recognizing a good surfcamp

How do I recognize a good surfcamp?

You want to learn to surf, are looking for a good surfcamp and ask yourself, how to recognize a good surfcamp? Today we will give you some tips and show you certain things, which will help you identifying a good surfcamp.

Why do you need a good surfcamp after all? Can I not teach myself how to surf? Surfing is a great sport, but it comes with some risks and dangers, that you might face very fast as a beginner when surfing by yourself. If you want to get beaten up by the ocean, then go ahead. If not, it’s wise to choose a good surfcamp where you can learn and train surfing in a safe environment and with lots of fun.

So you decided to learn to surf in a surfcamp instead of teaching it to yourself – well done! We will explain you now the most important aspects, that you should look out for. If it is the first time that you get in touch with surfing, don’t rush yourself in your research and when choosing a good surfcamp. Your first experiences of surfing will decide whether surfing is a sport for you and you catch fire, or if you decide to quit surfing because you are frustrated. Make up your mind about what is important to you and what you want to keep in mind when making a choice. There are surf camps that have their own surf school and others who cooperate with external surf schools. Rest asured, that a surf camp with its own surf school makes sure that it offers high quality in all areas. Including staff but also equipment, accommodation, cleanliness etc.

How to recognize a good surfcamp – Table of Contents

The surf coach – student ratio

gutes surfcamp Surflehrer-Surfschueler-Verhaeltnis

To form a good base for personal and individual surf lessons a good ration between surfcoach and surf students is important. Private Coachings are usually the most expensive option with the most intensive care. We think that this intense form of surf coaching is not extremely necessary at the beginning of your surf career. But the better you get and the more you improve the more important is the offer of private coaching in a good surf camp.

A good surf camp works with one surf coach for a maximum of 6 surf students. Like that the surf coach can keep an eye on all the students and can cater to them individually.

Training of the surf coaches – Life guards and First Aid


All surf coaches should have received a professional and well-founded training. The aspect of training should also include the fact that the surf instructors are trained lifeguards and have current first aid certificates. Many surf camps advertise, that their surf coaches have received the training of ISA (International Surf Association). This training sometimes only takes a week. Whether you think that is intense, is up to you.

Besides the ISA certificate are training courses by the German Surfing Association or by other federal organizations such as the Spanish, Frensh, Portugese or Canarian Surfing Association. The training courses of these associations take more than just a week and are quite intense. Many topics such as didactics, anatomy etc. are covered as well. All surf coaches who received a certificate by one of these association have to prove a certain level of surfing. When choosing a surfcamp keep the training of the surf coaches in mind and maybe ask about their certificate. 

Good lesson plans & strategies


Just as important is a good lesson strategy of the surf classes. In a good surfcamp it is already explained on their website what you can expect from their surf lesson. The duration of one surf session and what content awaits you there. Make sure that you receive a suitable introduction via surf theory as well as warm-up exercises and exercises on land. Light, dynamic stretching prevents strains and with take-off training on the beach, the movement sequence can be better internalized.

A good surf lesson also includes an appropriate briefing at the surf spot, sufficient water time with individual tips and feedback from the surf coaches and final feedback on the surf lesson. The surf class units should build on each other. The coaches should introduce you to surfing step by step, starting with board control, the correct position on the board, paddling and take-off, everything should be included on the first day. A good surf school will also combine theory sessions with practical sessions to prepare you for independent surfing.

Surf theory, introduction to surfing and focus on safety

surftheory an ideal surfschoole

“Oh no, we’re not in school here, do we have to?” Yes, surf theory is of course not as cool as riding the waves, but it creates an important foundation. It teaches important topics such as safety, weather and wave knowledge, swell development, equipment knowledge, surf etiquette and reading the wave forecast. The more you learn here, the easier it will be when you go surfing on your own later on. If you have the feeling that the theory is just boring you, then just think about whether you would know how to behave if you were pulled out to sea by a current, for example, or how you would read the wave forecast for the next day at your surfing destination. Sometimes it’s good to get some more input on certain topics and you’re definitely never too old to learn something new. So, make sure that your good surf camp offers appropriate theory sessions and that special emphasis is placed on safety.

A good surfcamp focusses on safety

authentic presentation of the surfconditions

Safety is the be-all and end-all when surfing. It is important that you know how to fall correctly and that you are taught how to protect your head. When you get whirled underwater for the first time, there are a few tips on how to stay calm and keep your bearings. A good surf camp will explain emergency numbers, what you should and shouldn’t do before and after surfing, what signs the surf instructors will use to communicate with you in the water, what to watch out for on the beach and many other little things. The more the topic of safety is addressed during your first week and in advance on the surf camp website, the safer you will feel during your surf lessons.

