January 30, 2023 5 min read

For those who have always dreamed of riding the waves and feeling the thrill of surfing, choosing the right spot is essential. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, finding an ideal location can make all the difference in your experience. Whether you’re looking for big swells or small ones, shallow reefs, or long-boarding points, there are some key tips to keep in mind when selecting a surf spot. From understanding ocean conditions to exploring local breaks and learning about hazards like rip currents and standing waves, it’s important to do your research before hitting the water. With this guide on how to choose the best surfing spots near you, you can be sure that your next beach adventure will be one for the books!

1. Research ocean conditions:

Before you can choose the right spot, it’s important to understand the prevailing ocean conditions. Check out tide charts and surf reports to get an idea of what kind of waves you can expect at a particular beach or spot. Consider factors like wave size, direction, power, and speed so that you can determine which areas are best suited for different levels of experience. Also, make sure you check the wind conditions; if it’s blowing offshore, it can create a higher wave. For instance, when the wind is blowing offshore, it can create a higher wave.

girl surfing

2. Explore local breaks:

Surfing spots vary greatly depending on the region and terrain. Get to know your local area by exploring different beaches and shorelines. You’ll find that each spot has its own unique characteristics—from rocky points, sandbars, coral reefs, coves, and lagoons—that can provide different types of waves for whatever kind of surfing you'd like to do. Also, consider if the beach is suitable for long-boarding or paddle boarding as well. For instance, if you choose an estuary then you should know that the water is likely to be calmer and there’s a higher chance of encountering marine life. So, do some research, and don’t be afraid to explore the area.

3. Learn about hazards:

It’s important to understand the potential hazards before you hit the water. From rip currents, standing waves, and shallow reefs, all these can pose a risk if you’re not familiar with them. Always check for any warning signs posted at the beach and make sure that you are aware of how to stay safe in different areas. Local surfers or lifeguards may also be able to give advice on what areas are best for certain skill levels or where it's safest to surf near shorelines. In addition, make sure to wear the proper gear such as a wetsuit and flotation device, which can help keep you safe when out in the water.

4. Check the rules:

Some beaches may have restrictions in place so be sure to check with local authorities before heading out. For instance, some spots may require a permit or are closed during certain times of the year. Also, it’s important to be mindful of other beachgoers and respect their space while you’re surfing. Always follow all regulations and obey any posted signs when selecting a spot for your next surf session. Also, consider if there are any nearby amenities like changing facilities, showers, and restaurants. For instance, if you’re looking for a good spot to relax and enjoy some food after your session, make sure there are nearby places available.

5. Have the right gear:

Having the right gear is essential for any successful surf session. Make sure to have a good wetsuit and flotation device so that you can stay comfortable and safe in the water. Also, make sure you have a board that’s suitable for your particular skill level as well as fins, wax, leashes, and other accessories. Finally, don’t forget to bring along sunscreen, snacks, and plenty of water so that you can enjoy your session without worrying about getting dehydrated or sunburned. This will help you make the most of your time in the water and ensure that you have a great experience. Also, consider investing in books and magazines about surfing to help you further your knowledge of the sport.

6. Learn from experienced surfers:

If you’re a beginner, it’s important to find experienced surfers who can provide advice and guidance. This will help you understand the fundamentals of surfing as well as staying safe in the water. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and take notes so that you can remember what they tell you. Also, don’t be scared to join a local surfing community or club; this is an excellent way to meet other surfers and get tips while out on the waves. Furthermore, consider taking some classes or lessons if possible so that you can learn how to properly maneuver your board in different situations.

great surfing spot

7. Avoid places with constant bad weather:

As a surfer, you should always check weather forecasts before heading out. Constant bad weather will prevent you from having any enjoyable sessions and may even be dangerous. Look for spots with more consistent winds, waves, and temperatures.

Also, consider the time of year—some beaches are better in the summer months while others are ideal during wintertime. Doing this will help ensure that you get the best possible experience when hitting the waves.

8. Have fun:

Finally, remember to have fun! Surfing is an amazing activity that can provide hours of entertainment but it’s essential to stay safe while doing so. Always check the conditions first and make sure to bring all the necessary gear before heading out into the surf. This is because the ocean can be unpredictable, so it’s important to take all the necessary precautions. Also, don’t forget to appreciate the beauty of nature and have a good time in the process.

Surfing can be a thrilling and enjoyable experience, however, it’s important to take the necessary precautions before hitting the waves. By following these tips on selecting a good spot, having the right gear, and learning from experienced surfers you will ensure that your next session is safe and fun. Always check weather forecasts beforehand to avoid bad conditions, respect other beachgoers and abide by any rules in place at certain spots. Doing this will help make sure that you have an amazing time when out surfing! 

Author - Fred Felton
Fred Felton          

Content Creator / Editor

Fred Felton is a copywriter, editor and social media specialist based in Durban, South Africa. He has over 20 years of experience in creating high end content. He has worked with some of the biggest brands in the world. Currently Fred specialises in the adventure watersports space, focussing on surf, kayak and rafting. He is also a keynote speaker and has presented talks and workshops in South Africa.

Sign up for our Newsletter

Spin to win Spinner icon