learning to surf at an older age


If you are over 50 and considering learning to surf, you might be concerned that you’re too late to the game.

The fact that you will struggle to master the necessary skills, that you will appear foolish, and that all of the other younger, fitter surfers would laugh at your inexperience and slowness and ignore you, are all reasonable concerns.

This, however, is not the case.

surfing green waves


Is it possible to learn to surf at the age of 50? Or Older?
Yes, as long as you have a reasonable level of physical fitness and flexibility. Learning to surf is primarily a matter of persistence, so if you’re ready to keep trying, you can learn to surf at that age.

Consider signing up for a beginner’s surf lesson, getting in shape, improving your swimming skills, selecting the perfect surfboard, and avoiding comparing yourself to others if you’re over 50 and want to learn to surf. You’ll be out there enjoying those waves before you know it!

Surfing has no age restrictions, and it’s never too late to start (even if you’re past 50!)


  • Keep in shape,
  • Improve your mood,
  • Push yourself,
  • Feel younger for longer.
  • Meet new people

This comprehensive guide will help you learn to surf at 50. It has been compiled to answer your questions and provide support along the process. I’ll go over some of the advantages of this enjoyable outdoor activity and provide a step-by-step tutorial to get you started.

Tips on how to learn to surf aged  50 years or older.

learn to surf at 50


Surfing is physically hard at any age, but especially so as you become older.

You’ll need to use your entire body to manage your weight as you paddle out, pop up on your board, and ride those waves. You’ll also be out for extended periods, so you’ll need plenty of stamina to be safe.

As a result, you should begin by increasing your physical activity and improving your fitness. The more physically fit you are, the easier it will be to learn to surf.

To be clear, you don’t need to be in marathon shape when you’re initially learning, but every little bit helps. Here are some suggestions:

Improve your cardiovascular fitness. Take long walks, begin running, ride your bike, or even run around with your children.

Put a premium on functional strength. If you want to keep control, you’ll need good core strength and good arm power for paddling.

Keep in mind to stretch. Stretching, flexibility, and balance should be part of your daily routine to avoid injury and improve your surfing skills.

Most of these surfing workouts may be done from the convenience of your own home. Simply go to YouTube, and you’ll find a plethora of online workouts that will help you get in shape quickly.
Read this article on surf fitness to get started.


While you can certainly teach yourself to surf, it’s so much easier and progress a lot quicker when you use the help of a local surf school or surf camp.

For beginners aged 50 and up, these can be invaluable because they give you confidence in your developing talents while also assisting you in improving your technique. You’ll also learn the proper surf ethics and gain a deeper understanding of the water.



If you don’t know how to swim, turn off your computer right now and enrol in some swimming classes. Seriously! If you’re not a great swimmer, there’s no way you’ll be able to stay safe in the ocean.

It is essential to keep in mind that the water is a massive force.

Because waves and currents can be powerful, and sea conditions can change in the blink of an eye, putting you in danger, knowing how to swim is essential. You must be capable enough to look after yourself and get to safety.

Because you’ll be starting in relatively shallow water, you don’t need to be a particularly great swimmer to begin. It is, nevertheless, necessary if you wish to proceed beyond the beginning stage.

Swimming in the ocean as much as possible will help you become a better swimmer. This will provide more authentic conditions than simply going to your local pool, and it will give you more confidence in ‘wild swimming.’

learn to surf at an older age


When you first begin, make sure you select the appropriate surfboard for a beginner like yourself.

Look for longer, thicker, and wider boards because they provide the most stability and make learning easier. Surfing beyond 40 or 50 is best learned on larger boards like 9 feet + beginner soft top surfboards. More info on beginner surfboards is detailed in this article. 

Avoid smaller boards as much as possible; they are more difficult to manage and can lower your confidence when you first begin. Your local surf shop can assist you in determining the suitable size and shape of a surfboard for your needs and abilities.


I know it is easy to say so rather than act, but you must avoid comparing your surfing abilities to others.

So, what if you’re in a group surf session and someone in your class can show there in 5 minutes, but you’re still having trouble an hour later? Maybe he or she has already learned to surf and is just brushing up on their skills. Perhaps they’re naturally sporty, whereas you’ve spent the last few years lazing on the couch.

Everyone is on their own individual path.

If you want to feel proud of yourself instead of comparing yourself to others, remember that you came up and took the risk of learning to surf at a time when many others would not.

Concentrate on your own game, be proud of your drive and dedication, and work hard to reap the rewards.

If you haven’t already, take benefit of the opportunity to learn to surf. You’ll notice a variety of mental and physical health benefits as soon as you begin.

What are the advantages of learning to surf at the age of 50+?

Learning to surf will change your life for the better, especially if you are over 50 years old. Check out below a few of the reasons behind this:

1. Surfing is a terrific way to stay in shape while having a good time and no more sweating it out for hours on machines in a dark, dingy gym! You’ll be outside, feeling the rush, inhaling in the fresh air while also getting in shape. Awesome.

2. Surfing is a fantastic cardio workout. All of that paddling, popping up, and riding will get your blood pumping, your heart pumping, and your body in terrific form.

surfing holiday

3. Surfing is a fantastic chance to meet new people. When you’re over 50, it’s more difficult to expand your social group. On the other hand, Surfing makes you part of a close-knit group that will keep an eye on you and is there for you when you need it.

4. Surfing aids in the prevention of aches and pains. You will become stronger overall, your joints will become less achy, and you will become more flexible if you engage in regular exercise such as surfing. If you have to sit at your desk all day or have been groaning as you stand up recently, this is the perfect remedy!

5. Surfing is excellent for improving your coordination. When you learn to surf, you’ll notice a significant improvement in your motor skills. If you participate in other sports, this will pay off handsomely and help you age more gracefully.

6. Surfing is a fantastic way to improve your mood. All of that natural daylight exposure, fresh air, exercise, and community spirit will get your endorphins flowing, raise your mood, and, according to some studies, may even help to alleviate your depression and stress.

Don’t let your age stop you from learning to surf. The average age of clients at Swell on a learn to surf holiday is 38. This means we get plenty of people in their 50’s and 60’s that join us.

Want an example:

Clare, one of the owners of Swell Surf Camp was never very interested in learning to surf, then at 52 decided it was time to get in the water and learn surfing. Now she goes for a surf with her surf friends whenever she has a chance. This is Clare 3 years after  her first surf sessions, aged 56 (see the smile on her face)

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for surf lessons at your local surf beach, or join us in the warm and mellow waves of the Dominican Republic for a life-changing surf holiday


Teaching people the sport of surfing in a safe, quick and fun way is what we specialise in at Swell Surf Camp. We have taught 1000’s people the basics of surfing.


Swell offers full surf packages holidays

Interested in changing your life to see the health benefits of learning to surf?


dr learn to surf holiday

Send us a message today and we’ll get you up and riding!

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surfing unbroken waves



Learn how to discover, catch, and stay on unbroken “green” waves by positioning yourself correctly in the line-up.

surfing green waves


This article will provide you with a basic understanding of better position yourself to catch green waves. It covers the fundamentals of paddling into an unbroken wave and “sticking” on these “green waves” without nose-diving, passing over the wave, or becoming caught on top of it.

Keep in mind that this is one of the most difficult skills to master as a beginner surfer. Nothing can ever take the place of practice. The longer time you spend in the water and the more waves you attempt to catch, the better.

The theory presented in this article will supplement your practice and, in most cases, will speed up your progress and save you a lot of time and frustration.


Positioning & where to sit

How to locate and position yourself to catch a long green wave:
1. Recognize the various stages of a wave

stages of surfing waves

It is only a bump in the road. At this point, catching this wave is impossible. This lump is merely a forewarning that a wave is on its way.

This is the place to look for a “green wave.” This waveform is great for paddling because it is unbroken and has the right strength and steepness. You can’t catch at phase 1  because it isn’t steep enough, and phase 3 is too vertical for you to take off. ( better surfers with shortboards can take off here)

The peak of the wave has arrived. On the flat water, the lip is already beginning to crash down. The wave is too big and steep to catch at this point, especially for inexperienced surfers.

The wave has broken and has turned into a whitewater wave.

Real-world example of the different phases of waves

where to surf


Prepare for a Green Wave by putting yourself in the right place.

Sit around 4 to 5 meters (15 feet) away from the majority of the waves.


The reason for this is that if you are waiting at a specific location where a large number of waves are breaking, the moment you turn around and paddle for a wave, you will either be catching a white water wave that has already broken, or you will be getting the wave crashing on top of you.

take off surfing



A good spot to take off, not too mellow / not too steep.

What is the status of the more experienced surfers? They probably know more about where to sit in line than you do.

This does not imply that you should sit next to them and wait for their waves. It’s merely a guide to help you figure out how far out you should paddle.
Where to sit is also variable on a couple of different aspects:

  • The paddle fitness of the surf (how fast can he/she paddle)
  • What kind of board the surfer is riding (longboards can catch ‘flatter’ waves more easily than shortboards.

Beginner surfers are frequently found sitting much further out from the wave than more experienced surfers. This doesn’t make much sense; either the waves aren’t breaking as far out that day, or they aren’t breaking at all.

