While surfing in Phuket is not ranked among the absolute best in the world, it should not be dismissed entirely. The island supports a small but lively surfing community and, as the sport has become more established here and prices for board rental and courses drop, the community has been getting bigger and bigger.
The surfing season starts as the tourism high season is just ending. With the wind direction switching from east to west around April, the west-coast seas go from perfectly flat to perfect for riding – a situation which lasts until the winds turn back around October. At the same time, the air and water temperatures are both usually good and the lower number of tourists puts fewer obstacles in the water, making Phuket a comfortable and safe place to surf.
The best places for surfing in Phuket are Kalim, Kamala, Kata, Nai Harn, Surin and Karon. As you would expect, the unique locations each offer very different conditions and attractions, ranging from smaller, slower waves (good for beginners) on Karon Beach to high-speed three-metre waves with a coral reef break on Kalim (best left to those with more experience). For more detailed information on the most popular surfing beaches, check out our list of the 5 Best Surf Spots in Phuket.
Kata Beach and neighbouring Kata Noi may not offer the tallest waves, with the maximum size being about two metres, but it is still considered the surfing capital of Phuket. It is the home of Surf House Phuket – a surfing simulator – as well as a plentiful supply surf shops and centres. Kata Beach generally has a surfer-friendly atmosphere, being at once laid back and activity oriented.
There is a modest selection of surfboard shops and rental companies dotted around Phuket, with the majority being in and around Kata Beach. You can rent a board to go surfing in Phuket for as little as 200 baht per hour, 400 baht per half-day, 600 baht per full day and around 4,000 baht per week, depending on the company and the size of the board. Well-maintained examples of most sizes and designs are available, including fish, shortboards, guns, funboards and longboards.
Naturally, most of the surfing schools also offer board rental, which is often included in the price of the lesson along with a rash guard (which is absolutely necessary) and leash. Lesson fees start from about 1,500 baht for 90 minutes of private tuition. Prices can vary depending on the number of students being taught by a single instructor and buying a longer package – usually up to a maximum of about five days, costing around 9,000 baht – will save you some money. The instructors promise to be able to take even complete beginners up to a fairly advanced level.