Surf Lessons in Portugal: the best country in Europe to learn the Art of Surfing
Last Updated: 15 November 2022 LEARN TO SURF IN ERICEIRA
Learn to surf in beautiful Ericeira, the capital of Portugal’s surf scene, and the perfect spot for surf lessons in Europe. Located only 35 km from Lisbon, it is home to some of Europe’s best waves.
With 1,800 km of coastline and a huge variety of waves and swell size, Portugal is one of the most popular surfing destinations for both European and visiting surfers. There are literally countless places to surf, which makes Portugal an ideal location for surfers of every ability.
With so much coastline, Portugal is a great place to learn to surf. There is a wealth of incredible spots to choose from, with the Algarve, Alentejo, Lisbon coast, Ericeira, Peniche, Beira, and Porto regions being the most famous surfing areas on mainland Portugal. Each of these regions has loads of great breaks, but Ericeira – the only World Surfing Reserve in Europe – is regarded as the surf Mecca of Portugal, with six major surf spots just a few minutes from the town center.
Ericeira: the best location in Portugal for a surf school
Ericeira combines the charms of a traditional Portuguese fishing village with the sophistication of a modern European holiday spot, replete with fine restaurants, cozy pubs, and a buzzing summer nightlife.
This traditional fishing village has warmth, sun, and Southern European charm combined with a unique range of waves to suit any level of surfer — from absolute beginner to seasoned pro. If you’re looking for a lively, but relaxing location for surf lessons, Ericeira ticks all the boxes.
Learn to surf in the only World Surfing Reserve in Europe
As the first and only official World Surfing Reserve in Europe, Ericeira’s beaches boast unequaled quality and cleanliness. This 8-km (5-mile) stretch of coastline is absolutely packed with world-class surf spots and environmentally certified Blue Flag beaches. Ericeira is the only dedicated World Surfing Reserve in Europe due to its cultural, environmental, economic, and civic value. You can surf reef, as well as beach breaks and small to big waves all within easy reach of Rapture Surfcamps.
Why Ericeira is an ideal place for surf lessons
Here are some of the many advantages of taking surf lessons at our surf school in Portugal:
The consistency of the waves
Ericeira is home to a cluster of varied breaks with year-round consistent waves and it represents the first choice among surfers traveling to Portugal.
It has surfing spots suitable for all levels
Ericeira is renowned for its wave diversity and is the perfect place to learn to surf. There are several mellow beach breaks to choose from (Foz do Lizandro, São Julião, Praia do Sul, etc.) which are ideal for first-timers or beginners. Intermediate and advanced surfers as well have plenty of options from beach breaks to reefs and points, spitting tubes and mellow peaks, fast and slow, rights and lefts. Some of the most popular spots for seasoned surfer are São Lourenço, Ribeira D’Ilhas, Coxos, Pedra Branca, Crazy Left among others. The latter three are very heavy spots and should not be surfed without a local.
The weather is nice all year-round
Ericeira has warm, sunny, and mostly clear weather all summer long, but it doesn’t get as hot as in other places in Portugal. The average daytime temperature in summer falls between 20°C, with a maximum of 28°C. Winters are colder and partly cloudy in the morning, but still offer many sunny days, and the temperature almost never goes below (10-11 °C).
This lively surf town has an authentic charm
Ericeira is a safe and friendly town with all the conveniences and amenities for a comfortable stay. Here you’ll find excellent fresh food and a selection of quality restaurants, cafés, and pubs for a buzzing summer nightlife.
Thanks to its proximity to Lisbon, Sintra, Nazaré, Sintra, and Mafra during your stay you’ll have the chance to comfortably spend a day (or two) in one the many cultural and historical sites in Portugal located nearby.
About our Surf School in Portugal
Rapture Surfcamps Ericeira is perfectly situated with easy access to 9 of Europe’s best surf spots. Housed in a traditional Portuguese villa, just a few meters from Foz do Lizandro, a mellow beach break that is ideal for surf lessons, it is also a 25-minute walk from Ericeira’s old town centre. For more advanced surfers, Ribeira d’Ilhas, perennial site of one leg of the ASP World Tour Surf Championship, is just 6 km (4 miles) up the coast.
At our camp we offer a choice of comfortable accommodation, ranging from private or shared rooms in our surf villa to private apartments on the camp grounds.
Surf lessons and surf coaching in Portugal
Our surf school provides both surf lessons and surf guiding for surfers of all levels from around the world. We hold surfing lessons 6 days per week, with Sundays reserved for free surfing, relaxing, and exploring the area. We also offer surfboard and wetsuit rental for those not taking part in lessons. Other extras include yoga lessons, surf-gear insurance (highly recommended), and transfers to and from Lisbon Airport.
For the more experienced surfers we also offer surf coaching in a small group. Our head coach João is a local from the area and knows every single spot around. He takes you to the best beaches each day according to the conditions. João either goes into the water with you or films you from the beach for a later video analysis.
