surfing encuentro


The question of ‘what level of surfer am I?’ inevitably crops up when you are selecting where to travel, and when to travel to a surf destination (tip; if it doesn’t occur to you, it should). After all, most surf destinations/countries have different surf seasons which may suit different surfing abilities.

If they don’t actually have different seasons, then at least there will be different surf breaks and or tides to consider and match up to your own surfing ability.

what level surfer am i

Here at Swell Surf camp, and at our sister surf hotel, Swell Bali in Indonesia, we are very often tasked with helping a student identify their ‘level’ of surfing and what they are trying to achieve with their surf lessons or surf guiding.


In our experience, most often a student will class themselves as an ‘intermediate’ surfer when they have had a few surf lessons before, but it’s actually not that straightforward. Overestimating your skillset as a surfer will almost inevitably lead to problems/frustration at the very least, and when the ocean is involved there’s an obvious element of danger too. We really want to avoid giving any student a frightening surf experience which could end up putting them off surfing for life.

what level surfer am i
So for us, there are many things which help define what level of surfing you are at. For example, you might have only been surfing a short time (perhaps a few months), but have been lucky enough to get loads of water time, plus the right surfboard and good surf conditions, in which case your progression could have been quite rapid.

But perhaps like many novice surfers we encounter, they’ve already been trying to surf for a while, but just haven’t managed to make any big ‘leaps’ forward.

This could be for any number of reasons. Some examples would be; regularly visiting a surf break which doesn’t enjoy good waves, and/or going out on a board which is too small, and/or choosing to surf in the wrong conditions (which don’t suit your ability), and/or not being very skilled at wave selection and/or (hopefully not) poor surf instruction initially which might have led to you developing some bad habits.

As a result of all these factors, it’s clearly not reliable to accurately define our level of surfing ability just by considering the length of time you’ve been surfing or the number of surf lessons you have taken.

Instead, we can gauge with far more accuracy what level of surfer you really are by actually assessing the skills you have managed to master so far in the water.

What do we mean by that?

In our many years of experience giving surf lessons at many different levels, we usually find surfers classing themselves in one of the 4 following categories; Beginner, Intermediate, Expert or Pro.

But we don’t agree with only using 4 categories as it takes an awful lot of water time and good conditions to progress from Beginner to Intermediate: It is widely accepted that an Intermediate surfer already possesses a lot of surfing skills.


For us at Swell, we feel there should actually be 7 stages of surfing. We find it really useful with our surf lessons or surf guiding to very accurately assess someone’s surf skills by using these 7 categories, clearly stating the skills mastered within each stage.


  7. PRO.

Experts and Pros don’t need our help of course, but we do find the subtle changes and skill sets required, especially to get from the Beginner to the Intermediate stage, are worthy of being defined and given their own name as there are so many nuances to take into account with a surfer’s development, especially in the early stages. Let’s talk about those stages and what they mean to us.



A beginner is exactly that, someone who is just beginning surfing, new to the sport, with no previous surf lessons or surf experience. You will have no idea at all about any aspect of surfing and need complete surf instruction right from the very basics (no shame in that by the way). We love complete beginners at Swell and always give our beginners some exercises they can begin at home to prepare for the rigours of paddling especially, plus tips on how to pop up so that by the time they arrive for their surf holiday/vacation they have a bit of a head start.
beginner surf level

You will be needing to learn:

  • The names of the various parts of the surfboard
  • Aspects of water safety
  • Whether you have a ‘goofy’ stance or a ‘regular’ stance
  • How to lie on the board
  • How to sit on the surfboard in the water
  • How to paddle
  • How to pop-up
  • How it feels to catch a wave and be ‘propelled’
  • How to stand up once you have caught a wave
  • How to improve your stance for balance as the wave carries you
  • Basic theory about how waves are formed
  • How to identify a good wave to catch
  • When to start paddling for the wave

Recommended board for a beginner, adult, average weight :

9’0” long  Soft top surfboard with lots of volume

Ideal wave height:

1′ to 3′ (half a meter to 1 meter) white water / broken waves.


