3 Surf Considerations

Wave Type

The type of wave you plan to surf should also be considered when deciding which board to choose.

Waves of different heights act very differently, just as surfing in different depths of water is.

Essentially this relies on your experience and the more you surf, the more knowledge you will have.

2. Top 10 Surf Boards 2018

2.1 Best Surf Boards for Beginners

Greco Surf 7ft Performance Soft Top Foamboard

Perfect in all conditions, the Greco Surf 7ft Performance Soft Top Foamboard offers plenty of versatility. Featuring an epoxy core and a fibreglass shell, the board has a rigid lightweight feel that is easy to manoeuvre in the water. It also comes with a 7-foot leash, so you won’t have the hassle of fitting one yourself.

Wavestorm 8 ft Soft Foam Construction Classic Surfboard

Ideal for beginners, the Wavestorm Soft Foam Construction Classic Surfboard has extra volume and length to make wipeouts a little kinder. Featuring a strong EPS core, the board has a traction pad and a removable ankle leash for added convenience.

Surftech “Friendly Fish” Foam Surfboard

Available in any length from 5 foot 6 inches to 10 foot, the Surftech “Friendly Fish” Foam Surfboard is one of the best selling surfboards on the market. Featuring soft board technology that has been perfected over the last 20 years, it is extremely durable and includes an ankle leash and removable fins.

Golf Coast 8ft 8inch Heritage Soft Top Surfboard

A great length for beginners, the Golf Coast 8-foot 8-inch Heritage Soft Top Surfboard will be appreciated by surfers of all levels. Featuring a round nose and rubber tipped tail, the sleek frame is easy to manoeuvre and catches waves smoothly.

2.2 Best Surf Boards for Intermediates

Channel Islands Mini Surfboard 5ft 3inch FCS II – White

One of the best boards on the market, Channel Islands Mini Surfboard 5ft 3 FCS II has an incredible feed. Featuring a small rocker and a five fin setup with a squash tail, it combines control with an outstanding paddle speed that is best enjoyed in knee to head high surf.

Raystreak 7ft 2inch Crocodile Groove Soft Surfboard Beach Ocean Surfing Body Foamie Board

With extra padding around the nose and tail, the Raystreak Crocodile Groove Soft Surfboard is long-wearing and perfect for advancing your surfing skills. Featuring a lightweight fibreglass core, the board has been reinforced with stringers and sealed with epoxy to ensure maximum durability.

Gold Coast 8ft Verve Surf Board

Combining stability with performance, the Gold Coast 8ft Verve Surf Board an ideal board for taking your surfing ability to the next level. Great in any conditions, the board is created through a Mold and Vacuum Sealed process to give it extra strength and durability. In addition, the tri-fin system will let you ride the Verve with multiple configurations.

2.3 Best Surf Boards for Experts

Surftech ThumbDrive HD-E Surfboard

Best suited for light riders or those who like a small board, the Surftech ThumbDrive HD-E Surfboard has one of the highest durability ratings. Featuring a lightweight EPS core and a five fin set up, this board is extremely thin and is easy to keep in a straight line on the waves.

BIC Sport ACE-TEC Surfboard

30% stronger than traditional surfboards, the BIC Sport ACE-TEC Surfboard has been designed to be a lightweight, durable and high-performing board. Featuring a three fin set up that enables you to ride any type of wave, the board comes in a range of sizes so everyone can enjoy it!

Boardworks 5ft 6inch Poly Mini Mod 2 Surfboard

A great option for those looking to make the most out of every ride, the Boardworks 5ft 6 inch Poly Mini Mod 2 Surfboard is one of the most versatile boards around. Featuring a wide tail to give you a large footprint, the board can reach top speeds in calm water. Fitted with a five box fin setup, it is easy to manoeuvre and gives the surfer ultimate control.

We hope this guide has helped you understand what to look for when buying a new surfboard and given you some inspiration for your new 2018 ride.

If you’re planning a surf holiday this year, get a quote for your surf-holiday transfer now! Sea-Lifts will transport you from the airport to top surf resorts with the option of adding your surfboard as luggage.

Sea-Lifts Guide to Surfing in Northern Spain

Whilst sun worshipers head automatically head to southern Spain, it’s the northern regions that have long been at the top of any keen surfer’s bucket list.

Featuring over 400 miles of Atlantic coastline, northern Spain is a surfer’s paradise, with the Basque country featuring 27 surf spots alone!  Littered with a variety of setups, there is a surf spot to suit everyone.

Whether you are looking for an introduction to surfing or thinking of ticking Spain off your surfing bucket list, read our guide to discover the world-class waves of northern Spain. 

Surfer in Spain

When to Surf in Spain

Enjoying a mild climate all year round, Spain is a great holiday destination whenever you decide to visit.

Although the surf in Spain is also great all year round, the surf conditions vary dramatically. Facing the Atlantic Ocean, some of Spain’s best surf spots experience contrasting conditions transforming the beaches from beginner-friendly to experts-only.

