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Surf's Up

A surfing holiday is becoming the in thing for Australian families... and they’re venturing off shore in search of the perfect wave, discovers Helen Hayes.

On every beach, there is a battalion of blonde-haired kids, riding the waves on surfboards. There are dads on boards, mums on boards, sons and daughters signing up for learn-to-surf lessons and groms (young surfers) competing in competitions far and wide in events sponsored by Subway, Rip Curl, Billabong or Fox Head Australia. What’s not to love about a sport that sees kids active in the sea, doing an activity that they can enjoy their entire lives?

 

More and more Australian families are heading overseas for a family surf holiday, and there are many destinations that fit the bill. Even if there are non-surfers in the family, the idea of a holiday in the sun is very appealing. Charlie Pierce from The Perfect Wave agrees, saying that their business has changed. "Ten years ago we organised trips to Indonesia for single guys. They then wanted charters in the Maldives or Fiji. Now that same guy has a wife and kids, and wants a trip that combines world-class waves with the luxuries you need to keep the whole family happy."

 

I would have to agree. I have two surfing sons, a surfing husband and I don’t surf. We have been to quite a few overseas destinations – here are some of the hotspots.

Bali, Indonesia
Indonesia is surfing heaven, with so many places to ride unbelievable waves. Throw in cheap massages, beautiful accommodation and fabulous resorts, and you have yourselves a wonderful holiday. Bali is the main destination for families, with Uluwatu the place people aspire to surf. Huge, long rollers sweep into the cliffs, providing great rides for experienced surfers and unbelievable views from the cliff-top Single Fin café. Balangan and Bingin are also excellent, with local warungs on the beach serving nasi goreng and Balinese fare.

 

Elsewhere in Bali, Komune Resort at Keramas is spectacular for everyone in the family – it even has night surfing under lights.

West Sumatra, Indonesia
The Mentawai Islands in West Sumatra is also on the wishlist for surfers, with Macaronis Resort ensuring everyone in the family has an unforgettable time. Kids – or parents – can learn to surf at Fish Fingers, the perfect beginner wave. As for the experts, let them rip at Greenbush, Bowls Right or Maccas. Afterwards, relax by the pool, snorkel the reefs or visit the local village. My son Alex did just that in September, gave the kids some shirts and then took some of them out for a surfing lesson. Ian Lyon of Atoll Travel recommends Kandui Villas for families, right in the heart of the legendary surf zone, Playgrounds.

Fiji
Fiji is just about the perfect place for a family holiday and there are some world-famous surf breaks there. Beginners can hire a board at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa on the Coral Coast, but the most popular and consistent breaks are found in the Mamanuca Islands – off Castaway, Tavarua and Namotu. Castaway Island is particularly heavenly, with seven spots nearby that cater for experienced surfers, including world-famous Cloudbreak, Restaurants and Desperations. Castaway can organise charters to the breaks, and upon return you’ll relax and enjoy the island and its many activities.

Tip
On reef breaks make sure to wear reef booties. Cuts in a tropical climate can be nasty! And buy limes - the juice works magic on reef cuts.

Bali, Indonesia
Indonesia is surfing heaven, with so many places to ride unbelievable waves. Throw in cheap massages, beautiful accommodation and fabulous resorts, and you have yourselves a wonderful holiday. Bali is the main destination for families, with Uluwatu the place people aspire to surf. Huge, long rollers sweep into the cliffs, providing great rides for experienced surfers and unbelievable views from the cliff-top Single Fin café. Balangan and Bingin are also excellent, with local warungs on the beach serving nasi goreng and Balinese fare.

 

Elsewhere in Bali, Komune Resort at Keramas is spectacular for everyone in the family – it even has night surfing under lights.

West Sumatra, Indonesia
The Mentawai Islands in West Sumatra is also on the wishlist for surfers, with Macaronis Resort ensuring everyone in the family has an unforgettable time. Kids – or parents – can learn to surf at Fish Fingers, the perfect beginner wave. As for the experts, let them rip at Greenbush, Bowls Right or Maccas. Afterwards, relax by the pool, snorkel the reefs or visit the local village. My son Alex did just that in September, gave the kids some shirts and then took some of them out for a surfing lesson. Ian Lyon of Atoll Travel recommends Kandui Villas for families, right in the heart of the legendary surf zone, Playgrounds.

Information

The Perfect Wave www.theperfectwave.com.au

Atoll Travel www.atolltravel.com

Stay

Komune Resort, Bali www.komuneresorts.com

Castaway Island, Fiji www.castawayfiji.com

Turtle Bay Resort, Hawaii www.turtlebayresort.com

Ayada, Maldives www.ayadamaldives.com

Macaronis Resort, Mentawais www.macaronisresort.com

Sa'Moana Resort, Samoa www.samoanaresort.com



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