The NOVICE stage applies to you if you have taken some surf lessons before or even visited one or two surf camps in the past and have already mastered the skills listed above. You should also be able to;

Paddle into white water waves or even small green waves unaided (i.e. not being pushed into the wave by someone else)
Able to pop-up on the surfboard and ride for a few meters without falling
Paddle yourself back into position ready for the next wave
Novice surf level

You will be aiming to do the following:

  • Start to read and select waves (learning which ones to leave and which to paddle for)
  • Improve your stance on the surfboard to get ready for;
    trimming (turning slightly) the surfboard to start to ride ‘down the line’ instead of only going in a straight line
  • Learn about surf etiquette

Recommended board for a novice surfer, adult, average weight :

8’0 to 9’0”  Soft or hard top top surfboard

Ideal wave height:

2′ to 4′ (half a meter to 1.2meters) white water / broken waves.


The progressive stage applies to you if you have already mastered the skills of the BEGINNER AND NOVICE surfer levels above and are now out of the whitewater (i.e. you are now able to ride shoulder/head-high green, unbroken waves). To recap, we would refer to you as a progressive surfer if you can already do the following:

  • Paddle easily out to a break
  • Understand and able to follow priority/surf etiquette in the line-up
  • Read waves and make correct decisions whether or not to take one or not
  • Paddle unaided into chest/head-high waves
  • Pop up quickly with ease
  • Have a good stance on the surfboard
  • Speed up the surfboard on the wave to enable gentle turning:
  • Able to surf a ‘wavy-line’ along the face of a wave, keeping ahead of the whitewater when a wave is not closing out
  • Paddle back out to the line up unaided after taking your wave

Progressive surf level
As a progressive surfer, you will be aiming to achieve the following:

  • Learn how to make a more drastic top turn and bottom turns
  • Taking steeper drops (paddling into larger waves)

Recommended board for a progressive surfer, adult, average weight :

7’0 to 8’0”  Hard top surfboard

Ideal wave height:

2′ to 4′ (half a meter to 1.2meters) unbroken waves.


An intermediate surfer will have mastered all the skills above; to briefly recap you are an INTERMEDIATE surfer if you can already do the following:

  • Paddle into overhead or larger waves
  • Keep your speed up on a wave to stay ahead of the white water
  • Make more drastic top turns and a bottom turns

As an intermediate surfer, you will probably be aiming to achieve the following:

Intermediate surfer level

  • Learn how to do ‘cutbacks’ (a sharp turn back into the steep part of the wave to make more of a wave’s face)
  • Begin to ‘stall’ yourself on the wave to try to get ‘barrelled’
  • Start learning how to climb on top of the wave’s lip, referred to as a ‘floater’
  • Learn how to come ‘off the lip’ sharply and back into the wave

Recommended board for a progressive surfer, adult, average weight :

6’8″ to 7’8”  Hard top surfboard

Ideal wave height:

3′ to 5′ (1 meter to 1.6meters) unbroken waves.


A surfer who is at an advanced stage is already able to do the following:

  • Has excellent wave selection
  • Can make controlled high-speed bottom and top turns
  • Can round-house cutback into the steep part of the wave
  • Can get barrelled in medium-height waves
  • Can easily manage a larger, wider bottom turn to rush ahead of a close-out section and re-enter an unbroken part of the wave
  • Can make off-the-lip manoeuvres
  • Floaters

Advanced surfer level
Recommended board for an advanced surfer, adult, average weight :

6’0″ to 6’8”  Hard top surfboard

Ideal wave height:

4′ to 7′ (1.2 meters to 2 meters) unbroken waves.


Expert surfers, and of course Pro surfers, don’t need to have an explanation of what they can achieve on a wave as they have inevitably mastered all the techniques described above + a lot more. 360’s, aerials and being barrelled in huge waves are usually all in their repertoire.
Expert surfer level

This article is aimed more at explaining the difference between the first 5 stages of surfing so that as a surfer with less experience, you can let surf camps or surf hotels like us correctly judge where we should be advising you to surf, what type of surf lesson you might need, or whether you are better off just going out with a surf guide.

Recommended board for an advanced surfer, adult, average weight :

5’5″ to 6’5”  Hard top surfboard

Ideal wave height:

5′ and up


It’s a really terrible idea to overstate your surf experience; not least because you will very likely end up in the wrong surf spot for your ability which can inevitably lead to serious injury, or worse.

Having a frightening experience in waves too large for your skillset can set you back for months if not years. Any good surf coach or guide will quickly progress you through stages if they can see you are able: Noone is going to deliberately hold you back and many surf coaches will naturally push you a little out of your comfort zone as that is generally how we all progress. Surfing is a life-long commitment of learning: Even Pro’s will tell you they are still honing/improving skills on every single wave they take.

