Where can I learn surfing in Siargao? That’s a question often asked by adventurous travellers visiting this paradise in the Philippines. There are a number of surf schools in Siargao to choose from. Surf camps offer “surf and stay” options. Some surf schools in Siargao provide weekly surf packages for those who want to get as much surfing experience as possible. And there are those that even include surf theory in their classes.
For foolproof surf lessons in Siargao, let’s start with popular surf schools that have been in the island for years now.
1. Kermit Siargao
Founded by an Italian guy named Gianni Grifoni, Kermit is an iconic place in Siargao. It has a hotel, restaurant, local clothing shop (Gwapitos), and a surf school all in one place.
In my opinion, the hotel is a bit too pricey for a budget traveler. Plus, you also need to book it in advance, especially when it’s peak season. When I traveled to Siargao two years ago, I wanted to stay at Kermit’s but it was fully booked for the dates I needed in October. And this is not to mention the fact that I was trying to book it three months in advance!
The restaurant serves really good Italian cuisine and cocktails. Breakfast is included in the booking price and served early so you have time to eat before heading to your morning surf lesson.
Surf lessons in Siargao with Kermit
Kermit has been supporting and sponsoring one of the best surfers in the Philippines, John Mark (aka Marama) Tokong since his childhood. You can probably meet the famous pro-surfer at Kermit restaurant, where he hangs out with friends. He also taught surfing at Kermit’s several years ago.
I was lucky to have a couple of surf sessions with Marama. We even managed to capture some of my rides on video but that was the very day I lost my camera in the waters just before catching my last wave for that session.
Kermit Siargao is home to great instructors with lots of surfing and teaching experience. Surf lessons are held twice daily: early in the morning and right before sunset. You can choose between having one or two lessons per day. Your surf instructor will check the conditions before the session and bring you to the surf spot that is best for your level. The student-to-instructor ratio is 1:1.
2. Harana Surf Resort
Harana Surf Resort provides accommodations, offers surf lessons, and houses a 24-hour restaurant. It’s where a number of award-winning local surfers teach, so lessons at Harana Surf School are top-notch. The hotel-surf school is located right on the beach within walking distance to the famous Cloud 9 pier. In addition to surfing lessons, the school provides surf theory courses, which are really helpful in learning how to read the waves. Surf guiding is offered to experienced surfers too.
Surf lessons in Siargao with Harana
Among the many surf schools in Siargao, Harana is blessed with a convenient and ideal location. You’ll find Harana Surf Resort right next to Tuason Point, a surf spot that provides very powerful and fast waves during the peak surf season (October to April). Note, though, that this area is for advanced surfers.
However, if you are a beginner and planning your trip somewhere in the period of May to July, this spot might work for you too. During this season, Tuason Point is less crowded than Jacking Horse, the most popular surf break for beginners, which is crowded almost all year round. Proximity to these spots makes Harana the ideal surf school in Siargao, especially for those who’d like to minimise travel time.
3. Turtle Surf Camp Siargao
Turtle Surf Camp Siargao features a small and cosy four-room hotel with an indoor pool (which, I have to tell you, is quite rare in Siargao). It boasts of a perfect location! It’s relatively close to the beach — both Cloud 9 pier and General Luna are located within a walking distance from the camp. There is no in-house restaurant, but the place has a common kitchen area. So if you are into cooking meals for yourself during your travels, then this is the perfect place for you. Plus, there are a lot of bars and restaurants around.
Surf lessons in Siargao with Turtle Surf Camp
Turtle Surf Camp offers packages including accommodation, surf lessons, and breakfast. Surf lessons are provided for beginners and intermediates. If you are a beginner, you can sign up for a one-hour lesson and just extend if you’re up for more. At Turtle Surf Camp, you can also rent a surfboard for a whole day, half day, or even an hour.
Website: Agoda listing
4. Surfista Travels Siargao
Surfista Travels Siargao was founded by a married couple, Filipino surfer Elaine Abonal and German photographer Oliver Bayer. Both hold ISA (International Surfing Association) surf instructor certificates and lifesaving certificates.
