Surfing classes with Sayulita Surf School: a first-hand experience

sayulita surf school

Editor’s Note: We were not compensated by Sayulita Surf School publish anything about them. The surfing classes we did with them are complimentary. All opinions are our own and based on our experiences from years of living in Sayulita.

Questions about Sayulita? We always answer reader questions so if you have any, feel free to email us at sayulitainsider[at]gmail[dot]com or send us a message through our channels below:


Sayulita, in Nayarit, is one of the most beautiful beach towns I’ve explored in Mexico. It has retained its small town charm but still offers top quality accommodation and restaurant options. I headed there with my family looking to spend time chilling out after a long and miserable 2020 lockdown at home in Yucatán. We were determined to make the most of our time and we were all pretty keen to take surfing lessons since our side of the country doesn’t have much opportunity for surfing.

sayulita surf school

Cassie’s first time to take surfing classes.

I have to admit that I like to think I’m a total surfer-dude. I kinda feel like a surfer. I have a tattoo, an undercut and I’ve always been a water-baby. All those things should add up to my being a natural and brilliant surfer. Except then there’s the reality that I’m also 40 (grrrr), I’ve been surfing maybe ten times in my life and I’m an actual wuss.


Surfing with Sayulita Surf School

When I was in Sayulita, I was determined that I would prove to myself that I am absolutely the surfer I think I am. Hahaha. How do you think that went?

Well, it started off fine. I was lucky enough to have a lesson with Sayulita Surf School so I had high hopes since they’re all champion surfers, surely their brilliance would rub off on me. The lesson began with us showing the teachers our style and ability to lie in the correct position on the board (in the sand). I rocked at this. I was seriously excellent. I know, right, good start. I also carried my board to the water like an absolute pro. So far so good.

See also: Is Sayulita open for tourism?

sayulita surf school

We were instructed to get in the water, get on our boards, and paddle out a short way. And then that’s where my bravado fell down. I remembered that I’m actually a teeny tiny bit scared of the sea. I was a lifeguard and did competitive lifesaving competitions when I was younger so I really understand the dangers of open water and as such, have a healthy suspicion of it. For the four of us in the class, we had three instructors, which was great. It meant that not only were we basically receiving one-to-one instruction but that my wussy self could stop being pathetic since someone else was concentrating on potential tide changes for me.

There really wasn’t any need for me to be worrying about tides or Cassie-eating sharks because obviously, no surf school is going to take their students anywhere dangerous. I really do know that but it really helped to have the instructors taking such good care of us. They were great at telling us exactly when to paddle, stand up, and shouting instructions at us each time we set off for shore.

See also: How to spend a weekend in Sayulita, Mexico
sayulita surf school

International Travel Bloggers Trip 2020 by Sayulita Insider / Photo: WSE Travel

I’d like to claim that by the end of my class I was surfing like the champions but um, I was still falling off. The instructors were unrelentingly positive and never once gave up on me. I did absolutely get to the shore without falling a few times and I’m pretty sure that had I had time for more lessons I’d have improved more. Every time I got to my feet and promptly toppled over I just laughed at myself, turned around, and paddled back to try again. Those few times that I made it all the way to shore we celebrated my wins together, oh yeah!

Obviously, I’m totally poking fun at myself here but I hope it’s obvious how much I enjoyed my surfing lesson and that Sayulita Surf School is excellent. I loved my class and even sent my kids and husband for classes when they also expressed a desire to surf. My kids are six and eight and had never surfed before. I don’t actually know whether my husband had ever been surfing before (whoops, bad me) but everyone came back from their class very happy. My six-year-old daughter apparently was better than me and could surf her way to shore from the first attempt, which is of course awesome. From now on I shall live my surfing dreams vicariously through her. She actually had such a great time she went back for more lessons and got us to hire a board for her to practice alone too. She apparently caught the surfing bug in Sayulita and has requested that all future vacations include surfing classes for her.