We are in the process of making an interactive level guide to help you identify your current surfing-skill set.

Once you have correctly established where you are in your stages of learning, come and see us at Swell Bali, or Swell Surf Camp in the Dominican Republic; we’d love to help you keep getting better! Our luxury surf coaching holidays have taught 1000’s of people the sport of surfing in a safe, fun and quick way. If you need any more assistance in ‘diagnosing’ your surf level, just drop us a line and we will try to help out.

We hope you like this article of “what level of surfer am I?” if you do, you might also like the following article: different surfboard and which boards are best suited at which stage of your surfing level, have a look at this page: Different surfboards
Our luxury surf coaching holidays have taught 1000’s of people the sport of surfing in a safe, fun and quick way.

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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 Swell Surf Instructor
Ricci Swell Surf Instructor

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

Surfing Encuentro
Morning at Playa Encuentro
Encuentro surf lessons
Encuentro surf lessons
Swell Surfboards
Swell Surfboards
Groups Shots
Groups Shots
Playa Encuentro
Playa Encuentro
Swell visitor
Swell visitor
Playa Encuentro golden morning light
Playa Encuentro golden morning light

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.


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:

    1. Lee (english) – Surf Instructor
    1. Ricci (Italian) – Surf Instructor
    1. Neno (Dominican) – Surf Instructor
    1. Jeffrey (Dominican) – Surf Instructor
    1. 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.


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

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surf holiday beginner

The Best Worldwide Beginner Surf Destinations

Even though our surf camp is in the Dominican Republic, we are also surfers ourselves and have traveled extensively for years in the search for waves to catch.

Based on our experience, here are our top beginner surf destinations in the world, which could also suit intermediate and expert surfers.

Dominican Republic.

We must begin with one of our own places of course: Swell Cabarete is located on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic. We very deliberately chose this location after having visited many countries around the globe which might have been suitable as a place to build a surf camp, especially a surf camp which offers perfect, complete-beginner waves for learning to surf.

The boxes we feel that must be ticked to be considered a great beginner surf destination are as follows:

  • 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 need to be able to offer our guests surfable waves at least 300+ days of the year.

The North coast delivers on this, with at least 340+ days of surfable waves at Playa Encuentro.

surfing dominican republic

Waves for multiple levels of surfers

Of course, not everyone is a beginner surfer, so in order to consistently make it into the top ten surfing destinations, a great surf camp needs to cater not just for complete beginners, but for intermediate and even expert surfers. Fortunately for us at Swell in Cabarete, 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 any dangers in or out of the water?

Playa Encuentro is also 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 and sharks as can be seen in certain parts of Costa Rica) so the Dominican Republic scores very highly on this element too. It also helps to have 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 hear 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, completely unspoiled surf beach.

neno swell

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 (code POP). Santiago International airport (airport code STI) is one and a half hours away. Santo Domingo international airport (airport code SDQ) is also an option at 3 hours car journey time and with buses on offer running north every hour during the day.

Because Cabarete and Playa Encuentro ticked all the right boxes, that’s where we put our first, purpose-built surf camp.  We haven’t talked much about other important criteria, such as choice and quality of food, the beauty of beaches, additional activities on offer, or an available party scene when required, but Cabarete has all of these too, so it still remains our firm No.1 complete-beginner surf destination.

We have clients who come and visit us year after year and always at some point, they ask us ‘Are there any other surf camp destinations that you can recommend to me since I love the whole Swell experience, but want to visit a new country?’ Because of this, we have just completed our 2nd Surf hotel, Swell Bali

Bali & Indonesia

Indonesia is widely regarded as one of the best countries in the world for surf.  It enjoys 100’s of world-class surfing spots dotted along its many thousands of different islands.  But Bali in particular is famous for its waves: A small island with a huge variety of surf spots to suit surfers of all levels, from complete beginners to experts looking for big barrels.  It’s the home of legendary waves like Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Impossibles and Bingin.  These are only a handful of what’s on offer though, there are tons more and all within a short distance.   Bingin village is the location we chose to build our new Bali Surf Hotel.  Bingin is one of the best waves in Bali at low tide, but at higher tides is an ideal place to learn to surf or to get those smaller green waves intermediate surfers love.


