I saw them leaving almost every day.
Solo travelers in the 20-something age range loading their boards onto a car to go surfing. They met at the hostel and bonded over Kauai's waves.
Me? I don't surf.
But I could see and understand the energy and excitement of going out for the day. It resembled my experience of going skiing alone and meeting up with people for a few runs or the full day. (Read A Solo Ski Trip is a Social Affair and Travel Solo for a Rocky Mountain High.)
I've covered solo skiing on the site. I think it's time to cover solo surfing.
And because I'm certainly not an expert on the topic and I'm wondering whether it's too late for me to try surfing, I turned to Rapture Camps for some advice on solo surfing. With surfcamps in three countries, Portugal, Bali and Nicaragua, Simon on their team had the answers.
Answers to Seven Solo Surfing Questions
How should I choose a destination? I've done a bit of research looking at Indonesia, Central America, Sri Lanka, Portugal and Morocco. How do I choose the right destination at the right time of year according to my skill level?
Simon's answer: “You're right about the hotspots of surfing. They all work for any skill level. The key is to choose the right destination at the right time of year. For example Morocco pretty much only goes from October till April. Portugal goes from April till October due to the bad weather and storm within the European region at other times. Indonesia goes all year long but the main season is June till the end of October as after that the rainy seasons starts.”
What's a surf camp? There are a number of sites online promoting surf camps. What are they? What can one expect from one? Will I be tenting?
Simon: “Most Surfcamps have a house or a complex where they offer accommodation and often breakfast as well. In our case we offer a restaurant quality dinner as well at restaurant. Then they also offer the surfing part which ranges from surf-guiding for advanced surfers or surf school for total beginners. Most surfcamps also offer other adventure extras in the region. You might also get airport transfers which then make surfcamps a hassle-free package. You only have to get a flight and you will be picked up, looked after and have some real fun on your stay. Yoga is a big thing these days and is often included.
Is a surf camp a surf school? From my research I'm guessing that there are surf schools and some surf camps that include surf schools. Is this right? Are there benefits to one or the other?
Simon: “Basically a Surfcamp is offering services like accommodation and food as well as surfing lessons whereas a surf school usually just offers surf lessons. Some surfcamps use external surf schools for their lessons.”
How long does it take to learn to surf? Can I learn in a day or does it take multiple lessons? A week perhaps?
Simon: “This is a very tough question. You can learn the basics in one day. After that its a lot of practicing. Some people get up on the surfboard within the first 1-3 days while others don’t even get up after one week. And to be honest it takes years till you can say you are able to really surf well. Still even people who have only 1-2 weeks per year get great pleasure from surfing and the environment around it.”
Are there a lot of solo travelers at your surf camp? I find that I'm surrounded by other solo travelers at hostels. Is it the same at surf camps?
Simon: “Yep that's totally correct. Actually 75-80% are solo travelers As our Surfcamps are small and personal, the social mix is very good. Some of our customers have found long-term friends while here on vacation. Some meet up once a year at the camp, or even visit each other at their homes. We’ve also had customers who found their spouses here.”
Is there a single supplement? I see that you have dorms. Can I book into a dorm at a single's rate.
Simon: “We have different options. For example in Bali we have twins as well as dorms but also private bungalows. These can be used by a single traveler as well. There is no single supplement anymore. In Portugal we have dorms, doubles, private apartments (4+ persons). In Nicaragua we are going to have a dorm, double, and private bungalows as well.”
Is surfing a young person's sport. As you can see from my photo on the sidebar, I'm not a millennial. And, to complicate things, I'm not particularly sporty. But I do love the water and I like body-surfing, is surfing something that I could do? I'm sure the majority of your surfers are young but what is the age range for beginners.
Simon: “Well as long as you feel fit and comfortable within the water there is no problem at all. My father is now turning 60 and he still surfs all the time. Generally surfcamps attract younger travelers that's for sure, starting from their mid-20’s, all the way up to 45 or so. So yeah if you love the water and you do bodyboard there is no problem at all trying to get up on a board.”
Rapture Camps contacted us about letting readers know about surfing as a great vacation for solo travelers. We agreed and, as a result, they have sponsored this post.