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Need a bit of help with your pop-ups and your paddle-outs? Just want a bit of advice on great surf spots? It’s time to go to class

Just a few hours’ flight from London are a huge range of sunny beaches, perfect for anyone looking to spend the summer on a surfboard. If it’s your first time to any of these destinations – or even if you’re an old-timer – why not sign up for a week at one of these local surf schools?

Instructors not only help to improve your technique, but can give you insider local knowledge on their best breaks and even link you up with other wave riders. 


Surf: Are you the kind of surfer who lives and breathes the sport? Lagos is the place for you this summer then, as the town is swamped with bronzed, bead-wearing surfers here to make the most of the wide choice of reefs and beach breaks.

It’s a firm favourite on the circuit because of the year-round wave consistency, and the fact there are breaks on both the southern and western coasts, so there’s always somewhere to surf within a 30-minute drive.

Get schooled: The longest running surf school in the area is The Surf Experience, which is an Aussie and Brit-run establishment providing everything you need for a sensational surfing summer. Board and wetsuit hire, surf instruction, boot camps (including a girls-only option) are all on offer. There are also daily tours in the instructors’ 4x4s to wherever the surf’s up that day.

Apres-surf: If you head to Lagos, be prepared to spend as much time in the watering holes as in the water – this has a reputation for being a serious party haunt, and you’ll find Aussies propping up practically every bar in town.

In fact, some hostels even hand out wristbands to their guests in case they get so plastered they can’t remember where they’re staying and they can be sent back in the right direction.

Getting there: Fly from London Luton to Faro from £129 return with Monarch Airlines.

Canary Islands

Surf: Fuerteventura’s north shore has been called Europe’s answer to Hawaii for its reliable surf conditions and warm waters. The main surfing area is at the far north of the island, around Corralejo, where you’ll find beach and reef breaks and if you’re lucky, some big wave action – mercifully far away from the chaotic tourist hubs of the island.

Get schooled: Based in Corralejo is Wave Rider Surf School and it’s just a short trek to a range of top surf spots. Lessons are taught in groups of no more than six and instructors are accredited by the ASI (Academy of Surfing Instructors) and SLSA (Surf Life Saving Association).

Apres surf: Fuerteventura can get windy at times, which can make it a bit choppy for surfing. But that just makes it perfect for kite or wind surfing. For long, beery lunches or laid-back drinks in the evening, try the surfy, hippy cafes dotted around the village of Lajares. 

Getting there: Fly from London Gatwick to Fuerteventura from £196 return with easyJet.

San Sebastian

Surf: You couldn’t choose a more scenic surf locale than the long, curved, urban beach of La Concha, San Sebastian, with its gentle, relatively small waves. But if you want somewhere a little bolder, head to La Zurriola beach on the other side of the Urumea River where there’s regularly a great northwest swell. Because the waves aren’t the same quality as Mundaka, where the tube riders go, it doesn’t get too overcrowded.

Get schooled: If you stay at Urbansurf Stay at Urban House you’ll be 300m from the beach, and their week-long packages also include breakfast, board and wetsuit rental, and a 90-minute group lesson each day with an instructor. Reduced group classes, private classes and intensive weekend classes are also available.

Apres-surf: You certainly won’t run out of activities to keep you occupied in the Basque capital. Urban Surf run pintxo tours, so you can discover all the best places to refuel on the local-style tapas, plus boat parties and trips to nearby Bilbao to check out the Guggenheim and other attractions.

Getting there: Fly from London Stansted to Bilbao from £86.99 return with easyJet.


Europe's best surf schools: From Canary Islands to Ireland, learn to ride waves like a pro
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