    • High-quality surf for surfers of all levels
    • Year-round surf
    • Bali’s surfing beaches are all within a short drive from the international airport of Denpasar (DPS)
    • Warm water year-round
    • Stunning scenery
    • Serene Hindu culture
    • Notoriously friendly Balinese people
    • Famously delicious and cheap local food + a huge variety of good Western restaurants at very reasonable prices.
    • Lots to do other than surfing


  • Bali is usually quite a long journey from Europe and the Americas.
  • Can be rainy between December and March

More info in available here:  surfing in Bali

Where else in the world can you learn to surf? 

As mentioned earlier, we have also visited more than 20+ surf destinations and countries over the last 25 years in our search for waves and fun.  Here is our honest opinion on some of them:

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is still one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and surf tourism is growing fast there.  It’s mountainous and beautiful and there are some fine surf camps and surf resorts in Costa Rica, suitable for an awesome surf holiday.


  • Very pretty country and scenery
  • Famous for its nature and animal/reptile species
  • Some good surf spots available
  • Lots of eco-tourism
  • Politically safe country
  • Plenty of flights to Costa Rica from lots of countries


  • Costa Rica has become very expensive in recent years: on average 40 to 70% more expensive than a surf holiday to another comparable destination such as Bali or the Dominican Republic
  • Many of the surf areas are remote and require long road journeys or another internal flight once you have arrived at San Jose airport.  Travel time from the airport to the beach can be between 4 and 8 hours depending on where you stay.
  • The surf can be crowded these days
  • Theft is an issue
  • People say that Costa Rica has become too ‘Americanised’
  • Not a wide choice for eating out in these remote surfing areas and food choices can be very limited/rather expensive
  • Some known water hazards, such as crocodiles at river mouth spots.

More info on surfing in Costa Rica as a surf destination for beginners:


Nicaragua is less popular than it’s neighbor Costa Rica, basically because of fairly regular political turmoil.  Tourism only started to take off 20 or so years ago and it’s much less developed than its neighbour, which can be seen as a real plus.  Like Costa Rica, it’s also a beautiful country.


  • 30-40% cheaper than Costa Rica
  • Offshore winds create very clean surf conditions


  • Not a large variety of good beginner surfing spots
  • Travel distances between surf spots is very long
  • Not a wide choice of dining available
  • Recent political unrest is again causing instability

More info on surfing in Nicaragua


Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing. Year-round warm weather and water and great beginner waves around the south coast of Oahu make it a great place to have your first surfing experience.


  • Beautiful scenery and beaches
  • A safe place to visit
  • Plenty of other activities besides surfing
  • Great surf for expert surfers


  • Very expensive (there are only a few surf camps but they are pretty basic and tend to be double or triple the price of Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.)
  • Very, very crowded in the water leading to well-known local aggression.

More info on surf camps in Hawaii:



If you are based in Europe then one of the most popular places people go surfing is to Portugal.  The long, exposed coastline with plenty of beaches is suitable for surfers of all levels.  Portugal is also rich in culture, especially around Lisbon.


  • There are plenty of cheap and basic surf camps (please note that these tend to be more suitable for 18 to 25-year-olds)
  • Variety of surf spots suitable for people of all levels
  • Surf & culture & city life close to Lisbon


  • Coldwater year-round so you will need to bring and wear a wetsuit at all times of the year
  • There are literally 100’s of surf camps and schools so it’s surfboard mayhem at times.
  • Because of the cheap nature of the majority of surf schools, they tend to teach in very large groups; often 20 students to one surf coach
  • Cold air temperature between November and April
  • Basic food choices in the north of Portugal (more choice towards the Algarve region).

More info on surf holidays in Portugals:

Sayulita, Mexico:

A charming fishing village just north of Puerto Vallarta; it’s one of the most beautiful Mexican towns we have ever visited.  We actually lived there for 10 months whilst we researched its possibility as a new surf camp for Swell.  The food and ambiance in Sayulita is wonderful.  In the end, we left because of its rather inconsistent surf, but when there are some waves it’s great fun.


  • Stunning town and some really fun surf out front.
  • Within a short drive, there are a variety of surf spots suitable for people of all levels
  • Incredible food on offer in the town.


  • Surf gets very busy
  • Mexico’s infamous cartel crime hangs a shadow over the area, even though we found Sayulita to feel safe
  • It’s rather expensive to stay there
  • The water in Sayulita bay can get rather dirty.

Canary Islands

This group of islands lies off the coast of Morocco and are a part of Spain.   Rugged and volcanic (not active volcanos) the landscape of most of the islands is dramatically barren and in places resembles the moon-surface.  The Canary Islands have a great winter climate (Nov to April) and some fun surf spots.