In other words, if you see waves breaking a long distance away from where the expert surfers are sitting, this indicates that it is an “unusual” and larger set of waves (which you most likely do not want to catch as a beginner surfer!).

Look for lumps on the horizon. A “phase 1” wave that will transition into a “phase  2” wave roughly 3 to 5 meters behind you is what you’re searching for.
Choose a wave, turn around, and paddle for at least 8 hard strokes. You should paddle hard enough to keep up with the wave’s pace as it transitions from “Phase 1” to “phase 2.”


When paddling for a wave, look behind your shoulder. Taking a couple of glances behind you is the only way to determine whether you need to paddle more, paddle less, or even stop paddling for a short period, depending on the shape of the wave.

It also prevents you from “dropping in” on individuals (for further information on what this means, see “Surf Ethics”). If you glance behind you, you’ll be able to tell if the wave was too steep (phase 3), too weak (phase 1), or just right (phase 2), and hence why you failed or succeeded in catching an unbroken wave.

Many inexperienced surfers fail to look back at the wave and end up paddling incorrectly. They either get smashed by the wave or catch a white water wave. Without looking back and understanding what happened, you will never be able to learn from your mistakes.

surfing unbroken waves

It will be easier to catch unbroken waves if you have a larger board.

Paddling fast enough to match the speed of a wave is the key to catching “green waves.” You will spring up and surf faster if you can “capture the momentum” of the wave. Green waves are easier to catch on big boards than on small boards because they paddle faster.

Because they move around a lot, better surfers catch more waves. If you notice a lump in the horizon, consider whether it is a larger wave that will break further out to sea or a smaller wave that will break closer to shore.

It will get easier to paddle around and position yourself to catch unbroken waves the more experience you gain in reading waves. The more proactive you are, the more likely you will be to catch waves. See “How to Read Waves” for additional information on wave reading.

Catch and “Stick” on a wave that isn’t broken.
White water waves differ from unbroken waves in the following ways:

The force of a whitewater wave pushes you forward. You might catch whitewater waves during your first sessions when you first start surfing. Because the momentum of the broken white water wave drives you forward, white water waves are very easy to catch.

Most whitewater waves may be caught without even paddling.

surfing green waves

Gravity is the force that creates an unbroken “Green” water wave. The first thing you need to know about catching and “sticking” on green waves is that the white water does not “push” you ahead. Gravity is the force that allows you to enter the wave. You must imagine yourself paddling down a moving “slope.”

How to “stick” to the unbroken wave without getting swept away?
Long, forceful, and deep strokes should be used when paddling. This is especially critical when catching waves that aren’t broken.

When paddling, you must give everything you have, especially when you feel your surfboard’s tail rise: this is a crucial moment to “Stick” on it.

The way you stand on your surfboard is crucial. As we saw in the How to Paddle on a surfboard article, excellent paddling technique is achieved through precise paddle strokes and optimal body placement on the surfboard.

When your chest is exactly centred on the width of the surfboard, and you are at the correct height, you are in the correct position on the surfboard. Place your body high enough on the board so that the nose is about 3-6 centimetres (1-2 inches) out of the water while keeping your head up (imagining a soccer ball between your chin and the surfboard).

surfing unbroken waves

Your head and upper shoulders are likely to weigh 45 pounds (20 kilograms) or more! Consider how much of a difference it makes when you drop your head and bring it closer to the surfboard when you’re pulled up on a wave. This allows you to catch, stick, and descend the “slope” that is moving forward.

Many kids become accustomed to being pushed into unbroken waves by their trainers, which is beneficial for practice. When you’re pushed, however, you don’t have to lower your head to put weight on the front of your surfboard. If you’re disappointed because it’s difficult to catch green waves without the help of a surf coach, remember that shifting your weight towards the surfboard is the key to catching unbroken waves on your own.

It would help if you popped up at around 2/3 of the height of the wave. Once you feel your tail lift and you believe you have gained enough speed to continue gliding with the wave, give two final paddle strokes, place your hands on the board beside your pectoral muscles, curve your back, and jump!



Teaching people the sport of surfing in a safe, quick and fun way is what we specialise in at Swell Surf Camp. We have taught 1000’s of people the basics of surfing.


The Caribbean: On the North Coast of the Dominican Republic

surf hotel

Swell offers full surf packages holidays

Interested in changing your life to see the health benefits of learning to surf?


dr learn to surf holiday

Send us a message today and we’ll get you up and riding!

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surfing retreat



learn surfing older age


Surfing is an incredibly demanding sport for both body and mind. Not only are you pushing yourself physically, but you have to concentrate and focus on reading the ocean at all times to catch the best waves. That’s why being in the know about surf-specific fitness can make all the difference between getting out the back nice and easy, or getting a big set on your head, rag-dolling all the way back to shore. With this surf blog, we hope to give you the tips that bring you that little bit closer to being physically fit to ace your next surf session.


This guide is aimed towards beginner surfers, weekend warriors and those whose sessions are few and far between. When learning to surf, the first few times when you come out of the water after a surf, you might not even be able to get your suit off because your arms are jelly from all the paddling. Sheer exhaustion, we’ve all been there!

If you’re planning a surf holiday or surf camp stay this summer, this article gives you the tools to physically prepare for it. We’ll talk about the main muscles used in the different actions and movements of surfing and explain how to train and stretch them for better surfing performance.

Fitness The Basics: Paddle, Pop-Up, Body Position

There are three main stages in the process of catching a wave. First is the paddle, an explosive movement with the arms. Next is the pop-up, using the upper body to lift ourselves enough to bring the legs into our stance position. And finally, once we are on the wave we use our legs, core and upper body to stabilise and create momentum on the wave-face (pumping) and to perform maneuvers.
Which Muscles Do We Use When Surfing?

It’s pretty safe to say that you use most of the muscles in your body when you surf, some more than others and some in different ways. The main muscle group we use when paddling is the upper back ones. This provides us with the power needed to accelerate up to a similar speed of the wave itself. It is usually only a few strokes on each arm before popping up. In other words, it is a strength and power move, which we can train to its fullest potential. Our shoulders are also used in the rotary motion of the move but generally only start to burn after a long paddle out, so endurance is the main factor for this set of muscles. The triceps get a good workout with duck diving and with the pop-up, as do the chest muscles. Again, the pop up is an explosive move so we can train our muscles to perform this more effectively. And finally, when we’re up and riding on the wave face, we use the core (in all planes) and legs for stabilisation and movement. 

Training for surf fitness
Training to go on holiday… Really? Every season, we hear a few guests say something like: “I wish I came on this trip in better shape.”

The amount of preparation you want to do is up to you and depends on your current fitness level and your objectives for the surf retreat. We often have guests that really look forward to either progress their technique or surf 3 or 4 hours every day since they don’t have access to quality waves back home. Here are a few tips if you feel your fitness level could limit you on your next trip.

Surfing &/or Swimming
The best way to be physically ready for a surf trip is… to surf! Even though you run, ride a bike, go to the gym weekly, etc. You might not be training your body in the most effective way to prepare for a surf trip. A significant part of surfing is paddling. Even if the waves at home aren’t great, just getting out there for a paddle will train the muscles needed for paddling. Don’t have waves at home? See the paragraph below on swimming.

If you can’t surf at home, the second-best option is to go swimming at your local pool. In the last 4 to 6 weeks before your surf trip, try swimming at least twice per week. Don’t worry about your swimming speed. Try to find your rhythm and do laps for a total of 20 minutes or more if you can (stop between laps when needed). Very important: use the “freestyle” technique (also known as the “front crawl”).

Stretching &/or Yoga
Mobility is essential for surfing, for both performance and to limit the risk of injuries. Stretching poses that focus on your back, shoulders, arms, hamstrings and hips are often the most recommended. Guests over 40 often struggle with their pop-ups if their hips are too tight. Core strength is key for surfing and yoga can be a great way to build it, although it is not always for everyone.

The more you feel that you can move freely, the better. Especially for your hips (for pop-ups) and shoulders (for paddling).

Training & Cardio
Sit-ups, squats, burpees, push-ups… Those are basic exercises that will build core, shoulder, arm and leg strength and endurance. Training these muscles will help you catch more waves and surf for longer sessions. Every guest has their own fitness level and body type. You or a fitness coach that knows you personally will know what exercises you need to focus on most, how many sets, reps and rest suit you, etc. For cardio, you could consider going for a run or a bike ride.

According to the HHS, adults should aim to get 150 minutes to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity a week. If you do not reach these targets, it would be a good idea to try to start training at least 4 weeks before your trip. The more significant improvement in strength or endurance you are looking for, the more time you will need (sometimes 12 weeks or more are preferable).

More ideas for training on our Magazine:

Eating healthy is obviously important and complementary to exercising if you either want to feel energized, lose fat or build muscle before your trip.

It’s about finding balance…
Surfing is a sport that requires both a good amount of strength and mobility. For example when you paddle hard to catch a wave or when you push up to pop up, you need shoulder and arm strength. You also need fluidity to be able to slide your legs under your chest during pop up, when you twist your body during carves, etc. It’s a good idea to aim for balance. If, for example, you go to the gym often and feel that you are quite strong but not very flexible, focus on mobility exercises. If you think you are already quite flexible, focus on strength conditioning.


