Visitors learning how to surf will be stoked by Destin-Fort Walton Beach. The conditions are ideal, with clear water to see what’s below, soft sand for easy landings, and consistently perfect waves for beginners to catch.
Even better, it’s home to schools and businesses that specialize in making your Gulf of Mexico surfing experience rad.
While every beautiful beach in the area is worth exploring, some are better than others for surfing, whether it be classic surfing, SUP surfing, windsurfing, kite surfing, or good ol’ bodyboard surfing. Just remember to follow surfer etiquette and not “drop in” on someone else’s wave. There are plenty to go around.
There are so many things to do in Destin, FL. Here are some of the top beaches for learning how to surf:
Crystal Beach is the best beach in Destin, FL, to learn classic surfing because of its larger waves. For beginners, that means you’re going to want to be on a longboard, which is easier for balance and best for catching the typical one- to two-foot summer swells novices do best on. Once mastered, you can graduate to a funboard or shortboard.
It’s also a great place to learn to surf – not just glide along – on a Stand-Up Paddleboard, also known as a SUP. With a SUP, you have the advantage of not having to “pop up” on the board because you’re already standing, and you can guide yourself through the waves with the paddle.
For a simpler ride in the crashing waves, experience the thrill of being swept onto the beach while bodyboarding. It’s prep for other types of surfing by teaching you how to read waves and their energy.
If you want to learn from the locals, another top spot where classic surfers congregate is the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier, particularly after a storm. Friendly and helpful, locals dot the water surrounding the pier as fishermen watch from above. Spreading down the beach from the pier, there’s also ample space for SUP surfing, and you’ll be hard-pressed not to find people of all ages laughing and whooping as they try bodyboarding.
Henderson Beach State Park
For a different vibe, Henderson Beach State Park has the space needed to accommodate all kinds of surfing, including the thrills of windsurfing and kite surfing. The colorful sails are particularly gorgeous against the backdrop of turquoise water.
How long it takes to learn surfing depends on the person. If you’ve had other types of “boarding” experience, such as skateboarding or snowboarding, you’ll be ahead of the curve. Same goes for those with better balance, such as from yoga. As surfing instructors say, just keep at it. Don’t give up and hang loose.