Surfing in Siargao: Guide to Surf Season, Best Spots & More

Looking for a perfect surf destination? You should definitely visit Siargao in the Philippines! The island has a lot to offer for surfers of all levels. As a relatively new gem in the surfing world, Siargao surf spots still remain uncrowded and provide world-class conditions for catching some waves. The place boasts of great island living vibes too, with lots of surf shops, yoga retreats, and vegan/vegetarian restaurants. 

Choose the best options for surfing in Siargao with this article! We’ll help you find your best Siargao surf match, no matter your needs, skill level, and budget.

Best time for surfing in Siargao

palm trees in siargao

If you are a beginner, you can surf in Siargao all year round. There are spots where the water is calmer, which is perfect for those still getting acquainted with the surfboard.

Bigger waves come during the rainy season, though — a little past June. The peak season is considered to be the end of September to the beginning of December; this is when big and barreling waves appear. Advanced surfers, note this period if you want a challenge.

Intermediate surfers can also enjoy surfing in Siargao during the dry season from December to March. But summer from April to June brings about flattest waves — a treat for surf students. However, do note that the weather changes in tropical Philippines, where typhoons often rip through the islands. That said, intermediate surfers may find great surfing conditions any time of the year. The timeline above should serve as your a reliable calendar for estimating the best months to surf in Siargao.

Surf spots in Siargao

Image credit: Joel Vodell

For beginners learning the ropes

New to surfing? Then Jacking Horse is an ideal surf spot for you. Good news is that it’s located in the Cloud 9 surfing area (right next to the famous Cloud 9 surf break), and you can watch some experienced surfers during your lesson!

The inner section of the Jacking Horse is called Little Pony; it is a beginner area suitable for learning the very basics of surfing like how to pop up on the board. Quicksilver, which is on the opposite side of the pier, can also be suitable for beginners if the waves are small.

For intermediate surfers looking to practise

Intermediates get more variety in terms of the number of spots they can surf in Siargao. The conditions vary from day to day, and instructors will always bring you to the area that works best for your level. For instance, I managed to surf at seven different surf spots around the island during my visit to Siargao! So a tip — listen to the local instructors; they know the island best.

Some intermediate Siargao surfing spots to bookmark: Daku, Guiuan (also called Guiwan or Giwan), Cemetery, Salvacion, and Rock Island (aka Pencit Reef). The outer section of Jacking Horse and Quicksilver are also perfect for intermediates. In case you are curious why Cemetery has such a terrifying name, don’t be scared — it’s just located near a local cemetery. Funny story: I lost my GoPro camera while surfing there, so now it is “buried” somewhere in the depths of the Cemetery reefs.

Guiuan, also called a secret spot due to its hidden location, is also beginner-friendly. It takes a 20-min drive to get there from General Luna. Make friends; ask locals to show you the way.

For adrenaline-starved, expert wave riders

Cloud 9 and Tuason Point are perfect for advanced surfers. When the conditions allow, especially during the peak season (September to November), experienced surfers can also enjoy some big waves at Stimpy’s, Rock Island, and Quicksilver.

There also a couple of expert-level spots on the east shore of the island: Pilar left (or just Pilar), Caridad, Pacifico, and Burgos. You’ll find them quite far away from General Luna and thus remain uncrowded. Pansukian Reef is another uncrowded spot that provides perfect barrels and long rides; it is located near Naked Island.

Surfing competitions in Siargao

Siargao is called the surfing capital of the Philippines for a reason. Cloud 9 is a world-famous surf break where international surfing competitions take place.

The very first surfing competition on the island was held in 1995. Back then, it was a small event where only locals participated. The event is now called “Siargao International Surfing Cup”, in which surfers from different countries take part.

It is now organized annually, and it became a World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series event. The competitions are usually held at the end of September or at the beginning of October, but the precise dates always vary depending on the conditions. Consider yourself lucky if you manage to see the greatest surfing event on the island!

You might catch domestic surfing competitions in Siargao, too. They feature junior and open sections, men’s and women’s groups, as well as longboard and shortboard events.

Surf schools in Siargao

Still learning to catch some waves? The General Luna area, which is located on the south-west of the island, is where you want to be. Hire an instructor right at the beach near the Cloud 9 pier. One to two hours is enough but feel free to extend if you have enough stamina. Instructors usually station themselves at the Jacking Horse surf break.

Most of the hotels also recommend instructors, since Siargao (and especially General Luna) is like a small village where almost everyone knows each other.

All local instructors speak English very well, so you need not worry about the language barrier. Surf schools also dot Siargao. You can sign up for a few sessions and even purchase a surf camp package. This normally includes accommodations, surf lessons, board rental, and daily breakfast.

Surfboard rental in Siargao

Surfboard rental in Siargao

You can find a surfboard to rent almost everywhere in General Luna. Staying near the Cloud 9 area affords you accessibility as well. There are many rental places right at the beach, which might be especially convenient if you are planning to ride the famous Cloud 9 waves. Fat Lips, Kermit, Kawili Resort, Harana Surf School, and Viento Del Mar also provide a variety of surfboards to choose from. Even small hotels keep rental boards on-hand.

Top tips for surfing in Siargao

Pre-book your surf lessons

If surfing is the main reason you are visiting Siargao, and you want to make as much progress as possible during your travel, I suggest you pre-arrange surf lessons in advance. You can write an e-mail to the surf school and ask them whether they can provide you with the same instructor for the whole period of your stay. Being assigned to one surf instructor can help you progress faster.

However, it is not necessary if you have never tried surfing before. You can always find yourself an instructor at Cloud 9 pier surf stalls. In case you feel like you do not want to proceed your lessons with the same instructor, you can always find yourself a new one.

Choose accommodations wisely

Consider staying at a hotel that has an in-house surf school and restaurant (like Kermit and Harana Surf Resort). It is really convenient if you are planning to have morning surf sessions, which are sometimes held so early in the morning that you do not even have time to eat breakfast. Remember, giving your body the energy and sustenance it needs prior to heading to your morning surf is really important.

Consider rest & recovery time

Sometimes surfing twice a day (or even once daily) for several days without rest can be harsh. If you are a beginner to intermediate surfer like me, you’ll probably face muscle stiffness, reduced paddling and pop-up capacity, and fatigue. So do not sign up for too many lessons in a row if you’re not sure how your body will react to strenuous activities.

Keep in mind it’s absolutely fine to take a day off from surfing. Do some yoga, have a massage, go on a food trip, island-hop, or just chill. Enjoy island living in this tropical paradise.

boats in siargao

Most importantly, remember that regardless of you level, surfing is more about having fun and enjoying the process! Shaka to everyone!

Juliette Summers

A passionate traveller and surfing lover, Julia is in a search for budget world surfing destinations that yet remain undiscovered by the crowds of tourists. She knows how to travel solo and take perfect vacation photos of herself.

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