The Great Escape: Spectacular Surf Camps + Destinations for Any Skill Level
|Ainsley Ocean, co-founder of Togat Nusa trims in the Mentawais wearing the Seea Hermosa Swim Shirt. Photo by Chris Hoy.|
If only there were a search engine for choosing a surf destination. Checkboxes for different countries, best months out of the year, beginner-friendly bumps, barreling reef breaks, left or right points. If you are traveling alone, or with a crew of friends. If you’re looking for an easy airport access for a quick trip, or really want to go off the grid on charter planes, taxis and ferries.
You can do pages of internet research (tons of which isn’t always accurate and unwritten surf rules forbid too much revelation about surf break names), or do what we do — pick a coastline and find a local guide.
Here are a few of our friends that offer both beginner experiences for solo travelers, and advanced-level waves that will give you prickly goosebumps just hearing the whitewater force. The list doesn't stop here, look out for more Seeababes guides on our favorite camps and instructors to keep summer flowing year-round!
|Mellow longboard waves for beginners and loggers. Photo courtesy of Las Olas Surf Safaris.|
Where: Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
Best for: Beginners, intermediates (look for Las Olas' retreats specially for intermediate skill level), solo travelers, small groups of women
Travel time: Fly into Puerto Vallarta (PVR). The drive to accommodations is less than one hour from airport.
|Cool off in the pool. Photo courtesy of Las Olas Surf Safaris.|
|The surfing version of a ski lift, the boat will drop you off out the back. Photo courtesy of Las Olas Surf Safaris.|
Travel time: Varies. Contact Salt Gypsy for details.
|Danny Clayton wears the Seea Monterey Top and her own brand of surf leggings in the Maldives. Photo courtesy of Salt Gypsy.|
|We think its a rule that if you're on a surf retreat, you need to take a photo with your arms up, or jumping off a boat. Why? Because it's really that fun. Photo courtesy of Salt Gypsy.|
|Salt Gypsy in the Maldives. Photo courtesy of Salt Gypsy.|
One of Seea’s early supporters, Danny Clayton aka Salt Gypsy’s blog is a must-read for surfer girls seeking news and inspiring women stories outside of the mainstream surf media. After seeing too many burned legs as a surf guide in the Maldives, the New Zealand-born shredder started her own brand of surf leggings and rashguards made in Bali.
Danny still surf guides in the Maldives and Mentawais, and hosts a few all-girl retreats per year. Operated by Liquid Destination, one flat fee covers nearly everything from the time you arrive at the airport in Mali (you’ll be fetched at the gate by a Liquid Destination guide), including meals, accommodations, and boat transportation to the best surf breaks. In the Maldives, there are 26 Atolls and 1190 islands. Yeah, let them do the math to factor in the best spot for the swell, wind, tides and weather and the toughest decision you’ll have to make is what to wear. Danny urges that you should be comfortable surfing reef breaks.
Keep an eye on this page on the Salt Gypsy page for upcoming dates to surf with Danny and a bunch of other female chargers in the Mentawais and Maldives.
More about Salt Gypsy in our interview with her!
|Cloudbreak in Tavarua. Photo courtesy of Tavarua Island Resort.|
|You'll want to live here forever. Photo courtesy of Tavarua Island Resort.|
Below: Award-winning Olympic skier Julia Mancuso wears the Seea x Tavarua Palmas Surf Suit in Tavarua!
Tavarua Island Resort is not a surf camp or structured retreat, but because of the remote location of Tavarua in Fiji and its comprehensive services, it feels like its own private camp. Everything is contained within the island, including the gourmet meals served on the outdoor deck and bar, and the resort operates your boat charters to the reef breaks. Tavarua is famous for its barreling images of Cloudbreak, but there are many more options for any member of your group — including virgin surfers. Spend the in-between hours in the pool, snorkeling in the clear water or strolling on the sand.
|Ainsley Ocean, co-founder of Togat Nusa Retreat in the Mentawais wearing the Seea Hermosa Swim Shirt. Photo by Chris Hoy for Togat Nusa.|
Best for: Intermediates, advanced, solo travelers, couples and co-ed groups.
Travel time: Varies. Arrive in Padang, Sumatra via Jakarta one night before check-in. Ferry or chartered speedboat takes you to Togat Nusa. Contact Togat Nusa for more details.
|Togat Nusa from the water. Photo by Johnny Abegg for Togat Nusa.|
|View from your room. Photo by Adam Kobayashi for Togat Nusa.|
Ainsley jokes that it’s an “anti-resort” that attracts the most “colorful characters.” Except for planning your day based on the best times to surf, you’re not beholden to any schedule like a structured retreat. "Big waves" are relative, says Ainsley. And while you should be comfortable surfing over reef, she says its not all hollow barrels. "Though at times surf travel for women can be challenging, Togat Nusa Retreat is a safe space, with user-friendly waves for women," she added.
From the everyday surf-obsessed folks to high profile athletes (pro snowboarder Marie-France Roy is a recent client), you never know who will be there during your stay.
|Pro Snowboarder Marie-France Roy surfing in Togat Nusa in the Seea Hermosa Swim Shirt. Photo by Damea Dorsey.|
|Togat Nusa in the Mentawais. Photo courtesy of Togat Nusa.|
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