Surfing – in Phuket? You’re joking, right? Actually, we’re not. When you think surfing you probably think of massive waves on 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 Trm/ Flickr
Phuket Surfing Beaches
From April to November, the low season, most of the west coast beaches are too dangerous for swimming but they are 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 southern end of the beach 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 to 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 real waves.
Located just to the north of the popular Patong Beach, Kalim Beach is one of the island’s best surf spots. Waves reach up to three meters along a 100-meter-lonmg 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 contests held at Kalim Beach and the place is good to hang out after surfing as there are a number of nice food stalls and bars.
Nai Harn Beach
You can find different types of surfing experience at Nai Harn Beach. At the southern end is a beach break that 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 section of beach that goes from the temple to the village, which is good for beginners. The central section of the beach has some good waves and is also suitable for more experienced surfers. Go at all tides to surf here in the low season.
If you are an advanced or experienced surfer then Surin Beach is for you. This spot has some of the island’s heaviest waves and therefore 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 you 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 some advice about where to surf, the surf shops are usually happy to help. It is not really possible to buy a new board in Phuket as there is very little choice and prices are not good. 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.
There are three annual surf competitions on Phuket. The Phuket Surfing Contest on Kata Beach is at the end of August or in 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.
Check out PhuketOn for more information on Phuket beaches, Phuket watersports, and Phuket resorts. For more information about Phuket and to find accommodation, head to PhuketOn.