Teaching people the sport of surfing in a safe, quick and fun way is what we specialise in at Swell Surf Camp. We have taught 1000’s of people the basics of surfing.

Age? Well the average age of a Swell client is 39

Swell offer 2 exciting places for learn to surf holidays:

The Caribbean: On the North coast of the Dominican Republic

surf hotel

Interested in changing your life to see the health benefits of learning to surf?

learn to surf holiday

Send us a message today and we’ll get you up and riding…regardless of your age!

Our luxury surf coaching holidays have taught 1000’s of people the sport of surfing in a safe, fun and quick way.

If you like this article about learning to surf after 40 you might also like the following articles.

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Learning to surf after 40



The title of this post reads ‘learning to surf after 40’ but could easily read ‘learning to surfer after 50, 60 and upward’

learn surfing older age


‘Surfing? But you’re 42 years old’ – even if nobody actually says this, it’s something that plagues the mind when looking at activities synonymous with a younger crowd. If you think surfing is only suitable for young, athletic types, think again because plenty of people start in their 30s, 40s, and even beyond.

For us, we completely agree and believe you should be able to start surfing at any age if it’s what you really want to do. Who cares about the number tied to your name? If you feel as though you can do it, why not give it a go? Even if you aren’t quite as flexible as you were many years ago, this shouldn’t ever stop you from enjoying the ocean and reaping the many health benefits surfing can bring.

Today, we want to provide anyone interested with an introduction to surfing and why you can start at any age. As a sport with no physical contact, unlike football and rugby, it’s actually suited towards those who want to prevent impact injuries. What’s more, you can enjoy plenty of health benefits while getting to know new people. Even after this, there’s something to be said for surfing’s impact on the brain. With surfing, you’ll be physically active and your mind will also get a workout as you try to navigate the waves that seem determined to knock you over.


Of course, we wouldn’t be talking about surfing at all if it wasn’t fun and this is something else to consider. Sure, you might get knocked over once or twice but it’s all in the name of fun (right?).


Ever woken up on a Sunday morning and tried to find things to do to avoid the gym? Even the washing and ironing are better options for some. If so, you aren’t alone because continually doing the same things in the gym can get rather boring. Thankfully, surfing still offers a cardiovascular workout but every single session will be a thrill and it’ll be different to the last. Also, you’ll get a sense of achievement as your skill increases.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the physical benefits of surfing;


We’re going to start with one that perhaps isn’t so obvious, and it’s the improvement you’ll see to your back and shoulder strength. If you ask several retirees the most annoying thing about getting older, many will tell you about their back and shoulder problems. Unfortunately, this can have a huge impact on even everyday tasks such as putting the washing out on the line or trying to sit comfortably to read a book.

As you learn to surfer after 40, your arms will always be in use as you attempt to balance, paddle, and the inevitable climbing back onto the board (unless you’re an instant pro!). Even when sitting or lying on the board, you’ll be rotating your arms and the shoulder joint will get a good workout. As your arms go through their full range of motion, this is great news for the shoulders, elbows, and even the spine.

For many, they enjoy increased mobility in their upper body and it generally fights off the stiffness that comes with age. Let’s face it, we’ve all made those grunting noises while attempting to stand up after a long time sitting (we won’t tell anyone!).


Not only is heart disease the leading cause of death in the UK, according to the government website, it causes nearly twice as many deaths as dementia; dementia is the second leading cause of death. While deaths from heart disease and stroke have certainly decreased in recent years, it’s still too high for our liking and surfing is the perfect opportunity to stay active and reduce your chances of struggling with this health issue. Regardless of which form of surfing you choose (duck diving, paddling, or standing), you’ll be moving constantly and this level of activity can only be beneficial for your health.

As your heart rate increases and the different muscles receive blood and oxygen, your cardiovascular system welcomes the activity and this offers various benefits in everyday life. For example, you won’t have any trouble breathing and strenuous activity becomes much easier. Suddenly, you’ll have the energy to take the stairs at work rather than the lift (unless you’re on the 33rd floor, of course!).


Before we move onto the psychological benefits of surfing, we want to talk about flexibility because certain parts of your body will always be stretching and twisting while on the board. Suddenly, muscles and joints you didn’t even know existed will be activated and we mustn’t forget the range of motion your joints will experience as the sheer power of the waves hit the board. With all this stretching, it’ll be like a more dramatic form of yoga and you should experience fewer aches and pains in life.

Benefits of surfing


Something that often goes forgotten with surfing is the work it does with your core; all that effort to stay balanced keeps the core engaged and this is something you’ll certainly feel the morning after your first session. Just as we saw in the cardiovascular section, this is something you might not notice but will definitely improve your life. Whether you’re lifting boxes, standing after long periods of sitting down, or using the upper torso in any way, you’re going to see a boost after surfing.

For those who work in an office and stare at a computer all day, surfing can also help with your posture; you might find yourself slouching less while at the desk. In truth, surfing reflects many of the normal movements we put our bodies through on a daily basis (although it might not seem like it at first).

For example, after first paddling out to a wave, you’ll need to activate the muscles in the legs and core to jump to your feet. In every single lesson, you’ll jump to your feet several times. If you can do it on a surfboard in the sea, you can definitely do it getting out of bed or getting off the sofa with ease. Over time, the difference in your leg and core strength will be noticeable and this is another great benefit of choosing surfing (they’re starting to add up, right?).


Hopefully, we’ve been able to persuade you to book up that first surfing lesson on the physical benefits alone. If not, how about we tell you of the brilliant mental benefits of surfing?


Without both coordination and concentration, you won’t be able to stand up on the board for longer than five seconds so these will both be improved over time. Of course, these are two transferable skills so there’s no reason why your coordination and concentration don’t also improve at home, at work, and while playing any other sports. For example, you might notice that you’re able to sit at a desk for a longer period of time or be more successful in your local pool league.


Firstly, all exercise has now been scientifically proven to release endorphins (chemicals in the brain) which improve mood and overall wellbeing. For those who suffer with depression and/or anxiety, many doctors are now starting to recommend exercise for this very reason. This, coupled with the fact you’ll be outside breathing in the fresh sea air, may allow you to adopt a new positive mindset in life.

surfing mental health


We must provide a warning at this stage because surfing will require patience, it will require perseverance, and a significant percentage of people do stop attending after just one lesson. However, we urge you to fight through the learning stage. Yes, you might find yourself getting frustrated and you might wonder where the fun starts for a while. But, as you improve, and overcome the mental barrier that stops many, you’ll have one of the most gratifying experiences of your life.

Eventually, all your hard work will pay off and you won’t believe that you nearly gave it all up. From struggling to jump to your feet to being able to stand up confidently for extended periods, you can prove to yourself that all goals in life are achievable. Even when the goal seemed impossible just a short while ago, the hard work and time you invest will always be rewarded.

Soon enough, you’ll enjoy all the physical and psychological benefits we’ve discussed and you may even be able to bring friends and family along to watch you shine. As we’ve seen before, these are transferable skills because you’ll be more likely to take this determination and perseverance into your personal life and career.


Finally, you don’t have to become a master of surfing to enjoy the stress relief it can offer. If you want to push your body to its limit and really test yourself, this is possible. If you want to have a relaxing pastime and enjoy being in the water, this is equally fine. While some choose to navigate every wave and they feel disappointed after a poor lesson, others are just happy to be out in the water sitting on the board and looking out over the stunning horizon.

When it comes to surfing, the surfboard and the water are the two essentials. From here, you can do whatever makes you happy. Soon enough, you’ll be wondering where all that stress from work has gone and this for us makes for a successful hobby.

learn to surf at 50


As well as the physical and psychological benefits of surfing and the way it allows for a healthy lifestyle, you can also meet new people and forget about the stresses of life for a couple of hours. To finish our guide, we want to provide a few considerations before booking your first surf lesson!

Your height and weight aren’t important because there are various shapes and sizes of boards.

  • Don’t worry about your fitness levels right now because your stamina will improve over time.
  • Surfboards can even be custom-made, if necessary.
  • You should NEVER feel as though you’re too old to start surfing.

Don’t live life according to other people’s expectations or rules, make your own rules (perhaps not on the road, but you get the idea!). If you feel you’ll enjoy surfing and you like the sound of the many benefits we’ve discussed here today, we have three words for you; GO FOR IT!


Teaching people the sport of surfing in a safe, quick and fun way is what we specialise in at Swell Surf Camp. We have taught 1000’s of people the basics of surfing.

Age? Well the average age of a Swell client is 39

Interested in changing your life to see the health benefits of learning to surf?

learn to surf holiday

Send us a message today and we’ll get you up and riding…regardless of your age!

Our luxury surf coaching holidays have taught 1000’s of people the sport of surfing in a safe, fun and quick way.

If you like this article about learning to surf after 40 you might also like the following articles.

