At Swell we want to make sure our clients get the best surf experience possible, and the best way to guarantee this is by having top staff work for us. Last year Ricci was at Swell for 3 months, and he left a great impression on the clients and the rest of our staff. Because Ricci had commitements in Europe as a Snowboard instructor & guide in the Alps he had to leave us for a season in the snow.
Ricci was keen to come back to Swell, and we are very keen to have him back. for the full 2018 / 2019 winter season.
Alexandra (Alex) is Ricci’s partner and she is the new surf photographer at Swell taking photos of our clients who are interested in the photo packages she offers. And additional bonus is that Alexandra also takes video footage of the clients during their lessons, so after the lessons are done the footage can be played back to analyze where improvements can be made in the surf technique of the clients.
Alexandra has years of experience as an action and lifestyle photographer, and so far the lifestyle and surf photos she has produced are of great quality.
Here are some sample photos of here first few days in Cabarete
As you can see Alexandra is a great photographer, so if you want to have your surf photos taken and a surf video analysis during your stay at Swell, sign up for the photo package and go home with your memories in HD photo format.
OTHER SWELL NEWS
Normally when one surf instructor arrives another instructor leaves, this winter we have deceided to change this, since it’s looking like it’s going to be a very busy winter season for us here in the Caribbean. As a result Lee, our lovely English surf instructor has decided to stay on for the rest of our high season.
So our team for the winter season 2019 is:
Lee (english) – Surf Instructor
Ricci (Italian) – Surf Instructor
Neno (Dominican) – Surf Instructor
Jeffrey (Dominican) – Surf Instructor
Alexandra (French) – Surf photographer
So if you are interested in learning to surf, then have a look at the learn to surf courses we offer at Swell and contact us today to secure your surf holiday.
CARIBBEAN SURF HOLIDAY EXPIRIENCE
About Swell: We provide active holidays for adults in the Caribbean. Ideal for solo travelers and couples who are looking for a fun and social vacation.
See our video below.
We hope to see you soon in the Caribbean
Clare & Jeroen Mutsaars
Even though our surf camp is in the Dominican Republic, we are also surfers ourselves and have travelled extensively in the search for waves to catch. Based on our experience, here are our beginner surf destinations worldwide for beginner, intermediate and expert surfers.
Our own place, Swell, is located on the North coast of the Dominican Republic. We chose this location after having visited many countries around the globe which might be suitable as a place to build a surf camp.
The criteria we rely on to see if a surf destination was suitable to build a surf camp retreat is:
Consistency of surf
Are there waves for multiple levels of surfers?
Are there any dangers in or out of the water?
Ease of access to the waves
Distance to an international airport
Consistency of surf
To be suitable as a beginner surf camp destination we wanted a place where our guests would be able to surf at least 300+ days of the year.
The North coast delivers on this, with at least 340+ days of surfable waves at Playa Encuentro.
Waves for multiple levels of surfers
Of course not everyone is a beginner surfer, so a suitable destination for a surf camp needs to cater not just for complete beginners, but for intermediate and even expert surfers. Fortunately for Swell once again Playa Encuentro delivers; there are multiple waves and different peaks, all within a short walk from each other. From mellow inside beginner waves to big barreling waves on shallow reefs for expert surfers + everything in between.
Are there an dangers in or out of the water?
Playa Encuentro is a very safe spot to surf or to learn to surf because there are no dangers in or under the water. Tidal differences are minimal so getting injured from the reef bed is almost impossible. There are no dangerous rips or currents at Playa Encuentro, so there’s no danger of being dragged out to sea.
Neither are there sharks or other dangerous sea life (for example crocodiles, as seen in certain parts of Costa Rica) so the Dominican Republic scores very highly on this element of our criteria. It also helps having very warm water year-round, so another bonus point is scored there.
Ease of access to the waves
‘Highway surfing’ is not a term that surfers want to be using as it means they are constantly on the search for waves, without finding them. Again, the Dominican Republic’s waves score highly on the ease of access criteria; it’s only a journey of 10 minutes to a charming surf beach.
Distance to an international airport
Just as with the afore-mentioned highway surfing we also wanted to minimize the travel time for our clients, so we wanted to be close to an international airport. Our location in Cabarete is just 25 minutes from Puerto Plata international airport. Santiago International airport (airport code STI) is one and a half hours away. Santo Domingo international airport (airport code SDQ) is also an option, with buses running north every hour during the day.
Because Cabarete and Playa Encuentro tick all the above boxes, that’s where we put our own purpose-built surf camp. We didn’t say anything about the criterias of food, beauty of beaches, additional activities or a party scene, but Cabarete has all of these too, so it remains our firm No.1 even when some other countries might have more ‘perfect’ waves.
We have clients who come and visit us year after year, and always at some point they ask us ‘is there any other surf camp destinations that you can recommend to me, since I want to experience a new country?’
As mentioned earlier, we have visited more than 20+ surf destinations and countries over the last 25 years.