Surf lessons for different target groups & levels


An important point for you should be which target and age group the most suitable surf camp for you has. There are many camps in France, for example, where the age group is well under 25 and the focus is more on partying and having fun. Then there are camps that have a mixed age structure – where families also learn to surf and there is a colorful mix – or surf camps that focus on the over-30 age group, for example. Depending on what you want and are looking for, whether you want to focus on nature and relaxation or city trips, excursions and partying, you should choose your surf camp. There are so many different surf camps with different focus groups, such as

  • Surf camps for students
  • Surf camps for girls and women
  • Surf camps for families or surf camps for solo travelers
  • Surf camps for over 30s or surf camps for adults
  • Surf camps for children or surf camps for teenagers

Choose a good surf camp from the many offers under your focus group and then check the categories just mentioned.

Good choice of material – well-maintained surfboards of various sizes, wetsuits

surfboards and good material

A good surfcamp offers you an extensive selection of surf equipment (surfboards, funboards, shortboards, softboards, wetsuits etc.). Even more important than a big selection is that the boards are well-maintained and of good quality. The boards should not be repaired too often, as they become quite heavy and hard to handle if they have drawn water too often. A good surfcamp takes care of his equipment and provides you with softboards for the beginner lessons. Softboards might not look as cool as the shorter surfboards but are much better suited to learning to surf since they are very stable in the water. And due to the softer surface and rubber fins, softboards also significantly reduce the risk of injury. You should also make sure, that the offered Wetsuits are disinfected. In a good surfcamp den Wetsuits are washed and disinfected after every surf session. To do so, it is best to use a biodegradable body shampoo with a PH value of zero.

Flexibility of the surf school regarding surf spots and tides


A good surfcamp varies the times of the surf lessons. If the lessons are offered every day at the same time at the same spot, something is definitely not right. A good surfcamp looks every day for the best spot and the best tide according to the surf level of the surf students. It is important that the conditions and the tides are considered when planning the surf lessons. There are many factors that affect the quality of the surf. These include the wind and swell direction, height of waves, direction of the surf spots, quality of reefs and sandbanks at the surf spot as well as the tides and the period of the waves. Flexibility is the hallmark of a good surfcamp! There is no surf spot in the world where you have every day at the same time the same conditions to learn to surf.

Individual feedback, Tipps, Photo and Video Coaching

video and oto coaching

Make sure, that the surf coaches give individual feedback. Surf coaches should get you out of the water at least five times per surf lesson and work on your technique alone with you and only give you certain tips so that you can develop individually. If photo or video analysis are offered on site (without paying extra) this is a particular plus point of a good surf camp with a correspondingly professional surf course concept. Unfortunately, the illusions are quickly dispelled here, but you get great feedback on your progress and can often implement everything better when you see yourself in a static or dynamic image. Another advantage is that you can take the photos and videos home as a memory. The better you surf, the better and more important becomes a video analysis. With this tool you can improve your learning exponentially. You will learn faster, where you have to position yourself in the water and what you could improve in your next session. Don’t expect too much of yourself – because in the beginning it feels really weird to see yourself surfing on videos or photos. But the learning effect justifies this feeling and the better you get, the less the strange feeling will be and the prouder you will be of your progress.

Honest Feedback without holding back

waveriding fuerteventura

As we already mentioned, individual feedback is super important. It is okay if surf coaches tell the truth without wrapping it up super nicely. Nothing will push you more than direct and honest communication. “Your surfboard is too small!”, “Maybe you should go back to the beginner lesson and practice for a day at the beach!”, “Rather take a bigger surfboard!”, “Have you heard of surfers etiquette?”, “You don’t paddle enough, what’s going on?”

Statements like these can hurt, but they carry the truth at their core and you should hear it. Surfers like to overestimate themselves and their skills and talk about 2-meter-waves while it was only half from the eyes of an experienced surfer. Push your pride to the side and go back to the beginner lesson, the surf coach will have thought of something when suggesting it. Maybe it’s because he can cater to you better on the beach than on the line-up and take more time to work on your individual skills. And another tip: if you want to know something and are honestly interested in certain aspects of surfing, ask. Every surf coach is happy about a serious interest in surfing.

Further training and training opportunities on land

gutes surfcamp woran du es erkennst

 A good surfcamp offers you beside surfing other training opportunities on land. This can be Crossfit, but also Yoga. If Funtional Training or Dry Surf Training is offered, this raises the level of a good surfcamp to very good. Carver or Surfskate classes are also another great opportunity to improve your surfing skills on land and work on your mistakes.