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understanding wave forecasts


Decades have passed since surf travel has required reading nautical charts, packing weather radios, and crossing your fingers that your destination had some trace of swell. Gone are the days of surf exploration, where any hidden stretch of coastline could possess the often sought after—yet rarely found—perfect wave. Today, we open our phones and we are able see what the surfs doing anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds.

Regardless of the local of your session, surf trip or not, getting skunked burns the same. Surf and weather forecasting might be the most advanced it has ever been, but it will do no good if you’re not quite sure how to read a forecast. Can you say without a shred of doubt that you understand the relationship between swell interval and wave size? Do you know what swell directions the best for your local break?

Can you track a swell originating halfway around the world until it makes landfall on your coast? At Swell Surf Camp, we want you to prepared and knowledgeable surfers, whether you’re surfing at our Caribbean surf resort, or at your home break. Keep reading to learn how to read and interpret surf forecasts and you’ll be sure to score on your next trip down the coast or across the world.


Wave height, it’s pretty self explanatory . Simply put, it is the height of the wave. Understanding the mix of variables that affect a wave’s height will improve a surfer’s ability to read a forecast, and ultimately lead to catching more waves. First, it is important to know that the forecasted wave height, and the height of a wave’s face are typically different. Waves are measured from the top of the peaking swell, which is not the same thing as the face. So, a 2-foot forecast on an offshore day, with the right ocean floor contour, can produce a 3 to 5-foot face.

The forecast might read 2-3 feet, but the waves face could easily be head high.

wave height surf


Failure to comprehend and properly read swell interval can lead to missing a solid surf session. Swell interval is defined as the time that passes between two waves, typically measured in seconds. Swell interval has a direct relationship to wave size in that a long interval will produce larger surf.

The concept is simple. If a wave has a long interval, it has more time to build in size. Thus, along swell interval or period —as it is often called— will create bigger surf than a short interval on with the same size swell. Longer interval swell will also produce more powerfull breaking waves.


Swell direction is another term with a self-explanatory title, it is simply the direction of the incoming swell. A swell’s direction is categorized by the direction the swell is traveling from, rather than the direction of that swells trajectory.

A swell traveling from south to north would be labeled as a south swell. How swell direction affects wave quality depends what direction the coast/ break is facing and the wind direction. If a beach is facing southwest and the incoming swell is a northwest swell, the resulting conditions will most likely be choppy.

The most common Swlel direction on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic is North East, but in winter time when stronger storms are off the coats of New Work it will send waves down to the North Coast of the DR in a good North Swell. A typical North Swell in The DR will be 6 foot in height with a 13+ second interval, resulting in waves overhead to double overhead in Cabarete


Wind direction will always make the difference between average waves and great waves. If the wind is blowing onshore (towards the beach) it will flatten waves and cause chop. If the wind is blowing cross shore, it will create shop and poor wave conditions.

If the wind is blowing offshore, however, it will prop up the face of the wave and create clean surf conditions.


Regardless of what direction the wind is blowing, high wind speeds will create more difficult surfing conditions. A gentle wind is an ideal scenario for surfing. If the wind is blowing onshore, but only at a speed of 3 or 4 mph, then the conditions will most likely still be clean.

Even if the wind is directly offshore, high wind speeds will make it difficult to drop into waves.


While some breaks work at all tides, not all breaks are created equal. In the same vein, some breaks work well at high tide and others exclusively at low tide. The deciding factor has to do both with swell/ wave size and the ocean floor contour.

For example, certain reef breaks may only be safe to ride at high tide because the reef could be exposed or too shallow at low tide. Similarly, some sand bars may be too deep to effectively cause waves to break during high tide, but they may work well during low tide.

Fortunatly for us, there’s very little tidal change on the beaches of the North Coast, so you can surf in all tides



While the wave type of any given break does not fluctuate and is not technically part of your daily surf forecast, it is usually included in a small section to help you better comprehend how the wave breaks on any given day.

There are three main wave types: beach break, reef break, and point break. Each wave type can produce a left, a right, or an “A-frame” depending on the set up of the break.


A beach break is the ideal learning setting for any beginner surfer. Beach breaks have sand floors, meaning that they have surfers who hit the bottom have a low risk of injury. Waves break over sand bars (rather than reefs), which can shift significantly during a day creating several peaks.

Additionally, wave energy pounds into the sand and has nowhere to go but up and out, which creates an arduous paddle out during a large swell.


A reef break is any wave that breaks over some type of submerged rock formation. There are a variety of types of reef breaks, some of which are beginner/ intermediate friendly and some of which that are advanced only.


A submerged reef break is the only variety that could be considered beginner to intermediate friendly. While every beginner surfer should start out on a beach break, once they have mastered the pop-up and are able to successfully ride down the line at will, riding a submerged reef break is not out of the question.

A submerged reef break is not a live coral reef, the ocean floor is made up of rock that has been covered by sand. While you don’t’ necessarily want to get slammed into a submerged reef, you won’t hurt yourself by walking on it.


Coral Reefs are, are full of, living organisms. Coral is sharp, simply stepping on coral can cause injury. Additionally, many coral reefs can be full of sea urchins that’ll ruin any surfer’s day. Coral reefs, regardless of the depth of water at the break, should only be surfed by intermediate to advanced surfers.


Similarly, rock reefs can put a serious damper on your day if you come into contact with them during a wipeout. While the rocks may not be sharp (they often are though), they may still be riddled with sea urchins just waiting to impale you. Depending on the depth of water over the reef, rock reefs should only be ridden by intermediate to advanced surfers.


Point breaks cater to surf progression. Point breaks are generally slow breaking, mellow rides that often offer up ideal sections for carving and turning. A point break is caused by an obtrusive land or underwater mass—often rock— that runs perpendicular to the wave/shoreline.

The protruding mass will cause the peak of the break to present itself at roughly the same place every single wave, which can crowd the lineup, but offers workable sections for intermediate surfers looking to improve.

Armed with the newfound knowledge of an amateur meteorologist, you are ready to take to the sea, plan your next surf trip to Swell Surf Camp, or drive down to the coast to catch some waves!


The surf forecasts we use the most in Cabarete are Magicseaweed (opens a new window) and Windguru (opens new window) which is very reliable for wave and wind forecasts for surfers and kitesurfers.

In need of good waves?

At Swell we provide Learn how to surf holidays for people that have never surfed before as welll as a great social place to stay for advanced and expert surfers looking for a cool, comfortable & social place to stay. We offer full packages which include:

  • Airport transfers
  • Breakfast and 4 dinners
  • Comfortable & stylish accommodation
  • surfboard rentals and surf transport
  • A great social vibe


We hope to see you in the Dominican republic soon

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Getting to the Dominican republic


You have made the smart choice on going on a holiday to the Caribbean country of the Dominican Republic, and now you are looking for information on how to get to the Dominican republic, and once on the island on how to get around.

The DR is a large island so below we have made compiled all the info you need for a succesfull trip to & around the DR.

The first part is about getting to the Dominican republic, and the second part is about getting around the island


In the Dominican Republic, there are several marinas for ships and boats, domestic airstrips for private planes and charter, and eight international airports are operational. Regardless of your means of transportation and destination in DR, one major factor to consider is choosing the right gateway. DR is a large island with road distances that could take you close to 24 hours to reach your destination. For instance, you will have to spend about seven hours to transport overland from Punta Cana to Puerto Plata airports. Hence, it becomes pertinent to choose the right arrival and departure gateway that is nearest to your destination as it will reduce cost and stress.


Airports of the Dominican Republic


• Las Americas International Airport (SDQ): this airport is about 30 minutes from the capital of Santo Domingo. Also, it is the main point of entrance for international air arrivals into the city. SDQ which is also known as the Jose Francisco Pena Gomez International Airport is one of the most accessible places to reach the beach towns of Boca Chica and Juan Dolio as it is just six miles away.

• La Isabela International Airport: which is also called Dr. Joaquin Balaguer International Airport (JBQ) is situated at the north end of Santo Domingo where flights are leaving and arriving from Haiti, Cuba and the chosen nearby Caribbean islands are handled.


From Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) to Punta Cana and Cap Cana areas, it will take you 15-minute drive, but you will need a 30-minute drive to reach Bavaro, El Cortecito, and Arena Gorda from the same airport. Also, about 45-minute is needed to move from the airport to areas such as Macao and Uvero Alto. PUJ is the busiest airport in DR because it handles flight from more than 28 different countries and 96 cities around the globe. Also, it is the second busiest airport in the whole of the Caribbean region with an estimated 3.5 million international passengers entering DR through PUJ per year.


The Gregorio Luperon International Airport – simply known as POP – is situated at a 20-minute distance to the north coast city of Puerto Plata as well as some nearby tourist centers such as Cabarete, Playa Dorada, Cofresi, and Sosua. Also, you will be able to reach Playa Grande and Rio San Juan within an hour by road from POP.


The southeastern coast located La Romana International Airport (LRM) is also referred to as the Casa De Campo International Airport. The airport is about 10 minutes and 20 minutes away from Casa de Campo Resort & Villas and Bayahibe respectively by car. Also, you will be able to reach Santo Domingo by car from LRM within two hours while it will take less than one hour to reach Punta Cana.


