Ever since the Polynesians invented surfing and rated social status according to their citizens’ ability to ride the waves, this exhilarating sport has developed a huge world following. Defined famously by Hollywood on the beaches of California and Hawai it now has its own culture, language and technology. The lucky few who are very talented can even make a living doing it. Rumour has it that some American universities offer degree courses in surfing.
There is even a mystic group who hold surfing as a basis for a quasi-religious philosophy which forswears all commercialism and worldliness. They are very much in the minority – the surfing community is generally friendly, inclusive, and fun-loving. The sport now has its aficionados from the grim wet-suited spartans of the north Atlantic to those blond gods who brave the shark-infested but (at least) warmer waters of Bondi beach in Australia. It is not surprising that surfing as an activity has found its way to Phuket’s beautiful shores. You will find here wave conditions that suit the rank beginner through to the professional.
Remember the first rule of safe surfing – a board is not a life-saving device. You should never venture out to surf in wave conditions which you could not handle as a swimmer. Let’s cut to the action.
Surfing in Phuket is great; the waves at most of the beaches are predictable and fun to ride, even if you are beginner you can find plenty of great beaches. Surfers have been coming to this area since the mid ‘80s, but back then the numbers were limited to a few travelers. At that time access to the beaches was also very limited. Now you can make your way to any one of a dozen beaches on the west coast and find plenty of local Thai and foreign surfers having great fun and enjoying the beach life.
Surfing in Phuket has become a well-established activity and it is easy to get hooked even on a brief visit. Surfers are easy to meet and always encourage others, whether they be tourists or locals, to surf and enjoy the good life.
If you are planning a vacation here and want to try surfing, the best time to come is May through October when the waves are at their best. This is also the period we have most of our annual competitions, where all the locals get to prove their skills. Of course, traveling pros always seem to show up at the last minute, but local knowledge counts in this game. For more information on the competition dates go to www.phuketboardriders.com
There are about ten or so beaches in Phuket where you can find great waves and wherever you have waves you will find surfers. Starting in the south, Kata Yai, Kata Noi and Karon Beaches all have surfboard rentals, surf instructors and a variety of little shops where you can grab some gear and get down to the serious business of having a good time.
Patong Beach and Kalim Reef have tuition facilities for all skill levels from beginner up to advanced level. Kamala Beach, Surin Beach, Bang Tao Beach and Laguna area, offer up some powerful waves that can be huge fun providing you have the swimming strength and board skills for the job. Just ask the local residents at any of these beaches for guidance; they are always very helpful.
For more information
about the day-to-day surf conditions in Phuket and where to buy a board, go to www.saltwaterdreaming.com
Cobra Sports is located in Chalong Bay and has over 200 surfboards for sale together with accessories and other sporting equipment. The Phuket Board Riders Club (see www.phuketboardriders.com) is a great resource to make contact with the locals and find out what is going on in the surfing community; also check out Phuket Surf Club on Facebook to find more information on up-coming events and tuition facilities.
Let’s hope you find the “perfect wave”.