Originating centuries ago in Polynesian cultures, surfing has grown in popularity, especially over the last 30 years, to the point where it is now being considered for the Olympic Games.
In some countries, such as Australia and Brazil, surfing is viewed as a lifestyle – while in others, such as Thailand, it’s seen as an alternative and somewhat scary pastime.
Wherever there is ocean and land you will get waves, and Thailand is no exception.
Although not known for always perfect conditions, Thailand still hosts some amazing surf spots, with waves that are just as fun to ride as anywhere else in the world.
Surfing hit the shores of Thailand about 20 years ago, when various backpackers were travelling to get a dose of Southeast Asian culture, and learned that they could also surf here.
Since then, travellers have continued to share the art of surfing with the locals, and the sport in Thailand has grown to what it is today.
Locals and expatriates alike in Phuket are starting to find that surfing is not a crazy man’s sport, but actually offers many benefits: personally and for the community.
Surfboards can now be found for rent or sale on most of Phuket’s beaches, so its not hard for people to gain access to the adventure.
Phuket’s surf season has kicked-off for the year since the change to the southwest Monsoon, so now is a good chance to experience the action.
Phuket now has a growing surf community and there are many key surfers who are contributing to its healthy future, though such initiatives as free beach and ocean education for local families, fundraising for sustainable community projects, and creating a positive mentor culture for up-and-coming youth surfers.
Young or old, male or female – all surfers share one thing in common, and that is the sublime satisfaction of just being in the ocean and experiencing the exciting thrill of riding a wave.
Surfing encourages an individual to live an outdoor lifestyle, as well as being a physical sport that gives huge health benefits.
Surfers are naturally considerate to the environment, treating the beach and ocean like its their own backyard. And today’s surfers are not just people with long hair and nothing to do: they are doctors, architects, shop assistants, cooks, cleaners and even politicians.
If you don’t know a surfer already, there’s a good chance that you will very soon.
I look forward to bringing you the latest in what’s happening in Phuket’s Surf Community, all the events, projects and, most importantly, fun!
Surf’s up, Phuket!
Tim Campbell is a founding partner of Phuket stand-up paddle adventure company Stand Up Projects (standup projects.com) and Skyla’s Beach House in Kamala