Related: Sayulita travel budget guide 2021

sayulita surf school

Note: Surfing as a beginner is exhausting and you really must have a plan for what you’re going to do about food as soon as you get out the water. We went to Choco Banana on the plaza where I gorged on a delicious vegetarian breakfast bagel. Phew! (Side note, Choco Banana is super serious about sustainability. They source local ingredients wherever they can and don’t use non-recyclable products. They even offer mugs for rent so visitors to Sayulita can not add to the trash problem when getting take away coffees/elotes/ice creams, isn’t that awesome?)

You might also like: Is solo travel in Sayulita safe?
sayulita surf school

Adventure travel bloggers @heyitstomrogers and @eternalexpat with Sayulita Surf School.

  • Where to find Sayulita Surf School: On the main beach slightly to the right is a well-marked of a shack. It’s pretty obviously a surf-school.
  • Take with you: It’s a good idea to show up with a swim shirt. If you don’t have one they’ll have some to loan you though. I took my GoPro with me, which was great as I now have a ton of hilarious photos and videos of me falling off the surfboard.
  • Cost: We paid $800 pesos per hour per person.
  • Language: We all speak Spanish so took our classes in Spanish but the instructors are perfectly happy to give their lessons in English too.
  • Top Tip: You can also rent surfboards and bodyboards from Sayulita Surf School.

Well, as I said, we were in Sayulita to chill out and take a break so we didn’t have huge plans. After the surfing class, there was very little I wanted to do except eat, drink coffee, and hang out. The kids, obviously, had other plans. They needed ice cream (easy win). They needed to play on the beach, obviously another easy win.

You might also like: The best things to do in Sayulita, Mexico

sayulita surf school

In Sayulita, there are plenty of beach options. My kids are kinda wild explorer kids so they love climbing so once we’d filled ourselves up we grabbed our water bottles and took walk over to Playa de Los Muertos. This beach is easily walkable from town so the kids barely even whined at us as we walked – win!

The rocks at both ends of this small beach cove are perfect for kids who like to climb and play and of course, once they were hot and sweaty we jumped in the sea to cool down.

What a perfect day!

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9 Comments. Leave new

  • I love this story, Cassie! I was laughing right along with you as you told it. I have always wanted to give surfing a go, and to be honest I think I would have a similar experience to you. Falling a lot, yes. But, always getting back up with a smile on your face and having fun with it! Sayulita sounds absolutely beautiful and I think it would be the perfect place to try surfing for the first time. I may or may not be looking at flights right now…

    • thanks, Samantha, glad you were laughing along with me! Highly recommend Sayulita for a great surfing intro. Best of luck!

  • Julia Gottschalk
    December 15, 2020 02:27

    I am so jealous of your surfing experience! I have always wanted to give surfing a go, but never really had the opportunity. Plus, since I am a complete foodie, I am even more tempted to head over to Sayulita after you mentioned Choco Banana! I mean how cute- and sustainable too!

    • Totally worth a visit if you’re a foodie. The restaurant options are truly surprising for such a small place.

  • Wow adventure really has no limits! It is wonderful to see you and your entire family enjoy surfing. I wish that is also something I can do right now! We have a beach nearby but the waves are not for surfing and there are no good resto to speak of. I will just wait out the pandemic and hopefully try surfing again after all these! Enjoy! and about kids being great in suring in the first try–ahh how do they do that!

  • I can’t help but smile while reading your story, Cassie. I remember the first time I had my surfing lesson in Bali. I was absolutely stoked. I’ve always been in love with the ocean-it’s my happy place so you can just imagine my excitement when I had the chance to learn how to surf. I definitely didn’t ace it and have had a lot of failed attempts at balancing and standing on the surfboard but it was such a memorable experience. As they say, nothing beats the first time! And that wouldn’t definitely be the last.

  • Hi, Cassie! What a great experience and thank you for sharing this! I have always been a mountain person but I always imagined seeing myself balancing on top of the surfing board. Reading your post gave me the courage and even the urge to try what I have always imagined! Yes, it’s never to late to try something new and learn from it. Moreover, Sayulita is now added on my list once I will fulfill my dream of travelling to Central and South America, thanks 🙂


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