Kids Surf Camps: What to Consider

January 5, 2022

Looking for kids surf camps in Panama? Or maybe you’re just starting your kids surf camp planning and are wondering what you should consider.

A love for surfing is one of the best gifts you can give your child. Besides being an incredible athletic pursuit– helping to develop coordination, balance, and overall strength– surfing can increase your child’s confidence, help them foster friendships, spend time outside, and develop a lifelong love for the environment and exercise.  

Kids surf camps are a perfect way to acquaint your child with the sport, hone their skills, and develop their confidence. But you’ll want to ensure you choose the right surf camp for kids. 

Kids have different needs than adults, after all. A surf camp that is perfect for adults may not be the best surf camp for kids. The last thing you want is to give your child a negative early impression of surfing that discourages them from pursuing the sport. 

In this article, we will provide an overview of the most essential elements of a kids surf camp. If your chosen vacation spot doesn’t contain these elements, you may want to change your plans!

Excellent Surf Instructors

A little girl standing on a surf board right next to her instructor.

Your kids surf camp instructor will have a huge impression on your child. It’s important that the instructors are not only great at surfing, but great at teaching, and patient and gentle enough to work well with children. A good sense of humor also goes a long way!

Qualities to look for in your kids’ surf instructor include:

Knowledgeable. Obviously, surf instructors need to know what they’re talking about. If they are inexperienced or lack confidence in their own skills, kids will pick up on that energy. Before selecting a kids surf camp, make sure the instructors have an extensive and positive track record of working with children.

Ability to use a variety of teaching techniques. Not every surfing technique will work for every kid. Everyone has a unique learning style, and instructors should be able to meet the needs of all their students, regardless of how they prefer to learn.

Enthusiastic. Most kids will respond well to a high-energy surf instructor who is excited about the sport. Instructors who simply “go through the motions” of teaching kids how to surf tend to have worse results than those who show how rewarding surfing can be. Making the process of learning a new skill fun is not an easy goal to achieve, but it is essential, if kids are to enjoy their surfing experience.

Positive Role Model. Your kids’ surf instructor will likely have great influence over your child, so you want them to be a positive role model. This starts with behaving appropriately around your child– watching their language, keeping topics age-appropriate, and not engaging inappropriately with other surfers or beach-goers. 

Ideally, the instructor will model positive behavior beyond the basics. Demonstrating good morals, healthy mindsets, and proactively ethical behavior like picking up trash they see on the beach will all leave a lasting impression on your child. Having a surf instructor who is also a positive role model means your kid will pick up more than surf skills– they’ll learn to be a better human, in and out of the water. 

Beyond the four qualities outlined above, kids surf camp instructors may need to have other attributes to be a good fit for your child. This is especially the case if you have a special needs child.

If you’re unsure of whether a surf camp or instructor is right for your child, reach out and ask. If they’re not able or willing to discuss these topics at length, look for a surf camp provider or instructor who will.

Suitable for Various Skill Levels

Two little boys surfing on a wave.

A kid’s surf camp should be able to accommodate first-time surfers, experts looking to hone their technical skills, and everyone in between. Children develop skills at different rates, and no two kids are alike. 

Some kids will immediately pick up the basic surf skills and will be ready to move on to more challenging moves. Others may require some remedial learning of even the most rudimentary components of surfing.

There’s no shame in needing a bit more time learning the basics. In fact, those who spend the time to really perfect the building blocks of surfing often end up as better surfers down the road. Surf camps need to provide a challenging environment for kids, but not one that makes surfing seem so difficult that the child becomes frustrated and burnt out within a single day.

By the way, the location you choose for your kids surf camp is as important as the provider. Many surf spots in the world are better geared for one level or another– a “beginner break,” for example, or a spot deemed appropriate only for experts. Others are known to have dangerous rocks, coral, or sea creatures that can pose a serious risk to surfers, regardless of age or skill levels.

Our surf spot in Playa Venao, Panama is unique in that it offers waves suitable for all skill levels and a soft, sandy ocean floor that’s perfect for learning. Beginning surfers can get their footing in the smaller, slower waves that are closer to shore. As surfers advance, they can paddle out to the bigger, faster waves that await a bit further out. 

Activities Other than Surfing

A Jiu Jitsu instructor talking to his little pupils in his dojo.

Even if your kid is crazy about surfing, it’s important to have other activities they can partake in during their kids surf camp experience. Not every moment can be spent in the water, and having other fun activities will help your child relax, make friends, and even develop their skills (surfing and otherwise) outside of the waves. 

If you’re planning a family surf vacation, having other activities and amenities on-site are even more important to ensuring a fun and balanced time for everyone.

At Beach Break Surf Camp in Playa Venao, Panama, we offer a range of activities and amenities for kids and adults alike:

  • A modern fitness center with a full calendar of classes, including classes for kids 
  • Jiu jitsu and martial arts classes (again, including for kids)
  • A beachfront swimming pool where you can watch the surfers at play 
  • An on-site pizza restaurant with pool tables and lounge seating
  • A grassy beachfront area perfect for playing outdoor games
  • Add-on activities like horseback riding on the beach, nature and waterfall hiking, jungle zip-lining, deep-sea fishing, and more 

Of course, much of your kids’ time will simply be spent hanging out outside, away from devices, connecting with other children from around the world. Who knows, they may even pick up a new language! 

Not a Party Spot 

A kid caught mid air, jumping in the pool.

Chances are, you don’t want your child experiencing “party culture” during their kids surf camp experience. Many surf destinations are also considered major party destinations, with heavy drinking and substance use in plain sight, loud music playing, and provocative dancing deep into the night.

While there’s no shielding your kids’ from all adult behaviors and activities, you can at least select a kids surf camp location that isn’t a known party atmosphere. At Beach Break Surf Camp, we’re proud to offer a family-friendly atmosphere, where children are welcome and wanted. We even have our own little own on-site– Marlee Jane, Beach Break’s first resident baby and soon-to-be the best little surfer the world has ever seen. 

Book Your Kids’ Surf Camp at Beach Break

Two little boys smiling at the camera and getting ready for their surf lesson.

At our location in Playa Venao, Panama, you’ll find the perfect kids surf camp experience, plus activities for the whole family. From our prime beachfront location and modern, comfortable rooms to our expert surf instructors and delicious food, this is the kids surf camp experience your family deserves. 

Go ahead and browse our family surf vacation packages, and reach out with questions or when you're ready to make your booking. Our packages are affordable and comprehensive– including everything from airport pick-up, accommodations, surf lessons and rentals, meals, and more.

We look forward to seeing you– and your little ones– out on the playa!

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