Alternatives to surfing – Excursions, day trips and events

gutes surfcamp - ausfluege und angebote

Surfing depends 100% on nature. If nature doesn’t “cooperate” or does as it please, it can happen that there is a day without any waves or even too big waves, which makes it impossible to do the surf class. A good surfcamp offers you alternatives for such a case. This could be additional surf theory classes, Yoga, excursions to shaper workshops, DrySurf, Surfskating, paddle training, etc. which is offered instead of the actual surf lesson.

Good surfcamp on Instagram, Facebook & Co – Social Media Presence


A good surfcamp can be found on social media and gives you a good impression into the daily life of the surf lessons and camp live. You receive an individual, daily and more private insight into the world of the surfcamp. Maybe you find blog articles, photos from guests and reviews, that can reinforce your image or put you off.

Service and customer service – focus should always be on the guest


You will recognize a good surf camp by the speed of the reply and whether the email was formulated personally. Contact your chosen surf camp and see, whether you receive an individual answer, catering to you and your wishes and if you receive additional information. A good surfcamp already answers many questions on their website. Many have a FAQ-page or have answered potential questions on their pages. In a good surfcamp the focus is always on you individually and you should never feel as one of many others.

Official licenses, insurances and awards

gutes surfcamp erkennen - versicherungen

A good surfcamp is officially verified, has all the necessary insurances and an official address. A good surfcamp doesn’t work from home or from a garage but receives its guests in an office with theory area. If a surfcamp is officially verified, it will advertise this on its website, because this is an absolute must and criteria of quality.

If a surfcamp is especially mentioned on Tripadvisor, Holidaycheck, Facebook groups or other platforms, you will find reviews quickly online. Just ask google for reviews, feedback or hints to your chosen surfcamp. You will probably find information really quick on various websites.

Organisation of arrival and departure & help whenever needed


A good surfcamp offers you various possibilities for your arrival. Amongst these should be a shuttle service from and to the airport which is either personally organized or through a partner organization. You should receive recommendations for car rental agencies, and prices and schedules for an arrival via bus, taxi or other offers.

Which kind of accommodation offers a good surfcamp?

bedroom n1 beachhouse

How would you like to stay? Which standard are you looking for? Would you rather stay in a tent or in an apartment? What options of accommodation offers a good surfcamp? The offers can range from a bed in a dorm to a single room or a whole apartment or studio for yourself. Maybe various standards are offered. There can be a hostel as well as a hotel included in the offer. A Surfvilla, a Surfhouse or a shared apartment. You have many opportunities and can choose in good surfcamp from a variety of accommodations. 

Balanced and healthy food in a good surfcamp

gutes surfcamp erkennen gesundes essen

A good surfcamp, offers you different options regarding the catering.

Make sure, that the food is rich, varied, of high quality and healthy. There should be food available for vegetarians and vegans. Allergies should be taken into account aswell. A good surfcamp offers a variety of food. Many surfcamps don’t offer dinner but instead a lot of information on restaurants close-by or organize dinner evenings or BBQs for the guests. Smaller events like this are always a good sign, that it is a good surfcamp.

And now, how do you find a good surfcamp or a good surf school?


Whether you prefer a good surf school or a good surfcamp completely depends on you. In a surfcamp everything is already organized and taken care of. If you only choose a surf school you have to take care of a suitable accommodation by yourself.

In a surfcamp you will probably get to know other people faster and more intense, since you live, eat and surf together. If you choose a surf lesson, you can organize your day as you wish. A good surfcamp, will let you make your own choices and offers you room for individual development. “Everything can – nothing must” should be the credo of a good surfcamp. 

When looking for a suitable surfcamp online, you can get cramps in your fingers from all the googling. Its easier with tips and hints as well as recommendations from friends, families, facebook groups or for example tripadvisor. But this shouldn’t be de deciding factor. Check the website of the surfcamp, ask for certain things that are important to you and listen to your butt. In the end you will only find out on-site if you made the right decision. Maybe some of your expectations won’t be fulfilled while others are exceeded.

Be open for new things, be ready to get involved in the camp life and give the other surfers a chance to get to know you. Don’t hide in your shell, but get out of your comfort zone. A smile usually does the trick! If you miss something or have the feeling that some promise is not kept, ask for it directly and give the surf camp a chance to find a solution while you are there. Every host and every good surfcamp is interested in having happy and satisfied guests who go home and tell everyone about their amazing surf trip.