Learning to Surf Aged 40 and Beyond

Can you be too old to learn to surf? Women + Waves break down the barriers to learning to surf at any age. 


You are never too old to learn to surf! Whether you’re forty, fifty or sixty, forget about the number. As long as you have a good attitude, reasonable fitness and you’re willing to throw yourself into learning, you can become a surfer. 

Many women come to us to start their surfing journey who are into their forties and beyond. With the right approach, the right tools and the right instructors it’s an entirely achievable goal. At Women + Waves over 30% of our guests are over 40! We’ve been teaching women to surf all over the world from 8 to 88, and have learned that while women often doubt their age and ability when it comes to learning to surf, it’s never too late to start. Come away with Women + Waves, listen to our advice and you can break down any barriers to become the surfer you always wanted to be!

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Top Tips for Learning to Surf in Your Forties 

Age shouldn’t deter anyone from embracing the exhilarating world of surfing. Here at Women + Waves our experience and expertise help women start their surfing journey no matter their age. We’ve taught multi-generational groups on our surfing trips; daughters, mothers and grandmothers come to us to begin their surfing journey and learn together. 

Take a Surfing Lesson

Enrolling in a surf lesson led by an experienced instructor is an invaluable place to start. Professional guidance ensures you learn proper techniques, safety protocols, and surfing etiquette tailored to your age and abilities. Coming along on one of our surfing holidays provides all the above, plus learning with a group of women who are all in the same boat. 

Start Slow

Start your surfing journey slowly, gradually get accustomed to the waves and spend more time in the ocean. Choosing small, beginner-friendly waves will help you build your confidence and break down any mental barriers about being in the ocean. This ocean and location knowledge is hard to come by as a learner, we have spent years working out where the best place to surf and when. You can be confident that you are in the best place at the right time for your ability.

Prioritise Physical Fitness 

Incorporate exercises into your daily routine that enhance core strength, balance, and flexibility. Strengthening these key areas not only improves your surfing performance but also reduces the risk of injuries. Check out our blog on mobility exercises to improve your surfing to get some ideas. Remember that surfing is a low-impact sport with a very low chance of picking up injuries, this is an amazing reason that it works so well for those wanting to pick the sport up a little later in life.

Stay Safe While Surfing 

Always prioritise safety while surfing. Understanding your physical limitations and avoiding overexertion means you’ll gradually build up your surfing strength and endurance, allowing you to surf for longer without injury. Surfing trips with Women + Waves will teach you about surf safety and surfing etiquette, knowledge which will minimise the risk of accidents and enhance your overall surfing experience and confidence. Many of our team are trained through our Intensive Surf Instructor Course before following our in-house training process. So you can be confident that you’re in a very safe space to learn.

Gain Water Confidence

The more time you spend in the water the more confident you will be in learning to surf. There are so many amazing watersports on offer from paddleboarding to kayaking – check out our Water Women Weekends if you’re looking for a gentle introduction to life as a salty sister! 

Expand your Ocean Knowledge 

Knowledge is your key to staying safe. The more you know the more prepared you will be when you’re in the sea. On a trip with Women + Waves you won’t just have the opportunity to learn to surf with our expert coaches, but you’ll also benefit from their local knowledge and experience, they know the best breaks for beginners and for your surfing ability and will give you the best opportunities to enhance your surf skills. The workshops that are delivered on a daily basis are specifically designed to expand your knowledge and quickly grow your confidence.

Manage Your Expectations 

Surfing is a learning curve, there are bound to be ups and downs, and learning can take time. Be steady and consistent and you will see progress. Remember, surfing is a fulfilling and enjoyable activity for people of all ages. With dedication, patience, and the right guidance, you can embark on your surfing journey and experience the thrill of riding the waves, regardless of your age. The surfing community that you will become part of is worth the hardwork alone

Use the Right Equipment 

Our expert instructors will give you the appropriate equipment for your surfing ability. Beginner surfers have more choice than ever as equipment and surfboard technology improves. Accessibility is a big part of surfing and having the right equipment is key to keeping surfing accessible for all. Choosing surf equipment that suits your skill level and age will be key to faster learning, a larger, more stable foamie surfboard offers better stability and buoyancy, making it completely safe and also easier to catch waves. Women + Waves instructors will know exactly which equipment is best for you, and can even offer you advice on what board to buy when you start moving forward as an independent surfer.

