Catch a Wave at One of These 7 Go-To Spots for Surf and SUP Retreats in 2023

There’s something deeply relaxing about floating atop the ocean, moving with its rhythms, that lends itself well to getting yourself in tune with Mother Nature. Whether you enjoy connecting with the ocean’s power as you surf its breaking waves or prefer the relaxing, gentle bob of its calm swells passing beneath your stand-up paddleboard, there’s nothing quite like being at one with the sea when you need to unplug and unwind. An SUP or surf retreat affords you the perfect opportunity to pause your busy schedule and catch your breath, and then feel yourself reconnect with nature as you catch perfect waves...

Costa Rica

The wild and rugged Pacific coastline of Costa Rica is one of the top spots in Central America to catch the perfect wave. And if you are looking for the perfect setting, surrounded by incredible nature, the Osa Peninsula, close to the Panamanian border, will not disappoint. Dubbed the most adventurous corner of Costa Rica, the peninsula’s surfing is spectacular, with pristine reef breaks sweeping in from the Pacific Ocean throughout the year.

Waves of all sizes roll in, and there are surf spots to suit all levels. During the SUP or surf retreats, you will be guided to the best waves for your ability and coached into improving your techniques. With virgin rainforest, home to monkeys, jaguars, tapirs, and a slew of exotic birdlife, just yards away beyond the beachline. It’s rough; it’s rugged; it’s a true surfer’s paradise.


The Kingdom of Morocco sits at the northwest corner of the vast African continent. While its northernmost point forms the southern side of the gateway to the Mediterranean, the west Moroccan coastline faces the Atlantic Ocean’s full force, and the surf can be pumping. Dotted along the coastline are several Berber fishing villages, offering access to the powerful Atlantic waves.

Taghazout, Tamraght, and Essaouira are all excellent choices when the trade winds are blowing during the winter months. Essaouira, the northernmost of these towns, famously played host to Jimi Hendrix, Orson Welles, and Winston Churchill in the past and was a filming location for Game of Thrones. Its southern beach offers a great beach break, often suitable for beginner surfers as well as SUP and kiteboarding, while the more southern towns of Taghazout and Tamraght are known for their right-hand point breaks as well as their beach breaks and reefs.


Hawaii, the undisputed home of surfing, lingers at the top of many surfers’ bucket lists, and with very good reason. The Aloha State sits 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) southwest of the contiguous United States, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Of the state’s eight main islands, seven are inhabited, and only six are open to tourists. Of these six, O’ahu’s north shore and Maui are two great options for a surf camp combined with a yoga retreat.

A relaxing pre-surf yoga session limbers and loosens the body up before facing the mighty Pacific waves. While Hawaii is famed for its monster waves, there are plenty of waves and breaks available to suit all levels, and beginners are more than welcome at the Hawaiian surf camps.


The majority of the Iberian Peninsula’s western edge is located in Portugal, and its southwest corner, the Algarve, is home to some of the best surf spots in Portugal. Lagos and Sagres are both popular spots with surfers, while farther north, Arrifana also boasts excellent surf.

The south and west coasts of the Algarve region boast an array of waves to suit all styles and levels, all accessible via a short drive. With stunning beaches nestled amongst white-washed Portuguese fishing villages, the Algarve is a perfect place to reconnect with nature and take your surfing or SUP skills to the next level.


While Spain’s neighbor, Portugal, has taken up the prime locations on the Iberian Peninsula’s west and south coasts, its northern coast is also a great surf destination. The town of Somo, in the Bay of Biscay, is one such prime location. Away from the north coast of the Iberian Peninsula, the Canary Island group is also a superb location for SUP and surf retreats.

The Canaries consist of seven main islands—Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, and El Hierro—and are located in the Atlantic Ocean, around 100 miles west of the Moroccan coastline. Their climate has long since made them popular with kiteboarders and windsurfers, and they are gaining popularity as the home of SUP and surf retreats, with Fuertaventura and Lanzarote being especially good choices.


Whether you seek the raw power of Western Australia’s waves or the impressive pointbreaks of Queensland, the city beaches of Sydney, or the cooler-water waves of Victoria, Australian surf serves up something for everyone. Injidup Beach and Surfers Point, to the south of Perth, are popular spots with a mix of right- and left-handers and beach and reef breaks.

If the east coast tickles your fancy more than the cooler west, check out the chilled-out vibe in Byron Bay, just south of Brisbane, and Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. Byron’s relaxed atmosphere is the perfect setting for a yoga and surf retreat. Byron Bay’s local breaks are somewhat protected and can be dependent on the weather, while a short drive to the south brings you to the more exposed beaches.

East or west, Australia is a country with a long tradition of wave riding, and the surf and SUP retreats dotted along its vast coastline offer the perfect escape from city life and routine.


Indonesia’s Island of the Gods, Bali, has long been a magnet for surfers from all over the world. Its reef breaks are legendary, and the island of Bali offers the perfect serene setting for reconnecting with nature. For the best surf in Bali, check out its southwestern beaches, with the section of coastline between Tanah Lot Temple to the north of Kuta and Uluwatu Temple on the Bukit Peninsula being particularly prone to great waves. Bali’s breaks offer waves for all skill levels, and the best time of the year is the dry season, between May and September.

For a more rugged, off-the-beaten-path experience, go west and hit Sumatra. The sixth-largest island in the world boasts an expansive west coast facing the Indian Ocean and features some hidden-gem surf and SUP retreats away from the madding crowds. The peak swell season in this part of the world runs from April through October, and the area close to Padang is especially appealing for experienced surfers. The mix of reef breaks and beach breaks means there are some more gentle waves too, and with uncrowded line-ups, you’re sure to catch some memorable waves in Sumatra.

Our Final Thoughts...

Each of the destinations above is well known to surfers around the world for its superb breaks. When looking for a SUP or surf retreat, the location’s character is as important as its breaks. Costa Rica, Sumatra, Morocco, and Western Australia all offer retreats in remote and peaceful locations, while Hawaii, eastern Australia, Bali, and the Iberian nations offer more convenient travel options to reach their tucked-away camps and retreats. Beach yoga, pumping surf, and proximity to some of nature’s wildest and most impressive coastlines make a surf or SUP camp the ideal way to disconnect from your routine and reacquaint yourself with the power and the beauty of our natural world.


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