Table of contents:
- Phuket surf season
- Beginner's Paradise
- Surf gear
- Surf competition
- What should be the right beach
- Overview of Phuket beaches
- Patong Beach
- Surin Beach
- Kalim Beach
- Kamala Beach
- Overview of other Phuket beaches
Experienced surfers are familiar with California, Hawaii, Bali, Australia, Vietnam. Among those who like to conquer the water element, the largest island of Thailand, Phuket, is not in demand. It is believed that the waves here are low, and not steep. Is it so? It turns out that you can catch good surf in Phuket.
We learned about surfing in Thailand relatively recently, ten years ago. And almost immediately, on one of the beaches of Phuket, they began to arrange international competitions in this sport. Like mushrooms after rain, surf schools, board rentals, training grounds with artificial waves appeared on the western tip of the island. And fans of this water sport were drawn to Thailand. In this article, we will reveal all the intricacies of surfing in Phuket: when to go, which beach to prefer, where to go to school on the art of conquering the wave. We supplemented our story with feedback from athletes, both aces and beginners.
Phuket surf season
The island is located in the Andaman Sea, not far from mainland Thailand. The specificity of Phuket's location is such that the steady trade winds, which in the famous surf spots of the world raise huge waves, do not produce this on the Thai island. A good surf needs to be “caught” here. When should lovers of high waves come to the island? Surfing in Phuket in January is simply impossible. The Andaman Sea in the high season is a quiet expanse, which is very popular with the resting "seals".
But you can use the calm time for training on an artificial wave. And the season suitable for surfing begins in May and ends in October. Then the Andaman Sea is transformed. The southwest monsoon drives serious waves ashore. Surfing is possible in Phuket in December (especially at the beginning of the month), November and April. Thus, the best time to practice this sport coincides with the rainy season. But this does not mean at all that you have to swim in the downpour, among the sparkle of lightning. Steady storms can last for weeks, while rain falls mostly at night and in the evening.
Phuket is considered the capital of Thai surfing. Unlike other coasts, on the island during the rainy season, the shafts reach a considerable height. Maybe three meters will not be enough for an ace, but for a beginner this is just right. The advantage of surfing in Phuket is that the wave length reaches one hundred meters, and its bend allows you to slide on it for a long time. A fall near the shore is not a disaster. Firstly, the waves go at a distance from each other and you will not be covered by the next wave. Secondly, the bottomit's sandy, soft, no corals.
A nice bonus for beginners is that Phuket has a solid training base. And it's not just the Thai English-speaking coaches. You can master the art of board control in special pools with a tidal wave. Four days of training for two hours - and you can already go to sea. It is warm in any season. So there is no need to buy a thermal suit for swimming in the Andaman Sea. On the contrary, it is better to ride the board on the waves in shorts, a T-shirt and a cap with a visor, so as not to get burned under the equatorial sun.
Anyone who can stand on skis can learn the basics of surfing on their own. You just need to do it near the shore, where the wave is low, copying the movements of professionals. The best places for self-study are the beaches "Kata", "Kamala" and "Kalim". There the waves are long, near the shore 1.5-2 m high, the waves go in regular, predictable rows. But it's better to take at least a few lessons from an experienced instructor.
The best surf school in Phuket is called Serf House. It is located on Kata Beach. Education in it is more expensive than in other parts of the island (about two thousand rubles against 1600), but here you can study in any weather, even if the sea is completely calm. Indeed, in the “Surf House” the correct wave is created by the generator. The school has a rule: on Fridays from 9 to 11 for women, classes are free. Instructors take children from the age of six to teach surfing. But on the condition that during the classes the parents will be nearby.
For beginners, it is best to rent a board first, and then, having decided which one is more suitable for weight and height, purchase your own. There are equipment rentals on all beaches where surfing is practiced. In Phuket, in December, you can only rent a board on Katya, since there is a year-round school.
During the other seasons, surf equipment is available from water sports equipment rentals, the so-called Beach Clubs. The cost of renting a board is 300 rubles per hour. If you take it for a longer time, the price decreases. A brand new board can be purchased at the Cobra Speci alty Shop in Chalong City and, of course, Kata Beach.
If you consider yourself an ace in the art of riding the waves, you can take part in one of the three annual international tournaments in Phuket. Surfing has been practiced on Kata Beach for over a decade. Therefore, there is nothing surprising in the fact that it was there that international competitions began to be held for the first time. At the end of August and until mid-September, craftsmen from all over the world come to Kata. The winner of the competition receives a check for one hundred thousand baht (more than 200,000 rubles)!
Late to the tournament in Kata Beach? Don't be discouraged: from mid-September, surfing competitions begin at Kalim Beach. And those who came to Phuket at the very beginning of the low (of course, not for athletes, but for beachgoers) season can compete in the ability to control the board on Kamala Beach. Here, the annual surfing competition has been held for the sixth year in June. You will not receive a significant amount for the victory, but the tournament is accompanied by bright, memorable shows and festive processions.