How to Get Started 

Learning to surf later in life is more accessible than ever, don’t let a number stop you – the best time to start is always now. Read our beginners guide on everything you need to know to get started as a beginner surfer, for tips on where to start. 

Learning to surf on a Women + Waves Holiday or Camp means not only do you get taught by our team of uniquely trained instructors, you also become a part of a community of like-minded women, and built lasting relationships with other surfers, many of our guests come as solo travellers and leave with life long friends. We recommend our beginner weekends in the UK or the following holidays which are great for beginners.

A ten-night trip to enter the surfing world in warm balmy waters, where you can kick start your surf dream journey. A dreamy ten days of soft sand, beginner-friendly waves and Indonesian culture. 

Learn to surf in a week in a tropical paradise. Costa Rica is home to plenty of fun little surf breaks that offer consistent waves perfect for beginners developing new skills all week long. 

A whole week of learning to surf in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Experience living the idyllic Caribbean island life while learning new surfing skills with our expert team. 

Spend seven nights in the surfing mecca of Europe enjoying the beaches and waves of Portugal. A whole week of sun, sea and surf to begin your surfing journey. 

Spend a week in Morocco learning to surf on the sunbaked coastline. Experience the culture and perfect small summer waves, ideal for learning the foundations of surfing. 

Our UK beginner surf trips are the perfect weekends to get started in your surfing journey. With a group of like-minded women you’ll share in expert tuition and some of the best waves in the UK.  

Remember, Surfing is Fun at any Age!

Learn to Surf because it’s fun, it gets you outside and improves your physical strength, mobility, coordination and general fitness. You’ll spend more time in the water and reap all the mental benefits of spending time in the ocean. Have fun with it, and you’re guaranteed to enjoy the journey. 

How long does it take to learn to surf?

Learning to surf is not a straight line. It takes commitment and hard work. But there are plenty of ways you can help yourself to improve your surfing, no matter what age you start. Follow these suggestions to keep up the progress on your surfing journey. 

Build a Surfing Community

Become a part of a Surfing Community; having friends to go surfing with is safer, will help you get out more and is more fun! By joining Women + Waves holidays you automatically become a part of our collective of female surfers. Our trips are about women coming together in a safe and supportive environment to learn a new skill together. 

Consistency and Practise 

As with any sport, the more you put into it the more you’ll get out of it. Consistent practice is key to improving your surfing skills and achieving your goals. 

Take Up Surf Skating 

Surf skating is a great way to improve your surfing ability. It’s the best way on land to build skills in the water. People can develop their skills with surf skating to help build confidence, mobility, flexibility and strength for surfing. 

Don’t Be Discouraged 

Set goals and celebrate your achievements, but don’t be discouraged by setbacks. Unfortunately they can and do happen, injuries and life commitments can get in the way of your smooth surfing experience. But as long as you stay committed and keep coming back, there’s no reason you won’t be shredding again in no time. Learning to surf may be the best decision you ever make.

Reasons to start surfing with Women + Waves 

  • 30% of our women and waves guests are over 40! 
  • Surfing is a low impact sport, so there’s very little risk of injury
  • Kelly Slater is widely considered the greatest surfer of all time, and he’s still setting standards on the world stage in his 50s
  • 30% of our guests are over 40 
  • We teach guests from 8 to 88 so there’s no limitations on who can come on our trips
  • Learning to surf will improve your fitness, mobility and strength 
  • Surfing offers improved physical and mental health 

"Surfing is great to be in the water, it’s a complete tonic, waiting outback for waves for sets is exhilarating as it is calming. It's such a hard sport and completely wipes you out but I like that feeling of being turned inside out and have nothing left in the tank at the end of a surf, then it's eating good food time! The culture around surfing like food, good food and the people is just as important as are the surfing apparel brands!"

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