All our instructors are fully qualified, experienced, knowledgeable, and hold high-standard European licenses. Our staff will make sure that you are always in the right place at the right time.
Some basics concepts that will be covered throughout the lessons
Let’s take look at some basic stages of what you’ll learn when taking surf lessons in our surf school in Portugal:
Discover what kind of stance suits you best
We’ll find the proper stance for you, whether your stance is natural (left foot forward) or goofy (right foot forward). You can practice your stance on the beach or at home.
Adjust your position on the board
Lie on your stomach on top of your board or on a towel with your body positioned in the middle of the board. Your feet should be near the tail or slightly hanging over it. The nose of the board should be leveled – not pointing up or down into the water. You can adjust this balance or position by moving your body forward or back a bit on the board.
Learn how to paddle properly
Paddling when surfing is like swimming a forward crawl, but your arms extend sideways rather than over your shoulders. Cup your hands so that they hold and force the water behind you. While one arm extends and pushes through the water down the length of the board, the other is lengthening behind on the opposite side.
Picking and catching a wave
Position yourself so that you’re facing the beach and paddle forward along with the force of the wave to time yourself so you can catch it. Put your hands palm-down on the board in front of your chest to push yourself into a standing position. Those who have some difficulty getting to their feet can use their back leg or knee to help lift themselves up.
Get familiar about standing up on the board
Once standing up, keep your feet shoulder-width apart with your back foot straight across the width of the board and your front foot at a 45-degree angle (measured from your instep). Keep your arms out for balance and steering and your knees slightly bent.
What else will you learn in the Surf Lessons
Here are some of the fundamentals you will learn at our beginner and intermediate sessions:
Beginner Surf Lesson
• Safety intro and beach awareness
• Surf equipment
• Catching a wave
• Standing up on your board
• Surfboard control
• How to ride a wave towards the shore
• Improving your stance
• Surf awareness
• Improving technique
Intermediate Surf Lesson
• Paddling out techniques
• Going “out the back”
• Choosing as well as timing your waves
• Riding unbroken waves
• Sitting on your board
• Angled take offs
• Positioning yourself in the line-up
• Using rip currents
• Refining your timing and wave choice
Choosing a Surfboard
The choice of surfboard size depends primarily on the surfer ability and the time spent in the water, but in general:
- For beginner surfers, larger boards are recommended (the bigger the board is, the easier it will be to stand up and catch waves on it);
- Surfers who only surf occasionally (f.i. less than 1 time per week) should use bigger boards than the ones who surf more regularly;
- A board that is too small will hamper surfers improvement and probably end-up in some frustration.
If you would like to know more about which type of surfboard would be more recommended for you, contact our staff and ask for their advice.
Wetsuits & Accessories
Ericeira’s coast is exposed to the North Atlantic swells, that’s why the water temperature is not as warm as in the south of the country. The water temperature here in Ericeira ranges from 16˚C – 19˚C from June to September. Not all that cold but definitely not all that warm either. Especially when combined with a chilly northwest wind blowing straight off the Atlantic Ocean. There’s a real possibility that you’ll be cutting your sessions short no matter how good the waves are if you’re not prepared.
In summer during the hottest months there might be days when it is possible to surf wearing a short-sleeve wetsuit, but in general if you’re planning to spend some hours in the water a 3/2mm wetsuit is recommended. In spring and autumn you may need to consider switching between 3/2mm and 4/3mm depending on the weather conditions. A 5/3mm is advisable at the end of winter when air and water feel about the same temperature (10ºC – 50ºF).
If you don’t own a wetsuit, no worries. At our surf school in Ericeira we stock a great selection of suits in a range of different sizes for you to use. Just let our staff know and we’ll get you sorted with a quality wetsuit.
Observation and Surf Etiquette
Anyone who learns to surf will need to learn how to behave in the water with other surfers. Surf Etiquette it’s nothing more than a list of dos and don’ts that apply to all line-ups of the world. While in the water you should keep in mind this set of guidelines designed to ensure everyone in the water is kept safe and treated fairly. One of them, for instance, is that the surfer on the inside, or the one closest to the breaking section of a wave, has right of way.
Some other things to keep in mind when choosing a surf school
Have fun in the water and with the other surfers
Learning to surf can be an exciting, fun, and rewarding experience. As you progress you will gain a sense of achievement and pride. But no rush — enjoy yourself and the glory of catching your first wave. It’s a thrill that only surfers know!
Make sure you are in safe hands
When choosing a surf school, it’s important to know you will feel safe and be in experienced hands.
Learn how to surf in the best waves in Portugal ERICEIRA
Join our Camp in Ericeria and learn the Art of Surfing
Here at our local beach Foz do Lizandro you’ll have access to long, gentle, medium-sized waves ideal for learning how to surf. Other nearby spots, such as São Julião and Praia do Sul, are also suitable for beginnersVISIT OUR SURF SCHOOL