Surf lessons in Siargao with Surfista Travels
This well-known surf school in Siargao offers a variety of surf packages: one-day course, three-day course, and surf guiding. A surf lesson lasts for a minimum of one hour; board and rashguard rental are included in the price. You can always add an extra hour to your lesson for an additional cost. If you book a three-day package, then you will be provided with a photo analysis of your lesson; surf photos are taken on day two of your course. If you want your photos to be taken on a more regular basis, you can also arrange that in advance with an additional fee.
Surfista Siargao provides surf photography for all surfers who want to avail of the service. It does not matter whether you are skilled enough to surf on your own or are taking lessons with a different surf school. Oli will capture your moves not from the shore but from the water, and you will return home after your trip to Siargao with the kind of shots pro surfers have on their Instagram!
For those who are travelling with kids, it’s good to know that Surfista Travels Siargao also specialises in teaching surfing to children under the age of 15. Surfista’s instructor Elaine Abonal speaks English, Spanish, French, and Filipino languages, so if any of these is your native language, there will be no communication problems at all.
5. Buddha Resort
Buddha Resort has different types of rooms: standard room for solo/couple travelers, family rooms for travel groups and those who travel with kids, and superior rooms and suites for those who require more space. The resort is located in the General Luna area and at the same time is quite close to Cloud 9. Free breakfast is included in the booking price; and the in-house restaurant has vegan/vegetarian-friendly options. The place also features a dedicated space for yoga.
Surf lessons in Siargao with Buddha Resort
Buddha’s Surf Camp provides lessons for surfers of all levels. In addition to this, you can also learn kitesurfing and stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) at this surf school in Siargao. The place offers watersports equipment rental too, so check out what else you can do to have fun in the sun.
You can book a 7-day or a 10-day surf package in advance or sign up for a lesson upon your arrival at the hotel. The packages include airport transfers, accommodation, daily breakfast, surf lessons, transportation to the surf spots, and island tours. If you ask me, this is really convenient for travellers who prefer to iron out the details of their vacation before flying over.
How much is surfing in Siargao?
I’ve done my research and I’ve experienced it for myself. That said, I can confidently confirm that Siargao is one of the cheapest surfing destinations in the world!
However, the island is gaining more and more popularity among tourists with every year. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect price hikes in the near future. Here I provide you with some up-to-date prices.
Prices for surf lessons in Siargao start from PHP500 ($10) per hour with an uncertified instructor, including board rental for the lesson.
The cost of learning with the best surf schools in Siargao
Lessons with a certified instructor at a surf school are more expensive, of course. Usually, one such lesson lasts for two hours, and the prices below are presented for a two-hour surfing session (if not otherwise specified).
For instance, one surf session at Kermit Surf School will cost you PHP1,600 ($32), and you can also choose two daily surf sessions for the overall price of PHP2,900 ($57.5). There is also a discount on three-day and weekly surf packages.
Harana Surf School offers surf lessons for PHP2,500 ($49.5) per lesson, and the price also includes surf theory lesson; theory lessons are held once every two days. Discounts are applied to three- to five-day packages.
A lesson at Surfista Travels Siargao will cost you PHP2,000 ($40, excluding costs on boat/bike transfers to the surf spot), while a three-day package, which includes surf photography and photo analysis, costs PHP7,900 ($157).
Buddha’s Surf Resort provides surf lessons for PHP500 ($10) per hour for Buddha’s resort guests. Others will have to pay PHP650 ($13) per hour for ever lesson.
Surf lesson prices typically cover board rental, transfer to/from the surf spot, boat fees (depending on the surf school and distance to the surf spot), and rashguard usage. On average, the cost for surfboard rental starts from PHP350 ($7) per day. But just to be sure, check official websites and make inquiries long before your trip.
So have you made up your mind yet? You must be shocked to find out that there are plenty of surf schools in Siargao to choose from! Whatever you go with, we’re sure you’ll catch some awesome waves and bring home a lot of great memories.