  • Easy to get to from Europe
  • Quite a few surf spots dotted around most of the Canary Islands (Lanzarote, Tenerife and Fuerto Ventura have the best surf spots)
  • Good climate


  • Surf gets very busy
  • The Canary Islands are notoriously wind-swept, so many surf spots get blown out by mid-morning.
  • You will need a wet-suit year-round as the water is always cold
  • They are known as cheap islands to stay on, which for some is an advantage, but if you are looking for any kind of luxury, it’s hard to find.


This group of atols has some fun surf and has been described as a mini version of Indonesia.  Generally, it’s pretty expensive to stay there.  A lot of boat charters operate in the region.


  • Stunning, unspoiled islands
  • Fun surf for all levels
  • Warm water


  • It’s a bit of a trek to get there
  • Expensive
  • Can be considered as being rather dull post-surf as there is very little to do
  • Alcohol is prohibited.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a relative newcomer to the surf holiday market but has gained a reputation for having some fun waves.   There are two provinces with very different surf seasons, so make sure that you do your research on where you should go at what time.


  • A variety of surf spots
  • Warm water
  • Great local food
  • Relatively inexpensive


  • Strong monsoon season
  • Crowd levels
  • Long-distance between surf spots.

All of the above entries are based on our experience with several trips to each of the countries mentioned.   We haven’t commented on places we haven’t experienced ourselves, so it’s far from a definitive list.  There are many more countries in the world that cater to beginner surfers with suitable surf camps and surf resorts.

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 and see us in either of our two fabulous Swell locations, please do check out Swell surf camp in the Dominican Republic or our brand new location, Swell Bali in Indonesia,  you can contact us easily by using the contact us links on either of those websites.

Enjoy the waves wherever you go!

Jeroen & Clare
Owners Swell Surf Camp


Located on the scenic north coast of the Dominican Republic is our purpose-built surf resort

We cater for surfers of all levels, from beginners to expert surfers who are looking for an active surf holiday

Swell offers full surf packages holidays


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beginner surf destinations

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surfing encuentro

A family surf trip!

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.

Family surf vacationPerhaps 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?


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.

Family surf campBeing 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.


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.


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

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7 Reasons to Ride the Waves and Learn to Surf

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

learn to surf holidaysSurfing 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’

happy surf campSurfing 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

learn to surf holidayIt 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

surf schoolFor 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

sunrise surfingGetting 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?

And you don’t have to be 21 to learn to surf either!
We have taught people in their 40’s – 50’s and 60’s how to surf

One British man, Paul, learned to surf when he was 61 years old and hasn’t looked back since.

“It’s opened up a new dimension in my life. A feeling of freedom. You’re basically on your own, on your surfboard in the sea…one to one,” Paul said.

At Swell we aim to be the best surf camp for adults who want to learn the sport of surfing.


Final Thoughts

Staying fit and active is always beneficial, but when you’re outside doing something you love and learning a new skill in the process, it feels that much more rewarding.


Have a look at the following pages to see if the learn to surf holidays we offer are something that would suit you.

Swell offers adult surf camps for people people that are looking for the best place to learn to surf



Check out our prices here.

How about a Family Surf Holiday?

In the popular kids vacation weeks, christmass, summer holiday we are also open for familiy surf holidays to join Swell.
Ready to buy your first surfboard? read our guide on choosing your first surfboard

Single / Solo Traveller? Read this article why Swell is the place for you

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Summer in Dominican Republic

Summer in Cabarete

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.

See the magicseaweed and Windguru forecasts on surfing and kitesurfing conditions in Cabarete in summer

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.

Rememeber that swell offer year round surf & yoga holiday, or Yoga and Kitesurf camp. Molly gives Yoga sessions 3 times per week in Swell’s backyard.


Looking for a good surf camp deal?

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.

More info on the surfing in the Dominican republic can be found on this website with surf spots and travel tips for a surf holiday to the Dominican Republic

Want to stay up to date what is going on at the #1 surf camp in the Caribbean?
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Want to join us on a yoga & surf camp holiday ?

For those interested in learning to kitesurf on their caribbean, here’s a good starter guide

For more information on kitesurfing Dominican Republic visit this page which has a full kitesurfing dominican republic travel guide

If you are looking for more info on the seasons in the Dominican Republic:

Best time to visit the Dominican Republic

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