You can also call the El Catey International Airport as Juan Bosch International airport or simply as AZS. It is about 30 minutes from the city of Santa Barbara de Samana as well as Las Terrenas. Nevertheless, you will have to be patient for an hour to reach Las Galeras from the airport by car.


From the Cibao International Airport (STI) to the bustling Santiago, it will take just 15 minutes. Santiago is the second biggest city in the Dominican Republic and is located within the mountainous region of the nation. STI is also close to other cities and towns such as Constanza, La Vega, and Jarabacoa. You can use STI as your gateway if you will be residing in Puerto Plata; however, it is advisable to add some extra transportation time to the time of your return flight.

The Dominican Republic has an excellent means of movement to other countries around the world. And also, within the country, you will see a series of flight options that travel to North America and Europe. Airports such as the Santo Domingo, Punta Cana, and Puerto Plata are the primary entry point into the country by air. However, international airports at Santiago and Samana are also used continuously and reliable.

Entering the Dominican Republic is relatively cheaper if you come through a charter flight as a result of the massive all-inclusive tourism industry which is located along the Dominican shores. Within this area, a package deal which includes airfare, food abound, hotel at a low price are made available to those who will like to tour around. Even if you choose not to go all-inclusive, the air charters which moves package tourists to their inclusive destinations do provide additional seats to independent travelers regularly at a low price. While those entering DR from South Africa may get to see lesser bargains, they will need some strength to enter the country through the major airlines; although, they won’t be safe from a transfer in some moments during their trip.

Flights entering Dominican Republic from USA and Canada

how to get to the dominican republic

Some flights are available from the major cities of Canada and USA that conveys passenger to the Dominican Republic. Although some west-coast movements need an overnight stay in New York or Miami, you will get some of the cheapest and most frequently passed gateway from the cities of New York, Montreal, Toronto, and Miami. For instance, JetBlue – the budget airline – offers low-cost travel from North America to airports in Santiago, Puerto Plata, and Santo Domingo. Since all the flights pass through New York City, it is necessary to demand a transfer if you are coming from other countries on the continent.

You can get a handful of companies that offer valuable package tours to Dominican resorts for seven to fourteen days. Generally, these packages are made obtainable to the top commercialized destinations like Cabarete, Puerto Plata and Sosua in the north end of the country and Boca Chica, Punta Cana/Bavaro and Juan Dolio in the south side.

Most package tour operators in the USA mostly work from a specific city and may not be able to connect flights from other areas. Basically, one operator will be able to book your flight with American Airlines and take you to the DR from any major city in the USA – take note that their services are always a bit pricier. If you are leaving from Canada, Dominican packages are served by series of travel “wholesalers” and charter airlines who do avoid dealing with individual citizen directly; instead, you will have to engage a local travel agent if you want to order for one of their packages.

Flights entering Dominican Republic from Europe

how to get to the dominican republic

You can get a direct flight from London to Punta Cana through British Airways, but its only twice per week; currently, they operate on Thursdays and Sundays to and fro at the cost of £300 to £400 all year-round. Also, it is possible to leverage BA to enter Puerto Plata and Santa Domingo; although you will have a stopover in Miami with a connecting flight via their partnered American Airlines.

Another option you can use is that there are some charter flights which travel directly from London Gatwick and Birmingham to Punta Cana or Puerto Plata. Typically, they operate with all-inclusive hotel accommodation, but you can book for a free seat through the website of one of the many charter flight wholesalers. Every scheduled travel to the Dominican Republic moves every day from Gatwick and Heathrow – if you are going to Punta Cana, you will have to move through Paris while to arrive in Puerto Plata, you will need a stop off in New York.
There are also several charter flights per week to the Dominican Republic from: Germany, Switserland, France & Scandinavia

Flights entering the Dominican Republic from Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand

Traveling directly to the Caribbean from Australia or New Zealand is almost unrealistic. The reason is that there is no direct flight from these countries to the Dominican Republic as you will have to fly down to the US or Europe first. Whichever route you decide to take, it is a day-long journey; however, the most comfortable way is through Australia in which there won’t be any stop off from Sydney to New York City through Qantas, United, or American, which is preceded by a follow-up movement to the Dominican Republic through any of the North American Airlines highlighted below. If you are coming from New Zealand, you can follow a direct flight from Auckland to New York, but there will be a stop at Los Angeles, from where you will proceed to DR.
Tourists from South Africa can enter Santo Domingo by following Iberia airlines, although there will be a stopover at Madrid and/or London. Also, they can land at Puerto Plata and Punta Cana through British Airways with stops at London and/or Miami during the journey.



The public transportation system in the Dominican Republic is modernized and comprehensive. Citizens of the countries are regularly on the road for one reason or the other. You can get Uber in three big cities such as Santiago, Puerto Plata, and Santa Domingo. On the contrary, Taxis are everywhere while you can also get different kind and sizes of a bus moving to different towns or cities you might want to visit. Public transportation is one of the most affordable means of movement in DR as well as an excellent way of sightseeing. Consequently, it promises a memorable experience in the country.


The Santo Domingo metro (Opens new window) works on two lines which are mostly utilized by residents moving to their place of work. However, there are several stops which makes sightseeing quite convenient. For instance, line 1 pass through north to the south via Maximo Gomez Avenue, right from the Villa Mella region to the Centra De Los Heroes which is the area where the Congress, Department of Migration, the Supreme Court of Justice and several other government ministries are situated. If you alight at the Casandra Damiron stop on line 1, you will see the Plaza de la Cultura directly – this place is where important Museums and the National Theater are located. From the east to the west, the Line 2 moves from the John F. Kennedy Avenue through the Agora Mall located at the Pedro Mir stop and to the Felix Sanchez Olympic Stadium. For a roundtrip subway, the transport fare is RD$15 for a rechargeable metro card, RD$40 for roundtrip and RD$80 to have a day pass. The subway opens by 6 am and closes by 10:30 pm.


Taxis are ubiquitous and can be board in almost every city and town. You will see them mostly at major bus stations, tourist areas or hotel vicinities. If you will be residing in major cities such as Puerto Plata, Santiago or Santa Domingo, the most advisable option is to order for a 24-hour taxi service from one of the taxi companies – you can ask a representative from your hotel, or ask any native for the most reliable option and also to help contact the brand. For example, Apollo Taxi and Aero Taxi are famous in Santo Domingo. It is advisable to confirm the car color and the estimated waiting time while speaking with the representative of the taxi company. Also, endeavor to confirm the cost of your destination and rates which are stipulated by taxi association for movement within the city.


In the year 2015, the popular ride service app UBER was launched in the Dominican Republic, and currently, it is highly active in three big cities, namely Santiago, Puerto Plata, and Santo Domingo. Also, Cabify works in Domingo. The two apps are safe to use within any region in DR. The reason why most tourists choose to use the two apps is that there is no need to discuss with the driver on the phone – which is a solution to the language barrier. Also, they operate with a better functional car with air conditioning system and seatbelts – that aside, the fare is low during periods of no heavy traffic.



Comfortable and large coach bus services which links several regions to another is one of the significant advantages of DR. Three reliable brands provide a daily trip to major cities with modern, air-conditioned buses which has Wi-Fi service. One of the three brands is the Metro Tours buses that travel through Santo Domingo, Puerto Plat, Sosua, La Romana, and Santiago as well as a daily departure to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The second brand is the Caribe Tours buses that also leaves for Santo Domingo, Santiago, Sosua, and Puerto Plata. Also, Caribe buses do visit Barahona, Cabrena, Samana, La Vega, Montecristi and several towns in the Dominican Republic including Haiti daily. The third bus company is known as Expreso Bavaro which is the only bus service which links Santo Domingo to Bavaro daily, and also, it is an excellent option for Punta Cana travelers.

The cost of Bus service does range between RD$200 to RD$500 for a one-way trip. Ensure that you arrive one hour before the departure time of the buses to take a seat, and ensure that you move along with a sold jacket or scarf because the buses mostly set the air-conditioning to the lowest level.


Private individuals own the Popularly known minivan buses called Guaguas. They are small compared to the large buses and travel scheduled routes within a city, long-distance to small and big areas daily. The guaguas which cover the long-distance journey are quite comfortable like the large coach buses with 20-25 passengers. Each passenger will have a seat and Wi-Fi connection to use. If you don’t want to stop during your trip with guaguas, it is best advised to check those labeled with “Expreso.”



DR guagua transport

The guaguas which travels to the innermost part of the city are usually white vans which stop to pick and drop passengers while moving along a scheduled route. These minivans are the slowest form of movements on the ground. In most cases, passengers are packed together. However, it is the cheapest form of transportation within the city or town. It is advisable to have your change before entering the buses as the drivers do not have changes in most cases, and eventually, you might have no choice than to pay more. Every guagua has a driver and a conductor who call passengers while the minivan is moving, collect fares from the passengers and inform the driver about the next stop. It is encouraged to tell the conductor where you will be alighting immediately you enter the bus, and be ready to pay once you enter or as demanded by the conductor.

