All About Surfing in Thailand and Thai Surf Spots
Surfing in Thailand Overview
Surfing in Thailand is quite a recent phenomenon in relation to the rest of the world. In about 1998 Thai surfers were very few and most people surfing in Phuket were foreign expatriates living and working in Thailand. Travelers passing through brought a few surfboards and left them for the locals. The waves and surf spots were, and many still are, closely guarded secret surf spots.
Thai people generally became interested in the sport in the mid to late 90's and in recent years the amount of Thai surfers has exploded. Phuket now holds annual surf contests and supports a growing and enthusiastic surfing fraternity. Quiksilver was the first to organise a contest in 1999 at Kata beach. Kamala Surfing Club has been running an annual contest for the past 14 years.
Where to Surf in Thailand
Although Phuket is noted as having some of the best and most consistent surf in Thailand, other places such as Rayong and Koh Samui and surrounding areas on the East side of Thailand get their share of waves too, but they are less consistent and come from the northern monsoons in China and Japan.
The west side of Thailand gets swell from the southern monsoons, the same monsoons that bring waves to Indonesia and Sri Lanka. People are now exploring the mainland areas and outer islands finding some great surf locations from Phuket to the border of Burma.
Some of the best beaches to surf in Thailand are:
When to Surf in Thailand
In general, the west side of Thailand including Phuket, gets surf from April/May to September/October. The east side of Thailand gets surf from November to March. The surf on the east side is generally smaller and less consistent.
Waves in Thailand
The surf in Thailand definitely does not rank as a world-class surf travel destination like Bali, Hawaii or Sumatra, but it definitely has its place. The waves are generally smaller and less powerful making it ideal for people learning to surf and for longboarding.
In Thailand, longboard riding is now very popular as the waves are generally a little smaller and fatter. Longboarding in Thailand is definitely a surfing style that is growing in popularity.
The surf is also very suitable for bodyboarding or boogie boarding with some beaches such as Surin beach and Laem Singh in Phuket being ideal for body boarding with barrels and heavy shore-breaks. These beaches have the biggest shore breaks during the peak of the monsoon season.
You can check our Phuket surf report page showing when the waves are good in Thailand.
From Antony Colas when he was here in Thailand
Phuket waves are usually fueled by the strong SW monsoon fetch in the Andaman Sea. From May to September, there is some decent surf to be tapped on the western coasts, the conditions obviously getting better as you head north towards the border with Myanmar.
Around the main beaches of Kata, Kalim and Kamala, Phuket island hosts a small surfing community with a few surfshops, like Saltwater Dreaming which produces their own wax (Gecko Glue) and provides and surfboard rental and a large range of new surfboards for sale.
Maybe, the fact that Cobra near Pattaya is the largest surfboard manufacturer in the world with brands like Surftech helps Thai locals to find the good boards. Don't forget also that Sheiko factory near Bangkok is the largest neoprene wetsuit producer in the world ! But who needs a wetsuit in Thailand anyway ?
You can read his full story here Antony Colas in Thailand
Surf Shops and Surf Gear
Surf gear, accessories and surfboards have always been difficult to come by and much of the equipment has been left here by surfers heading home from other destinations like Indonesia.
This is also changing with surf shops in Phuket, Koh Samui and Bangkok. Although the latter 2 are brand name merchandising stores, local surf shops do exist, but it wont be long before the big brand names enter the Thailand surfing market driving higher prices for surfing equipment.
Bodyboarding equipment is also becoming more readily available, and quality bodyboards are imported. The most popular brand of bodyboard in Thailand is NMD Bodyboards by far.
Surfing Photos and More Information on Surfing in Thailand
Photos and pictures of surfing in Phuket and Thailand are now appearing across the internet, which do show that the surf in Thailand can get quite good.
If you need more information on surfing Thailand try using the menu at the top of this page to explore surfing beaches in Phuket and Thailand.