Here is our opinion on some of them:
Costa Rica is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and surf tourism is also very present here. There are some fine surf camps and surf resorts in Costa Rica, suitable for an awesome surf holiday.
Pretty country and scenery
Good surf spots
Politically safe country
Plenty of flights to Costa Rica from lots of countries
On average 40 to 70% more expensive than a surf holiday to the Dominican Republic
Travel time from airport to the beach can be between 3-8 hours
The above is our personal opinion of several trips to each and one of the above countries. It’s also far from a definitive list, as there are many more countries in the world who cater for the beginner surfers with suitable surf camps and surf resorts. Other places that you might take into consideration are:
Sayulita Mexico: A charming fishing village just north of Puerto Vallarta; not super consistent for surf, but when there are some waves it’s great fun.
Canary Islands: Off the coast of Morocco are a cluster of islands which are part of Spain. Great winter climate and some fun surf spots.
Maldives: Not cheap for a surf trip, mostly boat charters, but pretty water and fun waves.
If you have any questions about surfing destinations, feel free to send us a message; normally, we’ve been there and can tell you if it’s suitable for you. If you prefer to come back to us in the Dominican Republic at our Surf Retreat , just send us a message with your dates.
The summer is almost over; we are headed into Autumn and then the (often dreaded) long months of Winter.
We all need something to look forward to, so thoughts often turn to next summer’s plans to keep us going through the cold months. Family vacations are always best planned well in advance to make sure of space for your preferred choice.
Perhaps you are all thinking about a family beach vacation; most family holidays understandably involve the beach, who wouldn’t want to be on a sandy beach with their family?
But Mom and Dad, is a sandy beach and the ocean enough to keep the kids entertained for days on end? Wouldn’t you prefer to have something planned which will not only keep the kids entertained and enthralled with the ocean, but also wear them out a little, challenge them and teach them a sporting skill which will stay with them for life?
A FAMILY SURF VACATION
Teaching your kids to surf on a family surf vacation is quite possibly the best choice you could make; let us explain why.
Firstly, learning to surf when a child means that they will pick up this sport way faster than their ‘old’ parents. Kids are normally devoid of fear and have a low centre of gravity, which means they can stand easily and quickly on a surfboard. You can imagine, a small person + a large surfboard (we use soft tops to avoid injury) equals lots of flotation; what every surfer needs. In our experience, kids learn fast and pick up advanced surf skills even faster, like turning and ‘trimming’ the surfboard. It is said that every surf session a young person has is worth 20 sessions for an adult.
Being able to surf opens horizons for kids. There is a ‘spiritual’ aspect to surfing: Without sounding too way-out-there, the feeling of riding the open face of a wave is akin to experiencing real joy. Just you and the wave, gliding. It’s very hard to describe how amazing this feeling is, you just have to take my word for it until you try it yourself.
SWELL’S FAMILY SURF CAMP
At Swell surf camp, we tend to turn people into surfers for life.
People who surf are happier, more fulfilled and calmer and that’s not even taking into account the endless fitness benefits of surfing.
Surfing’s health benefits include cardio-vascular fitness, increased core-strength, stronger arms and legs. It’s great for burning calories with an average burn of 700 calories per surf session. Paddling for a wave is a low impact cardio-vascular exercise. Surfers say you either have a great surf session or a great work-out; it’s win-win. Doesn’t every parent want to set their kids up for life with a healthy, fulfilling passion?
Surfers are also passionate about the planet: As surfers, we see at first hand the damage humans have done to marine life and the water. We’ve all paddled through plastic at some stage in our surfing lives. Teaching your kids to surf will also give them a care of the ocean and the environment they will not be able to learn anywhere else.
A family surfing holiday with us also means the opportunity to do many more activities other than surfing. From Swell, we regularly organise trips like canyoning, snorkeling, horse-riding (on the beach or up in the mountains), 4-wheeler tours, mountain biking, SUP and Yoga
So if you have a child or children who are 8 years old and up, who can already swim (we teach in warm, shallow water, but being able to swim is essential) and would like to plan a family surf vacation at Swell surf camp in summer 2019, do get in touch with us.
Whilst we are talking about learning to surf, don’t only book your child in for surf lessons, make sure you do it too. They may learn faster than you do, but doing something fun, active and meaningful with your child is absolutely priceless. Lastly, as a comforting thought to you if you feel too old to surf, I learned to surf at 51; my only regret is that I had done it so many years earlier when my kids learned themselves.
JOIN US IN 2019
Interested in joining us for a family summer surf camp?
Send us a message today and your family could be off on a one of a kind surf holiday
Picture this. The sun’s shining, the palm trees are swaying, and you’re riding your first ever wave over the crystal clear Caribbean water. There’s no doubt about it, nothing beats surfing!
In addition to having fun and embracing a new challenge, surfing comes with a whole host of other benefits. From improved fitness and better core strength to reducing stress and encouraging you to get outdoors, what’s not to like?