Word of warning: The Small guaguas can get very full ( How many passengers can fit into 1 Guagua? Siempre uno mas! Always 1 more)


Most of the locals in the big cities such as Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata, and Jarabacoa uses the famous Motorbike taxis as they are the cheapest and quickest means of getting past the traffic. However, it is also the most dangerous means of traveling most especially in big cities where there is heavy traffic. Most of the drivers of motorbike taxis don’t have a helmet for passengers, even though they are tasked to provide one by the government. You should know that taking a slow bike taxi across the mountain towns of Constanza and Jarabacoa is an excellent method of exploring fantastic scenes. You will likely see a motorbike taxis driver wearing a neon-colored vest – but not all of the drivers do wear it. You can request for a motoconcho hub in your area or secure a referral from your hotel. Depending on your destination distance, the cost of fare for motorbike taxis does range from RD$25 to RD$75 within the city.


The shared taxis are also referred to as carrito–conchos, carritos or simply as conchos. Conchos are four-doors sedans which are similar to the in-city guaguas since they also move through particular routes and stop at any spot along the way based on passenger’s request. They can be boarded in the big cities, towns as well as villages. Compared to the guaguas, they are more comfortable; nevertheless, the passengers are usually packed together at the back and front seat. The cost of conchos’ fare is cheaper than the fare of private taxi – which costs RD$150 – as it falls between RD$25 to RD$50 based on your destination.


There are several modern and functional highways in the Dominican Republic which connects the major cities, the coastlines and many famous places of tourism together. The highways are a reflection of the memorable scenes within the nation, most especially the beautiful views along the highways that run from Santo Domingo to the Samana Peninsula, Jarabacoa as well as the coast of Puerto Plata. You should get accustomed to these highways particularly if you aim to hire a car and tour around several regions within the country. You can encounter tolls based on your destination and location; endeavor to ask a representative at your guesthouse before proceeding with your expedition. For example, the highway that covers Santo Domingo to Boca Chica holds one tollbooth; in contrast, there are four tollbooths between Santo Domingo and Bavaro. Also, you should know that the toll fees do vary between RD$60 to RD$1OO per booth. Take along a small change in Dominican pesos while moving out. Although dollars are acceptable, any change required will be given in local currency.

Route One: Autopista Duarte covers from Santo Domingo to Santiago: It has four lanes connecting the north and south side of the country. It will take about two hours to drive from the capital city to Santiago which leads to La Vega and Jarabacoa.

Route Three: Autopista Las Americas: it connects the Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo to the western end of the city as well as the beach town of Boca Chica towards the eastern end. Eventually, it links up with Autopista Coral along La Romana.

Route Three: Autopista Oscar de la Renta: it is also referred to as the Autopista del Coral. It connects Santo Domingo to the Punta Cana resort area while bypassing Higuey within three hours and also enters La Romana in a one-hour drive.

Route Five: Carretera de Puerto Plata: this highway is a dual-lane which runs along the North coast. This highway offers one of the most eccentric and beautiful drives within the country as it passes fishing villages, beaches, far verdant hills, and campo life.

Route Seven: Santo Domingo to Samana Highway: as the name suggests, this highway connects Santo Domingo to the northeastern Samana Peninsula. You will be fascinated with appealing scenes of dense coconut tree-laden hills from the coconut oil plantation looking over a bright blue sea. Another option you can use is to pass through Route 133 or Turístico del Atlántico to reach Las Terrenas; however, it will cost you extra US$11 as a toll fee which is nothing compared to the exciting, winding coastal scene and a vista images over the Bay of Coson through your expedition.

The Dominican Republic has it all!

top 20 activities in the DR

Enjoy your holiday on our beautiful Caribbean island, if you are still looking for a cool place to stay and are looking for an active watersport holiday, see what Swell Surf camp has to offer for you

Questions or comments about this surf technique article? Let us know, send us a message.


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Yes, there is Surf in The Caribbean!

The Caribbean Sea is often associated with warm, tranquil, turquoise waters, white sand, and ideal weather.

But to the surprise of many, the Caribbean is actually home to a myriad of world-class surf breaks scattered throughout the various island nations.

Most people presumably think of umbrella drinks when they think of the Caribbean Islands, not pumping hollow waves that are perfect for a surf holiday.

Looking at a map, it’s hard to tell where swell comes from in the Caribbean, so many people assume that there is little to no surf in the region.

Unlike the West or East Coast of the United States, the Caribbean islands are susceptible to swell from multiple directions, making our Caribbean surf camp a must for any traveling surfer’s bucket list.

good waves
Fun waves at Playa Encuentro

When to surf the DR

There is consistent year-round swell in the DR that will provide waves for any beginner or intermediate surfer. During the fall and winter months, however, the surf picks up in size and consistency, making the Dominican Republic the warm water destination for any expert surfer who is tired of the cold.

For Beginners:

For people who have never surfed before and want to start their wave riding careers, any time of the year is a good time. When the waves get big we stay at the inside and surf the mellow inside part of the wave.

surf instruction
Learn to surf in the Caribbean

Intermediate surfers ( between 1 to 3 years surfing)

For intermediate surfers some of the best months of the year are actually the months with the smaller waves ( June,  July & August) Average wave size is around 1 to 1,5 meters ( chest to head high). If you are an intermediate and want to start riding bigger waves than the winter months are better ( Between Dec and April)

surfer girl
Ideal waves to improve

Expert surfers

Experts surfers have 2 options on the North coast of the Dominican Republic: The winter season will bring north swells with waves ranging between head high and double overhead on a very consistent basis. The other option is to do a strike surf mission to the north coast the moment a hurricane goes well north of the DR, this will produce good surfing conditions for 4-5 days.

Winter swells

Where our swell comes from & How it is formed

The Caribbean is vast, and its surf spots are spread out among the various islands. They can be organized into the leeward (protected from the wind) and windward (upwind to the east) islands. It’s the general rule of thumb that the windward Caribbean Islands receive much of the same swell that the East Coast of the United States receives (North Atlantic), with the added bonus that there is no large continental shelf inhibiting the swell before it reaches the islands.

The leeward islands receive surprisingly powerful north swells that originate in the Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean and generate surf on the northern coasts of the islands.

Here at Swell Surf Camp, located on the Northern Coast of the Dominican Republic in the beautiful town of Cabarete, we have a variety of surf breaks to give guests of all levels their flawless day in the water. The local breaks work best with a north swell. North swells are most frequent during the late fall and winter months and even into the early spring.

Large North Atlantic swells occur when cold air from North America, usually eastern Canada, travels down and combines with the Gulf Stream (a warm air wind system) and creates a low-pressure system. This low-pressure system produces a large amount of wind which travels over the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico and generates fetch. Fetch is best defined as the area over water that wind blows in a consistent direction resulting in the generation of swell.

This swell travels hundreds of miles over the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic into the Caribbean Sea where it collides with the Dominican coastline’s sandbars and reef systems creating ridable waves on the north coast of the DR. When these systems intensify, they are known as “no’r Easters,” and wreak havoc on the East coast of the United States.

Our Waves

Swell Surf Camp is located on Playa Encuentro, on the Northern Dominican Coast. Playa Encuentro is positioned perfectly to catch North Atlantic swells as they track down the East Coast of the United States. There are a number of surf breaks along Playa Encuentro that will satisfy every level of surfer, from friendly beach breaks to fast, barreling reef breaks.

surfing Caribbean
© copyright surfingdominicanrepublic.com

Coco Pipe

On a proper north swell, usually during the winter, Coco Pipe will go off. There is a left and a right, however, the left is pretty short. The right, on the other hand, can produce picturesque barrels. This wave is not for beginners. It has a shallow reef bottom and a fast, critical drop in.

The Left

As its name will tell you, The Left is a long, dreamy left-hander that peels far down the beach. Like Coco Pipe, The Left breaks fairly shallow, meaning it is not for beginners.

Main Peak

longboarding cabarete
Main peak at Encuentro in summer

The main peak at Playa Encuentro offers a left and a right. The right is mellow and skatey, perfect for practicing turns. This wave is ideal for intermediates and experts.


Bobo’s offers lefts and rights with some barreling potential. The inside waves at Bobo’s offer are ideal for beginner surfers. Our learn to surf camp lessons will begin at Bobo’s.



Fast, shallow, and hollow, Destroyer’s is popular amongst body borders and daring expert surfers. Destroyer’s works best during the winter months on a large, north swell.

Other Nearby Breaks

El Canal

hurricane waves
Surfing El Canal

While it is difficult to access and requires a long walk to reach it, the wave at El Canal offers a great left that works well during winter north swells.


El Mañanero

A friendly beach break that works well during summer mornings before the winds kick in.

Playa Grande

As its name suggests, Playa Grande is a large stretch of beach offering multiple peaks. Playa Grande is best during the winter months.


One of the best waves on the island ( in fact one of the best waves in the Caribbean) however its not super consistent, it’s needs specific north swells to really start working well. When it’s good, expect a great barreling left over reef, and a shorter right. Surfers need to be confident in powerful reef breaks before paddling out here.

El Barco

Offers a quality right-hander but is known for its powerful riptide and currents. Not beginner friendly.