What should be the right beach
Phuket is a very large island. But since the big waves there are provided not by the trade winds, but by the summer monsoons, only the southwest coast is suitable for athletes. But even here, not all beaches are good for surfing. In Phuket, there are coasts open to the sea, for example, Karon, where a storm can roam in earnest, and closed by small islands and rocks. There are beaches where the bottom goes down steeply. That is why the waves break, and do not run smoothly to the shore.
To understand the conditions that a good surf beach should have, let's explain two more professional terms. "Break" is a grassroots obstacle that a wave stumbles upon. It can be a coral reef, a sandbank, some kind of artificial barrier. Another term is "Swell". It comes from the English verb to swell, which means "to swell". A swell in surfer jargon is a series of long, high, well-shaped waves that form from a long, steady wind (rather than individual gusts).
Overview of Phuket beaches
Surfing is possible on the entire southwest coast. But not everywhere it will bring as many positive emotions as in Kata Beach. From May to October, here regularly and for a week or ten days, you can catch a good swell from two meters high. "Kata" is a rather long beach several kilometers long. Look for the best skiing on its southernend, in front of the Kata Beach Resort. There is a shore break and the waves don't break for very long.
One of the distinguishing features of Kata Beach is the excellent infrastructure for recreation and service for surfers. The school mentioned above is considered the best in Phuket. Add to this surf clubs, where club card holders can drink a cocktail for free and chat, exchanging experiences, equipment rentals and instructors. Katya also has non-water sports activities: a beach volleyball court, cafes, showers, toilets, etc.
Surfing in Thailand, Phuket is mostly done by young people, mostly guys. They are looking for places to stay in budget hotels or guesthouses, and where there is a lot of evening entertainment. And in terms of the abundance of the latter, the town of Patong in Phuket is second only to Pattaya. Should I be so torn between nightlife and surfing?
Will it be necessary to go to Kata Beach every morning? Not at all. In the northern part of the city beach of Patong, the swell, as noted by surfers in the reviews, is pretty decent. The waves, however, rarely reach a height of two meters, but they are fast, open to the wind, and the break is coastal. Patong Beach is good for beginners and those who do not like to take risks. The disadvantage of the beach is its pollution and turbidity of the water.
Judging by the reviews, this coast is ideal for beginners. It is even surprising that there is no official surf school in the Surin area. In Phuket, thehowever, competitions are even held on this beach, although not every year. There is a pile of pitfalls in the center of Surin Beach, so you should avoid this place so as not to get hurt.
The southern and northern outskirts are quite safe, but the bottom is steep, and therefore the waves can rise and break before reaching the shore. A good swell should be caught at high and low tide. Surfers warn: at the northernmost end of the beach there is a shoal with a left-handed fast wave. During storms, the ramparts can reach up to two meters in height.
According to reviews, surfing in Phuket is perfect on three beaches. These are "Kata", "Kalim" and "Kamala". The last two beaches share the second place in ideal swells. Kalim Beach is good for both professionals and beginners. This natural extension of the city beach of Patong is protected from the open sea by a protruding cape. In addition, the coral reef dampens the waves a little. But the southwest monsoon in the rainy season generates here shafts up to two meters high, and in storms up to three.
The advantage of "Kalima" is the perfectly correct wave. If you move towards the cape, the ride on it can last up to a hundred meters. A fly in the ointment on Kalim Beach is a coral reef that lies close to the shore and at shallow depths. In the high season for surfers, there are many surfers on the beach.
The advantage of this place is stable sandbars. There is a coral reef, but it lies further from the coast. The beach is open, but there is in the northa cape break that attracts experienced surfers. This natural factor probably determined that Kamala Beach has hosted boarding competitions for the sixth year in a row. But even less experienced surfers will find the right wave on this beach.
Kamala's characteristic feature is stable swells that increase closer to the shore. It is easy to manage the board here, since the shafts are even, following each other at a distance. The advantage of Kamala Beach, as well as Kalima, is the developed infrastructure for surfers. There is equipment rental, you can find instructors.
Overview of other Phuket beaches
The part of Kata Beach called Kata Noi is good for surfing, but only in the north where the headland is. However, the waves here are quite fast. The same can be said about Laem Singh Beach. Here you need to catch swell during high tides. At Mao Hai Beach, the bottom drops steeply. Because of this, there is a coastal break. But with a northwesterly wind, there may be good surfing.
The best beach in the south of Phuket is Nai Harn Beach. Here the Andaman Sea merges with the open Indian Ocean. This beach has nice swells that can be a little too fast.
Whichever beach you visit on the southwest coast of the island during the low season, you will find exciting skiing!