Soul & Surf is an idyllic spot to learn the moves, says Condé Nast Traveller’s Spa Guide. It is located in the village of Varkala, “swaddled by palm trees on red cliffs above the Arabian Sea”. It has 15 bedrooms and offers surfing tuition to all ages, given by professional teachers.
Once the classes are over, the sunset plays backdrop for rooftop yoga, followed by films projected onto a sheet hung beneath the palms. “This place isn’t for gnarly obsessives – it’s more an Indian main course with a side of surfing.”
• £189 per person for seven days, including daily surf guiding – SoulAndSurf.com.
Surf culture is sweeping central America and it has taken hold even in El Paredon, a quiet Guatemalan fishing village, says Henry Shukman in the Financial Times. Three new hotels have opened there in the last 18 months, including Surf House – think “bedrooms on stilts with hammocks underneath and lofty roofs to catch the ocean breeze, Crusoe-style”. The surf sites predict “heavy, messy swells” at El Paredon, “totally unsurfable by most, especially rank novices”. And they’re right.
So for a helping hand search out 18-year-old surfing instructor and El Paredon native Efren Aguilar, and he will guide you to the best sites and get you on your feet. “‘Arriba! Arriba!’ he yelled over the crash of the waves… and suddenly we’d be on our feet, riding a face, not sure how we’d got there, catching a swift ride before mayhem broke out all around, and I’d find myself churned in a roil of warm gritty foam.”
• £75 per night for two; ParedonSurf.com.
Punta Hermosa, a district south of the Lima Province well off the tourist trail, has attracted surf fanatics for decades, says Marisol Mosquera in The Guardian. It is home to the surfing star Sofia Mulánovich, winner of the World Surfing Championships in Hawaii in 2004, and surfing there has become more of a religion than a pastime.
To soak up what it really means to the locals, visit the Kon-Tiki Surfboard Museum, which houses an impressive shrine to Peruvian surf culture. “It’s an inherent part of the community, and surfers young and old come together to bond over the best breaks in the country.”
• See Aracari.com.
As the host of its very own annual surf competition, Biarritz has quickly becomethe “surf capital of Europe”, says Anne Gorringe in the Daily Express. The city beach, Grand Plage, offers a taste of the ever-growing surf culture along with the luxury of the famous Hotel du Palais, a place to retire for a drink by the pool.
Biarritz is a city with “an interesting mix of designer shops and a casino with surf shops and well-priced bars just yards away”. The Palacito Paradiso is right in the centre of town, with friendly staff and an open-air terrace. It’s got a chic bar and a resident DJ in the evenings.
• See Palacito.fr.
Britain exhibits its love of surfing
Pete Robinson, a collector of surf boards and paraphernalia, opened the Museum of British Surfing back in 2012 in Braunton, north Devon. It is perfectly placed, situated in the “true home of UK surfing”, where in the 1920s locals rode the breakers on wooden planks, called coffin lids.
The museum has gone from strength to strength, says Martin Dunford in The Independent. It is Britain’s self-appointed national surf museum and it shows that not only is surfing an activity to be enjoyed, but it’s also a sport with an interesting history. Visit and see a photo of south Devonian Agatha Christie holding a board at Waikiki, where the author became one of the first Britons ever to master stand-up surfing. It is “worth visiting whether you’re a battle-hardened surf dude or just a beginner looking for context and inspiration”.