December to March

The coldest months of the year, temperatures average around 12 degrees Celsius. During this period, most of the surf camps and surf schools are closed and crowds are at a minimum. Waves are at their most aggressive between December to March, with the swell at its most powerful.

Water temperatures average around 12 degrees Celsius to 14 degrees Celsius so a winter wetsuit is advised, along with glove and booties depending on the surf spot visited and how cold you get.

June to September

Thanks to its mild climate, summers in northern Spain average between 20 degrees Celsius and 25 degrees Celsius. Thanks to the spectacular Picos do Europa mountain range, clouds are prevented from disappearing quickly, resulting in more rain than other regions.

Water temperatures average around 18 degrees in summer, letting you surf in just a light wetsuit or shorts.

Where to Surf in Spain

Surfboard on a Spanish beach


Known as one of Spain’s best surf spots and one the world’s top river mouth wavesMundaka is an iconic location that every surfer should visit. Lying within the UNESCO-protected Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, with a take-off point that overlooks an 11th Century church, Mundaka is internationally renowned and has featured on the World Tour, Capable of producing pristine barrelling lefts up to 12 ft tall, Mundaka can sometimes resemble a wave park so powerful are its waves. When it’s working, this surf spot should not be attempted by beginners, but it’s worth visiting just to watch the big wave riders.

Best For Intermediate to Expert Surfers.

When to Visit Between October to April. Summer tends to be mostly flat.

Best Around low tide when the tide is falling, with a swell angle from the northwest and wind direction from the south.

Surf Spots Nearby

  • Isla de Izaro
    An inconsistent reef break located 2km from Mundaka, Isla de Izaro is rarely crowded and offers right-handed waves.
  • Playa de Laida
    Located 2km away from Mundaka, Playa is an exposed river break that is best experienced during the summer.
  • Playa de Laga
    Playa de Laga is an exposed beach break that provides both lefts and rights and is located 3km away from Mundaka.
  • Guibeleco
    A fairly consistent point break, Guibelco is located 4km from Mundaka and works all year round.
  • Bakio
    A reliable beach break that can work at any time of the year, Bakio is located 8km from Mundaka and tends to be crowded when the surf is good.

Getting there Transfers from Bilbao Airport to Mundaka take approximately 30 minutes.

San Sebastian

One of the top culinary cities of Europe, San Sebastian is a city surfing destination that is perfect for those who want to have as much fun on land as they do in the sea. Surrounded by La Concha and La Zurriola, the destination is ideal for beginners and intermediates, and thanks to the flow of the Bay of Biscay, the water stays warm throughout the summer. Surrounded by the impressive Monte Ijeldo and Monte Urgull mountains, it’s the perfect place to learn how to surf.

Best For City Surfing

When to Visit September to March

Surf Spots Nearby 

  • Playa de Gros (La Zurriola)
    An exposed beach breach that works all year round, La Zurriola offers both left and right-hand waves.
  • La Concha
    Located 2km from San Sebastian, La Concha is somewhat of an inconsistent beach break that is often crowded.
  • Playa de Ondarreta
    An inconsistent point break located 4km from San Sebastian, Playa de Ondarreta is best experienced during the winter months and is likely to be crowded if working.
  • Orio
    Playa de Ondarreta is an exposed beach/jetty/rivermouth break that is located 8km from San Sebastian and is best experienced during the autumn months.

Getting there Transfers from Biarritz Airport to San Sebastian take approximately 45 minutes.


Featuring a 3km long beach that runs parallel to the boardwalk, Zarautz is a hugely popular surf spot that caters to all abilities. Host to a World Championship event each September, it features amazing breaks and numerous peaks. Although it can get crowded and competitive, it’ needs hardly any swell to work, helping it produce consistent surf all year round. In addition to great surf, the beach has fantastic facilities such as surf schools, showers and lifeguards, helping to establish it as one of the best places to surf in Spain.

Best For everyone!

When to Visit October to April

Surf Spots Nearby 

  • Zarautz
    An exposed beach break with very reliable surf, Zarautz is best during the summer months.
  • Karramarro
    Located 2km away from Zarautz, Karramarro is an inconsistent exposed point break that produces a left-hand point break.
  • Orio
    Orio is an exposed beach/jetty/rivermouth break that is best experienced during autumn and located 4km away from Zarautz.
  • Play de Gaztetape
    An exposed beach break, Playa de Gaztetape is 4km away from Zarautz and produces both lefts and rights.
  • Orrua
    Located 5km away from Zarautz, Orrua is an exposed reef break that is best during autumn and winter.

Getting there Transfers from Biarritz Airport to Zarautz take approximately 55 minutes.

We hope this guide has inspired you to visit northern Spain for your next surf holiday!

If you are planning a trip to northern Spain, get an instant quote from your transfers from Biarritz Airport and Bilbao Airport to the surf resort and have the option of adding your surfboard as an item of luggage!