I have always wanted to go to a surf camp and when we were locked down due to Covid, I started planning to finally do it! At first, I was looking at Puerto Rico since it is so close to Texas but then started to look into Portugal. I learned that Portugal is an amazing place to go surfing. The surf camps are about half the price or even less and everything else is more affordable. Not only that, but you can explore the rest of Portugal during your trip.
I ended up staying at Gota Dagua Surf Camp just outside Lisbon and had an amazing experience learning to surf!
Where to go Surfing in Portugal?
There are plenty of great places to go surfing in Portugal. I personally have surfed in Sagres and Costa da Caparica, but there are great surf opportunities along the entire Atlantic coast of Portugal. Some other well-known areas are Ericeira, Peniche, and Carcavelos.
We chose Costa da Caparica for its waves and proximity to Lisbon
When to Surf in Portugal?
You can actually surf year-round in Portugal. The larger swells come in the winter from November to February, but there are good waves in the summer as well, especially for beginners. I surfed in November and June so far but will surf all year.
If you are worried about it being too cold, don’t worry too much. As long as it is sunny out you should be fine, even in the winter. Pretty much everyone I saw wore a wetsuit, even when I didn’t think it was necessary for the summer.
What to Bring When Surfing in Portugal?
The great thing about learning to surf in Portugal is everything is provided for you. You can rent wetsuits and surfboards very affordably. So just bring some flip-flops, a swimsuit, sunscreen, and anything you would usually bring on a trip to the beach.
The Surf Camp Experience
Michelle and I have surfed a handful of times. The issue is you take most of the time trying to remember what you learned the last time you went surfing. This is where a surf camp experience comes in!
With a surf camp, you are able to build on what you learn every day and have a lot of time with other people looking to learn to surf at the same time.
I went to Gota d’Agua surf camp located at Costa da Caparica, only a 20-minute drive from Lisbon. The surf camp was perfectly located close to a beach with consistent waves.
Your surfing week starts with a theory lesson to help you understand what you will be doing when you get to the waves. We went over how to read surf conditions, learned about boards and other basics to surfing.
For your surf sessions, you head to the beach to get suited up in a wet suit and to grab your board.
Each lesson starts with stretches and a quick warm-up. From there you will practice on the sand before going out into the ocean.
Once in the water instructors are there to help you catch waves and then improve with each attempt.
When you do not have a surf lesson you can still go surfing if boards are available. In the 5 surfing days, I was at the surf camp, I surfed 7 times.
The instructors made a huge difference to us. They alluded to positive energy and were really invested in making sure we were having a good time and improving.
Will You Learn To Surf in One Week?
After one week, some complete beginners were able to get up on the board regularly. I had already had a few lessons and after 1 week of surf camp, I was able to feel comfortable with 2-3 feet waves and can not wait to go back.
At the surf house, you can choose to stay in a 4 person dorm or private rooms for 1 or 2. The dorm room beds are sturdy and provide privacy with a full-length curtain.
Every day starts with breakfast. When I went there was a yogurt bar with tons of toppings, bread, cheese, deli meats, and one other dish that changed like pancakes or eggs and bacon. It was so great to start the day with a full stomach.
In the evenings there were different home-cooked meals throughout the week with our last night being a barbeque.
Every day varies a little bit, but you can expect to start the day with Yoga at 8 am followed by breakfast at 9 am. After that, you will have a surf time for your lessons.