If you found this article interesting and want to  start planning your Caribbean surf trip, then have a look at our extensive Dominican Republic Surf Travel Guide. 

Or if you are interested in join Swelll for a unique adventure holiday, then have a look at our surf packages and contact Clare today to reserve your Caribbean surf Holiday with Swell.


Swell offers luxury Surf & Yoga Holidays, but it’s not just surfing and yoga that is on offer; located in the action sport capital of the caribbean is the surf town of Cabarete. In Cabarete you can surf in the morning, learn to kitesurf in the afternoon and finish with a Yoga session at sunset.

Other activities include: Canyoning – Mountain Biking – Horse riding – Diving – Snorkeling – Windsurfing and Stand up Paddle surfing. In short if you are looking for an action packed adventure holiday, then visit us in Cabarete.

Hasta Pronto!

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Activities Dominican Republic


So you want to go on vacation to the Dominican Republic; an island jam-packed full of beautiful beaches and azure-colored water.



best surfing camp vacation

You may not realise though that the Dominican Republic has a landscape which lends itself to some of the most beautiful and exciting activities on offer, not just in the Caribbean region, but on the entire planet.
There’s a good reason why some parts of the movie Jurassic Park were filmed on location on the island. Famed for its prehistoric Amber stone, coffee and cacao, the Dominican Republic is a gem of an island, offering so many activities to choose from, you won’t be able to fit them all in during a week-long stay.


With regards to accommodation in the Dominican Republic, you’ve certainly got some good choices of where to stay on this huge island. Perhaps you are thinking to stay in a place like Punta Cana, where the majority of accommodation is in large all-inclusive hotels with organised tours, but not much in the way of local life outside of your hotel, or are you going to be more adventurous/independent and head for ‘real’ towns like Cabarete or La Terrenas? Either way, the Dominican Republic is vast and beautiful, with a friendly population who love to share the adventures of their island with you.


Many people staying in an all-inclusive are led to believe that it’s not safe to leave a resort, but this could not be further from the truth. This advice is given by all-inclusive hotels who have a clear motive; if you go out and about by yourself, they miss out on huge commissions from all the tours they would otherwise sell you, so it’s more profitable to keep you inside. Better still, steer clear of the all-inclusives hotels altogether and choose a smaller, privately owned hotel or guest house to stay in, with an owner who can share their extensive local knowledge with you on where to eat great food and visit fun places.


Rest assured, from someone who lived in the Dominican Republic (in Cabarete) for 12 years, getting out and about in the Dominican Republic will be rewarding, safe and fun, so think about organising a vacation around two or three different areas of the island.

Sunrise Playa EncuentroHow about combining a few days of surfing or kiteboarding in a sporty, vibrant town like Cabarete, with a few days in the oh-so-peaceful La Terrenas, and even a couple of days in the Zona Colonial for some culture in the capital city, Santo Domingo? Or perhaps a hiking tour up Pico Duarte, followed by a truly relaxing few days on a deserted beach like Punta Rucia. Whatever you plan, be sure to get the very best out of this interesting, beautiful and diverse country.

This article deals mainly with sports and adventure tours in the Dominican Republic, but if you are also interested in the culture, carnivals and festivals on offer on the island, have a look at page.

Here we have given you the top 20 must-do activities in the Dominican Republic, listing the sports activities and adventures on offer alphabetically. Hopefully, it will give you an idea or two when you are planning your vacation to the Dominican Republic.

Top 20 activities in the Dominican Republic


Several Dominican companies run these fun ATV tours around various parts of the island. You will find one close to any tourist area like Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Samana, etc. Many combine the fun of driving these 4×4 open vehicles with a little local culture, such as driving through the sugar cane fields or visiting local coffee growers.

Safety can be a concern as rigid rules on health and safety are rarely adhered to, but in fairness, this can often add to the fun! Duration of tours is generally 3 to 4 hours, but check with local operators.


The Dominican Republic is a huge island (it takes 7 hours to drive east/west). Right across the centre of the island mass are mountain ranges (with the highest peak in the Caribbean, Pico Duarte at 3098m). canyoning dominican republicWith mountains come canyons and rivers and the Dominican Republic has more than its fair share of both.

If you are relatively fit and a little bit brave, these tours are not to be missed. With iconic names like The Big Bastard (about sums it up), The Magic Mushroom (a geological marvel) and Ciaguapa Falls, to name some, canyoning trips involve hiking (upwards) for a few hours and jumping, sliding and repelling all the way back down again.

Trips generally last the whole day and you will need non-slip shoes which can get wet. Your reputable tour operator will provide proper safety gear, including wet suits (the water from the mountains is cold), harnesses and helmets.

The best tours are in the Cordillera Septentrional, Puerto Plata region, so base yourself in the cool surf town of Cabarete to get the very best of the canyoning trips in the Dominican Republic.


Again, several providers based across the island offer catamaran tours of local waters. Some double-up as fishing adventures and others are more of a sunbathing and swimming cruise, often involving drinks and food. Notable operators are Tip Top or Freestyle Tours in Puerto Plata and too many to mention in Punta Cana. Your hotel will have local leisure cruise, fishing and booze-cruise information.


Both Puerto Plata and Punta Cana have deep sea fishing tours and charters on offer. High Z and Mahi Mahi Tours are the best on offer in Puerto Plata whilst Punta Cana tends to have more expensive private charters for hire.


Being a Caribbean island, bordered both by the Atlantic (North Coast) and the Diving SosuaCaribbean Sea (East and South coast), the Dominican Republic enjoys some beautiful, turquoise water, abundant with fish and corals.

There are many scuba dive schools operating on the island. Our pick of the bunch would be Merlin Dive school in Sosua (close to Cabarete) and Dressel dive school operating in Punta Cana and Puerto Plata. We chose these companies because of their European-style professionalism in operating; scuba diving needs to be taken seriously. More info at https://www.divecenter-merlin.com


limon waterfallIn the Samana region, about half an hour from Las Terrenas, you will find El Limón waterfall. This trip is less extreme than the canyoning mentioned previously, or the 27 waterfalls (27 Charcos) we will mention later in this article.

El Limón is quite a spectacular waterfall, standing at a whopping 52m high. Getting to the waterfall involves a horseback ride of roughly 45 minutes, where you will get wet as your horse negotiates several river crossing points to reach the base of this magnificent waterfall. You’ll be offered this tour from locals whilst walking around the charming town of Las Terrenas but it’s worth sticking to the more established tour operators like Santi or Parada La Manzana as they have better guides and well-cared for horses. Walking is also possible, but add an hour or so to the trek.


hiking pico duarteWe’ve already mentioned that the Dominican Republic is home to Pico Duarte, the tallest mountain in the Caribbean at 3098m high. If you are a fit and regular walker, this is a great choice to see the magnificent interior of the island.

Tours generally are 2 to 3 days and start at Jarabacoa. Tours are not cheap, but accommodation, meals and guides are included and generally break down to around $150 USD per person, per day.


It’s a fact that for many people, a beach holiday is not complete without a pony trek along the sand, or if you are a more accomplished rider, a canter through the shore-break. horse riding cabareteAll tourist regions offer horse-back riding tours from several sources.

Riding on the beach can be exhilarating, but we strongly recommend that you take a tour which goes inland and rides through some local towns and villages, along with river crossings through some beautiful valley scenery. Rancho Louisa y Tommy is one such company, based in Sabaneta de Yasica, close to Cabarete on the north coast. You can contact them on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Rancho-Luisa-y-Tommy-430058250408145/


Cabarete, on the North coast of the Dominican Republic is widely thought to be the kiteboarding capital of the world. Side-on steady winds and warm water combine to provide perfect kiteboarding conditions. The waters of Cabarete Bay are full of the beautiful multi-coloured kites as they glide effortlessly through the water.

Kiteboarding might look difficult, but actually, it’s much easier than it appears. A good kiteboarding school, such as LEK Cabarete, Kite Club Cabarete or Kite Club Punta Cana, will teach you in a one-on-one lesson with an IKO qualified kiteboarding instructor. Learning is not cheap, but it shouldn’t be as each kite equipment set used in lessons is valued at around $3000 USD and is easily damaged (kite crashing to the beach) during lessons. Don’t be tempted to cut costs in a kite lesson; it’s not worth the safety risk.

Poor instruction in a kite lesson can lead to very serious injury; the kites wield enormous power and it’s easy to get launched high in the air if you don’t move the kite in the correct way. With good instruction, it’s exhilarating and quick to learn; you can make great progress in 6 to 8 hours of lessons. A good kite boarding school will charge between $69 and $72 USD per person per hour of instruction.


These two truly stunning azure lagoons of water are close to each other, on either of Cabrera along the North coast. You could combine a trip to them both in one day.

laguna duduGri Gri is formed from a natural spring, but after an earthquake in 1952, the subterranean water rose up and formed a lagoon. Named after the Gri-Gri tree which grows in abundance in the surrounding mangrove forrest, tours go by boat through the lagoon, taking in the caves where thousands of Swallows nest. The boats often have glass bottoms, so you can really appreciate the quite incredible colour of the water beneath you.

