Surfing in Phuket? You’re joking. We’re not. When you think surfing, you probably think of massive waves in Hawaii, but Phuket is rapidly gaining a reputation as a surfing center. With a dedicated community of surfers, some fabulous beaches, and great waves in the low season, Phuket may not be Hawaii, but it still offers a lot. Here’s your guide to riding the waves in Phuket.
Surf Phuket/ Image via Roberto Trombetta/ Flickr
Phuket Surfing Beaches
From April to November, the low season, most west coast beaches are too dangerous for swimming but perfect for surfing. Most of the beaches on the west coast can be surfed, and although the waves may not be huge, you’ll still have a lot of fun. Try these top surfing spots for a start:
The place to go on Phuket if you want to surf, Kata Beach is the most popular place for this sport. The beach’s southern end is the best, where waves reach a maximum of two meters and are ideal for both beginners and advanced riders.
Kata Beach also has a variety of surf shops with equipment to buy or rent, and there are courses and instructors on hand to give you advice and teach you if you are a beginner. At Kata Beach is the Flow Rider attraction, a surf simulator machine that lets you try out the sport in a safe environment before you hit the natural waves.
Kalim Beach is one of the island’s best surf spots, just north of the famous Patong Beach. Waves reach up to three meters along a 100-meter-long spot. Go at mid or high tide but be careful when getting out as the shore is rocky and there is a shallow reef. There are a few surfing in Phuket contests held at Kalim Beach, and the place is good to hang out after surfing as there are several lovely food stalls and bars.
Nai Harn Beach
You can find different types of surfing in Phuket experiences at Nai Harn Beach. A beach break at the southern end offers a fast and long ride, even when the waves aren’t huge. The north end of the beach has a reef break, and there are some big swells here – perfect for the more experienced surfer. Winds are variable, although you can surf at all tides.
The best surfing spot for more experienced surfers is at the northern end of the beach. Here you will find a tricky reef point break. Kamala Beach also has a lighter section of surf along the coast that goes from the temple to the village, which is suitable for beginners. The central area of the beach has some good waves and is also ideal for more experienced surfers. Go at all tides to surf here in the low season.
Surin Beach is for you if you are an advanced or experienced surfer. This spot has some of the island’s heaviest waves and is recommended for people with some experience. Both ends of the beach are good for surfing, although in the center there are rocks that make it difficult.
Surfing in Phuket/ Image via Phuket@photographer.net/ Flickr
Surfing Equipment and Lessons
The best place to go to rent boards and equipment is Kata Beach. You have a choice of outlets here, so check prices before you sign up. You can hire boards for the hour, the day, or the month. Or there are packages where you buy a certain number of hours and choose when to use them. You will also find surf lessons on offer from these outlets, which also vary in price depending on what company you choose.
If you’re not a beginner but want advice about where to surf, the surf shops are usually happy to help. It is impossible to buy a new board in Phuket as there is little choice and prices are not reasonable. You could buy a secondhand board, usually from a tourist leaving the island who doesn’t want to take it with him. Ask around at the surf shops to see what’s available.
Surfing in Phuket Competitions
There are three annual surf competitions in Phuket. The Phuket Surfing in Phuket Contest on Kata Beach is at the end of August or mid-September each year. The Kamala Go Surfing Contest takes place at the north end of Kamala Beach at the end of August. And the Phuket Boardriders Club contest is on Kalim Beach and usually happens at the end of June.