A few breaks to choose from
Phuket is not exactly a top surfing destination but the arrival of the southwest monsoon from May to October kicks up enough waves to enjoy some board-riding action.
Surfing is possible along most of Phuket’s west-coast beaches but conditions are best at Kata beach, the most popular surfing spot on Phuket. Along the beach are a handful of surf stands renting out boards by the hour (150 baht) and the day (600 baht). The surfers running these shops also offer lessons at prices from 1,000 baht an hour to 1,600 baht for two hours.
Lessons are also available at RE KA TA Surf School, which is run by Quiksilver instructors out of RE KA TA Beach Club. Also charging 1,000 baht an hour for beginner, intermediate and advanced private lessons, the price includes use of the beach club’s showers, lockers and facilities as well. A five-day intensive surf course with two hours of instruction a day costs 8,000 baht.
Kata Noi and Nai Harn beaches nearby also attract a small band of surfers, then moving up the coast the next best place is Kalim beach just north of Patong, where it’s possible to catch waves of up to three metres. Kalim plays host to the occasional surfing event including the annual international Quiksilver surf competition.
Kamala beach has some consistent breaks good for surfing, and a few surf rental stands are set along the sands with the same rent rates as other beaches. It also has one of the best sheltered bays for surfing in windy conditions.
With a protected bay and gentler waves, Bang Tao beach is ideal for beginner to intermediate surfers, says Tim Campbell, who runs Skyla’s Surf & SUP Club on the beachfront at Bliss Beach Club. Skyla’s offers board rental and lessons (1,500 baht an hour), as well as surf camps for kids in July and August that emphasise safety and eco awareness.
Surin beach and Nai Yang beach have tougher conditions that appeal to more advanced surfers. Surin is one of the few spots to catch the occasional barrel wave, while Nai Yang has some good breaks offshore that surfers will need to paddle a fair distance to reach.
The advantage of surfing in Phuket is that its surf season peaks during the island’s low season months, so surfers can expect to find less crowded beaches and discounted rates on accommodation. The dry northeast monsoon period of November through April sees little wave action, so surfers are better off switching to standup paddling, wakeboarding or kayaking during these months.
For a more in-depth look at surfing in Phuket, check out the guide published by Thailand Surfrider Magazine or look out for Tim Campbell’s fortnightly column in the Phuket News covering the Phuket surfing scene and events.
RE KA TA Surf School
RE KA TA Beach Club, Kata beach
T: (076) 330 421
Skyla’s Surf & SUP Club
Bliss Beach Club, Bang Tao beach
T: (085) 193 282
Phuket Surf Guide
Thailand Surfrider Magazine
Lana Willocks is a freelance writer from Canada based in Phuket. Her love affair with Thailand began on a university exchange programme in Bangkok, then she returned to Phuket on the auspicious date of 9-9-1999 and never left.
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