El Dudu offers the same stunningly beautiful azure water (both Gri Gri and El Dudu look as though the water has been dyed, such is the vibrancy of the colour), but it’s more of a small lagoon for jumping into, with a zip line and ladders to aid a fast or slow decent into this most spectacular pool of water.

A boat trip on the Laguna Gri Gri lasts around an hour or so and you can spend as long as you like hanging out at El Dudu. A taxi from Cabarete to Cabrera will cost around $80 to $100 USD for a return trip, even if there are several people in the vehicle. Cheaper gua gua’s and carritos also go for a few pesos each, but expect a very crowded journey.


Just outside of Cabarete, you will find the Monkey Jungle & Zipline adventures. monkey jungleOpened as a way to fund urgent free medical care for Haitians and Dominicans who previously had no access to any medical care, the Monkey Jungle is now a firm favorite on the North coast (base yourself in Cabarete or Sosua for this adventure).

Sadly Chuck and Candy, the founders of the project lost their lives in a small ‘plane in 2016, whilst returning from a humanitarian mission to deliver much needed supplies to Haiti. Their legacy lives on in the form of a really fun afternoon feeding the Squirrel Monkeys and racing down the ziplines. It’s great to know that while you enjoy yourself, the money you have paid to do so is going to such a great cause.


We’ve already written of the expansive mountain ranges of the Dominican Republic, so of course, mountain biking is readily available through the Cordillera Central. In fact, cycling generally is huge in the Dominican Republic, with regular road races happening both within the major cities and between mtb cabaretethem most Sundays.

Bike Map have several rides listed here on https://www.bikemap.net/en/l/3508796/


(There’s a reason it’s called the adventure capital of the Caribbean)



Playa Grande is thought to be one of the most beautiful beaches on the North coast of the Dominican Republic and well worth a trip if you are staying in the region. playa grande dominican republicTraditionally a popular beach for locals every Sunday, this stunning beach is bordered by fisherman’s huts/restaurants. As soon as you arrive, you’ll be offered a simple table and chairs beneath the palm trees and delicious, BBQ’d fresh catch of the day.

Beware the shore break on some days, it can be quite heavy, but generally, kids who are good swimmers will love playing in the waves whilst you lie on the golden sand.

The renowned golf course designer, Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed two golf courses on the North coast. Playa Dorada and Playa Grande. Playa Dorada (just outside of Puerto Plata) is a nice, quaint little course but Playa Grande is the masterpiece; a links golf course with stunning holes atop the cliffs, all overlooking the magnificently blue Atlantic ocean.

Whilst on the subject of golf in the Dominican Republic, there are enough great courses on the island to plan a multi-centre golf vacation, including the world-famous Teeth of the Dog golf course in Casa De Campo (south coast). There are no less than 26 golf courses to choose from in the Dominican Republic, making it the best Caribbean island choice for a golf vacation!


Several locations on the island are great for snorkeling. Sosua, the next town Snorkeling activities dominican republicto Cabarete, has a stunning bay and snorkelling trips are leaving from the bay for a short trip to the reefs in front of the beach. Merlin dive centre are one of the companies who will organise a local boat to take you into the bay to where you will be able to swim with and feed the fish. If you are staying in Puerto Plata or in Punta Cana, your resort hotel will have a list of the companies they use for their snorkelling trips.


This popular sport is available in several locations. Las Terrenas and Punta Cana both have flat water so if you like to paddle around without waves, you will be very likely to be able to rent an SUP at your local beach.

SUP Cabarete

The North coast is where the majority of the waves are, so if you are able to surf waves with an SUP, head for Cabarete where you can find some great waves on the reef in the town’s main bay. There’s also flat water in the bay of Cabarete. Bear in mind that SUP boards are banned at the surf beach of Encuentro for safety reasons.

Sup’ing (or kayaking) down the rivers in the Sabaneta de Yasica area, close to Cabarete, is very popular. Check with Kayak River Adventures for more details.


Bearing in mind the fact that the Dominican Republic is bordered by two different oceans (the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean) there is a distinct location for good surfing and that is on the Atlantic side of the North coast. best surf vacationThe Caribbean side (Punta Cana, Casa de Campo, etc) is flat pretty much year-round, so if you are coming to the Dominican Republic to surf, you must head to the North. In this regard, if you are a surfer, fly to Puerto Plata (POP) and not to Punta Cana (PUJ) as it takes 6 hours to drive north from PUJ.

Encuentro is the main surf beach of the North coast. Situated about 10 minutes drive from Cabarete, it has several different surf peaks to suit all levels of surfing. The best surf for expert surfers is to be found between November and April, with the summer months May to October, being better for smaller waves.

There are many  other surf breaks along the North coast; you can find more information on surfing in the Dominican Republic on this page

Down at Encuentro beach there are a number of local surf schools who will give you surf lessons but if you want to take a more intense surf course, then stay somewhere like Swell surf camp, where you can be immersed in a complete surf camp experience, with lessons, airport pickups, meals and a vibe with other surfers to enjoy.

Macao Beach, just north of Punta Cana, does have some rather limited shore breaks at certain times of the year. You will find surf schools located on the beach there when the surf is up.


27 waterfallsWe’ve already spoke about the canyoning trips, but there’s another amazing waterfall experience close to Puerto Plata on the North coast. The 27 Waterwalls (local name, 27 Charcos), is a breathtakingly beautiful hike, walking up no less than 27 linking waterfalls and then descending by sliding and jumping.

Historically, this trip did not enjoy good safety standards and very sadly, after the deaths of 3 people at the waterfalls some years ago during heavy rains, a rapid revision was made of safety standards. Guides were properly trained and new regulations put into place about when the waterfalls should be open or closed (too much rain now results in closure). These days, the trip is much better organised, but do bear in mind, it is a strenuous hike and you should not attempt it if you don’t enjoy a decent level of fitness. Do not go during periods of prolonged rain and remember that sometimes, even when the sun is shining on the beach, it can be raining up at the falls, such is the nature of local weather patterns. Check with the operator who is planning to take you, whether the conditions at the falls are favorable.

You can choose to do less than the full 27 waterfalls and most of the trips from all-inclusive hotels will not attempt the full hike. Instead, you will normally hike the first 1/3 of the 27 waterfalls.


Cabarete, on the North coast of the Dominican Republic is one of the world’s best spots for wind-sports. Long before kitesurfing became popular, Cabarete attracted many good windsurfers who enjoy this bay’s perfect wind direction (side-on), warm water and great waves on the reef for launching slick tricks like the Shifty 720.

There are some good windsurf schools on the bay of Cabarete who will give you a beginner lesson in this king of water-sports. Quality gear rentals are also available from these schools, so if you windsurf already, there’s no need to be carrying your heavy windsurf gear to the Dominican Republic.

Flat water windsurfing is available at other resort towns like Puerto Plata and Punta Cana.



On the North-East peninsula of the Dominican Republic, off the coast of Samana, from mid-December to mid-March, humpback whales will congregate for their annual migration. It is one of the most densely populated areas in the world for whales during these months and you are pretty much guaranteed to see them.

whale watching dominican republicIn fact, if you stay anywhere on the North coast, whales will be visible to the naked eye from the shore during the whale mating season, especially during January and February, as they pass by on their way to Samana.

If you want to get close to the whales, there are many companies in and around Las Terrenas and Samana who will organise a boat trip for you to travel into the breeding grounds. A note of caution; after many years of zero regulation, it is now illegal to to harass the whales. Strict regulations have been introduced to reduce the impact of these tours on the whale’s breeding ground. Now only 3 boats are allowed to be relatively close to a pod so there is often a lot of waiting around for your boat to have a ‘turn’ getting close to these majestic creatures. Boats are also restricted to 45 minutes in the vicinity of a pod of whales. Do not accept a ‘whale-watching tour’ from any ‘regular’ fishing boat as only boats holding a license from the Ministry of the Environment are allowed into the humpback whales’ breeding ground. We strongly recommend that you go with a company like that run by Kim Beddall http://www.whalesamana.com/ who stringently follow these vitally important regulations, not just for your own safety, but for the protection of these crucial breeding areas.

20. YOGA

With more than 20 million people regularly taking part in Yoga in the United States alone, Yoga is firmly established as an important element of people’s daily or weekly lives and that continues, even on vacation.

yoga cabareteYou will find many Yoga studios in the Dominican Republic. Cabarete has 3 or 4 different venues for Yoga, including a 3x weekly Ashtanga Yoga class at Swell surf camp (you’ll have to be staying at Swell though to take their classes).

Las Terrenas, Samana, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, La Romana, Santiago and Santo Domingo will all have Yoga classes you can take part in. Check with your accommodation host or hotel to see where and when your nearest Yoga class will be: They should also be able to tell you about the type of Yoga being held.

We really hope that this article has given you some ideas of what to do on vacation in the Dominican Republic; it really is an amazing place!

“The Dominican Republic has it all”

We hope you enjoyed reading this article about the top activities the Dominican Republic offers, feel free to share it on your favorite social media site.

Dominican culture & arts


Here is our updated 2019 info page on how to get to the Dominican Republic, and how to get around the island


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