Regardless of age or ability, it’s never too late to learn to surf. You’ll learn to trust yourself and your instincts like never before. We’ve rounded up 7 ways of how surfing will help you live life to the fullest.
Read on to learn more!
You’re Going to Get a Whole Lot Fitter When You Learn To Surf
Surfing comes with many physical health benefits, which is great news for all of you looking to get fitter. In fact, surfing is the perfect combination of strength and cardio training.
When you learn to surf, you’ll be doing a lot of paddling to get used to the board and feeling of the water below. Although this can be a little tiring at first, it’s a killer cardiovascular workout. You’ll have some pretty toned arms by the end of your holiday, that’s for sure.
Your shoulders and back are also going to get stronger and stronger every time you paddle out to catch a wave.
Every element of surfing pushes your strength, agility, balance, and stamina.
Once you’ve learned to pop up on the board (you’ll get there, trust us), your legs and core are going to be working to keep your body balanced and standing upright. That feeling when you’re riding your first wave – however short that moment may be – is something you’ll never forget.
You’re Going to Feel Happier and More ‘Present’
Surfing is a fantastic outlet for releasing stress and tension.
The endorphin’s released through physical activity provide a natural happiness high and immediately make you feel better about the world.
A study of 107 surfers in California investigated the mental health benefits of surfing by asking them to describe how they felt before and after a session. They reported feeling calmer and more tranquil afterwards.
When you’re surfing, there are no distractions of modern life. It’s just you, the water and your board.
Taking on a New Challenge Is Good for the Mind, Body, and Soul
Eleanor Roosevelt famously said: “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
When we learn a new skill or sport, we’re challenging our mind, body, and soul. And when we are faced with something new, we have to work that much harder to get it right. When we achieve our goal, the reward is that much sweeter.
Remember when you learned to ride a bike? It doesn’t come immediately, but before you know it, you’ve got the hang of it! It’s the same with surfing. One day it will click, and you’ll wonder why you’ve taken so long to give it a go.
You’ll Learn More About Yourself
It takes courage to leave your comfort zone behind and connect with something bigger than yourself. Venturing out into the open waves for the first time can seem daunting and alien. But trust us when we say that you will learn more about yourself in an hour learning to surf than you will by lying on the beach trying to get a tan.
You could surprise yourself with your patience, determination, and love for the ocean. Nobody is perfect and learning to surf encourages you to push through fear and doubt.
As in all parts of life, continuous effort and a positive attitude can take you anywhere.
You’ll Meet New People
For many people, surfing isn’t just a sport but a way of life. In fact, surfing is one of the oldest sports on earth and is thought to have originated in Polynesia in 2000 B.C.
Out of a sport marked by salty hair, sandy toes, and colourful boards, a major subculture has emerged. From surf art, surf tourism, and international contests, surfing has captured hearts across the globe.
When you learn to surf, you’ll inevitably meet new people, make new friends and experience the culture of the sport.
Getting Outdoors Is Always A Good Idea
Getting close to nature and really enjoying the natural environment around us is something we should all prioritise. Those who surf often speak of the feeling of overwhelming freedom when they are in the water.
When we’re outdoors, we gain perspective on life. Even when you’re in the beginning stages of learning to surf, you’ll be immersed in the rhythms of the ocean and the great outdoors.
It’s Never Too Late To Learn A New Skill
Nobody wants to reach 80 and think “I wish I done X, Y, and Z.” If learning to surf is on your bucket list, why not get ticking?
Summer time is here, and contrary to popular belief, it’s actually a great time to be on the North Coast of the Domican republic for a surf holiday. Maybe not for expert surfers seeking to find double overhead barrels, but for beginners and intermediate surfers, the DR offers great conditions.
Surfing conditions in the summer in the Dominican republic
Generally wave size between June and September is about 3-4′ or 1,5 meters or waist to chest high. Which we belief to be the best wave size to make quick progress.
Another reason that many of Swell Surf Camp‘s clients keep coming back to Cabarete in the summer time is that the surf is very uncrowded. Swell’s surf transport leaves early in the mornings, and we are usually the first ones at Playa Encuentro for our surf lessons.
Best surfing in the Caribbean
The Dominican Republic is one of the few places in the Caribbean that consistently has waves year round. In general we have about 350 surfable days per year. It might not always be perfect head high and barreling, but if you don’t mind grabbing a longboard in mellow chest high waves, Cabarete is a very consistent surf base in the Caribbean.
Stuff to do in Cabarete
Another reason why many people choose the summer months over winter months is the variety of other water sport activities that are superb in summer time: Kitesurfing and Windsurfing; the tradewinds pick up like clock work everyday at around 1 in the afternoon. There’s a reason why all the pro kitesurfers keep coming back to Cabarete every year.
We have dynamic pricing so if you are flexible on when to come to the DR for a one of a kind surf holiday, check the prices for September and August, they will be discounted, since it’s a bit more quit in Cabarete
during those months.