Which Gold Coast surf school is for you?
If you’re anything like me, you spend your days daydreaming about you and your mates piled into a kombi van, windows down, the smell of sunscreen in the air, cruising along coastal roads in search for the perfect wave like the guys in The Endless Summer. The only problem: I am lacking all kinds of surf skills.
So this year, I’ve decided it’s finally time to learn how to surf. And what better place to do so than the Gold Coast with its 57 kilometres of sun-kissed beaches, home to over a dozen surf schools?
Whether you want to learn to surf where the locals do, hit the waves at Surfers Paradise or train like a pro, you’re guaranteed to find the right coach for you.
So get your surf on, dude. It’s time to hit the beach.
FOR THE BRAG FACTOR: SURF AN ICON WITH GO RIDE A WAVE
If you’re sending hot holiday snaps faster than your friends can hit the unfollow button, there’s one more to add to your list: You under the iconic Surfers Paradise arch on the beach, surfboard in hand that is!
And if this isn’t Baywatch enough, then let me tell you that all of the instructors at Go Ride A Wave are qualified and active lifesavers. I bet now I’ve got you frothing to get in the water. Knowing that you’ll be in safe hands, sign up for a group or private surf lesson.
Tucked away in a little nook right across the road from the iconic Surfers Paradise Beach (seriously, this is their office?) these guys will get you standing up in no time. As you head across to the beach, it’s easy to see why this place is called Surfers Paradise. The endless stretch of golden sand is peppered with bronzed bodies perched on colourful beach towels, fronting the turquoise water dotted with surfers waiting for the next set to roll in. All to the backdrop of a dazzling skyline.
Hot tip: Book online to save. Your travel budget will thank you.
Where: At the top of Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise. With locations in Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach and Kirra.
Ph: (07) 5526 7077
IF YOU WANT TO TRAIN LIKE A PRO: SURFING SERVICES AUSTRALIA
If the thought of your body moving in sync with the ocean tides is reason enough for you to get up at first light, then it’s time to tackle learning how to surf Like. A. Boss. Grab your boardies and see the guys at Surfing Services Australia (you’ll be upgrading to a shortboard before you know it!).
The school is run by five-time Australian surf champion Mark ‘Richo’ Richardson who has coached many a pro, including Joel Parkinson, Courtney Conlogue and even our National Junior Surfing Team. Start off with a beginner lesson and if you can’t get enough of it, Richo can coach you all the way to your first competition.
Classes are held at the drop-dead gorgeous Currumbin Alley, the perfect training ground where you can slowly work your way from surfing the smaller waves near the creek entrance to mastering the right-handers towards the point.
Hot tip: Do you love a bit of wave action just as much as you like a little R&R? Find your zen factor with Surfing Services Australia’s two-hour yoga and surf package.
Where: Cnr of Durrigan Street and Pacific Parade, Currumbin
Ph: (07) 5535 5557
IF YOU WANT TO SURF WHERE THE LOCALS DO: GET WET SURF SCHOOL, GOLD COAST
If you want to surf the Gold Coast’s local beaches, you’ll need to look beyond Surfers Paradise. The tip of Southport’s Spit is so local that you won’t even find a bus stop here. Luckily, Get Wet Surf School can get you there.
Here, waves roll gently into shore, protected by a rock wall on the left and a sand bank in front. This means you won’t have to worry about strong currents or rips and can safely stand in waist-deep water while pushing onto waves.
Voted Queensland’s best surf school on TripAdvisor, the guys from Get Wet Surf School have taught over 45,000 wannabe surfers how to stand up and ride the Gold Coast’s waves. They’re so successful they even promise a full refund if you don’t stand up during your first lesson.
Hot tip: Bring your friends and family along as spectators (and your pooch, too!). After your morning surf, head to the Fishermen’s Co-op down the road to grab some fresh local seafood straight off the trawlers. And did we mention there’s free parking ALL DAY LONG?
Where: The Spit, Seaworld Dr, Main Beach
Ph: 1800 438 938
IF YOU’RE A GIRL AND YOU JUST WANNA HAVE FUN (WITHOUT THE BOYS): SURFING SERVICES AUSTRALIA & WALKIN ON WATER
Imagine you and your posse, chasing the Gold Coast’s best waves and ripping it up like Kate Bosworth in Blue Crush…. Turn your #squadgoals into reality and opt for a ladies-only lesson. Because, you know, (sometimes) it’s more fun without the boys.
Head to the beaches of the Southern Gold Coast and hit the waves with Surfing Services Australia and Walkin on Water who offer dedicated ladies-only learn to surf lessons. The waves here are gentle, the rides long and before you know it, you’ll be weaving through the sets like Stephanie Gilmore.
Where: Surfing Services Australia – Cnr of Durrigan Street and Pacific Parade, Currumbin
Ph: (07) 5535 5557
Where: Walkin on Water – Marine Parade, Coolangatta
Ph: (07) 5534 1886
IF YOU WANT TO SURF WHERE THE PROS DO: COOLANGATTA LEARN TO SURF
Wedged right between the world famous surf breaks of Snapper Rocks and Kirra, you’ll find Rainbow Bay. It’s easy to see why the pros love this end of the Gold Coast.
Apart from the obvious (perfect waves, including one of the longest point breaks in Australia), the mesmerising blues and greens of the ocean, the feeling of sinking your feet into the white sand beneath your feet, and the Surfers Paradise skyline glittering in the distance will leave you in awe.
And although it’s a playground for the pros, it’s also a great training ground for beginners. A long sandbar stretches out right in front of Rainbow Bay, which means it’s protected from strong currents, rips and you’ll get to enjoy looonnnggg rides.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a lesson with Coolangatta Learn to Surf who operate from the Rainbow Bay foreshore. Owner and Head Trainer Dave Davidson is a former professional surfer and has more than 15 years’ experience in coaching Australian and international surf teams. It’s fair to say he knows his surf.
Hot tip: During whale season you might even catch a glimpse of humpback whales frolicking in the distance.
Where: Rainbow Bay foreshore (next to the playground).
Ph: 0417 191 629
IF YOU LIKE A SIDE OF ZEN WITH YOUR SURFING: AUSTRALIAN SURFING ADVENTURES
Yoga and surfing go together like fish and water, and if moments of mindfulness rank just as high on your bucket list as learning to surf, then this one’s for you.
Australian Surfing Adventures have partnered with Haven for Health to run three-day yoga and surf retreats based in the Gold Coast Hinterland (but yet only minutes from the beach). Surrounded by tranquil rainforest, this is the place to recharge body, mind and soul.
Start your day by giving your tired body parts a stretch during a sunrise yoga class and fuelling your body with a clean and green organic breakfast before hitting the beach for a surf. Whether you’re an absolute beginner or seasoned surfer, the team will tee you up with the right instructor who will know just the surf spot for you.
Where: Mudgeeraba, Gold Coast Hinterland
Ph: 1300 499 617
IF YOU PREFER TO STAY DRY AFTER ALL: QUIKSILVER & ROXY PRO
Not (yet) ready to throw yourself into the waves? Then watch the world’s best surfers rip it up at Snapper Rocks during the annual Quiksilver and Roxy Pro. It’s the opening stop of the WSL World Championship Tour which means you’ll get to hang with the likes of Kelly Slater, Filipe Toledo and Matt Wilkinson.
Perch yourself on the rocks and take in the action while topping up on your daily dose of Vitamin D (and mentally taking notes).