Thanks to the growing list of surf schools, supportive surf clubs and regional organizations like the Asian Surfing Championships, aspiring surfers are learning to appreciate both the culture and our environment in Thailand. There are a number of surf schools, local surf groups, and Thai locals who offer lessons and board rentals throughout our surf season. They not only teach people how to surf, they also incorporate education in ocean safety, marine life, and environmental awareness.
One well-known and long-established local surf school located in Patong, Phuket, is Andaman Sea Surf School. They offer surf lessons and surf excursions around Phuket and mainland Thailand throughout May to October, pending weather conditions. Local Thai surfer and ex-Asian Surfing Tour champion, Decha Sithidej, is Thailand’s first surfing champion and also the owner of the school. Day, as he is fondly known, and his team are all certified by the International Surfing Association. They have been providing lessons and sharing the stoke with locals and tourists since 2001.
Another local organization, called the Kalim Reef Surfers, aims to support health, fitness, and education through surfing. They are mainly a group of local Thai children who have shown interest in the sport and who have been given the chance to develop positive and encouraging friendships while learning the life lessons of friendly and respectful competition. The community based organization also helps young children stay away from the temptations of drugs and alcohol while teaching them how to respect marine life through beach clean ups. They will be hosting a local surf contest at Kalim Reef in the north end of Patong Bay, Phuket, on September 16 and 17, 2017 with the hopes of attracting more young children to participate and more adults and local businesses to support them.
Another group, Christian Surfers Thailand, generously helps underprivileged children from all backgrounds by providing community support and diversity through education, mentoring, and leadership development. They also donate their time to provide lessons in environmental learning and ocean safety while helping to create a more positive life through surfing. Organized by Tim Campbell, activities including educational surf camps and surf contests are held throughout the surf season. They also help by sponsoring talented and motivated young Thai surfers to compete in other locally held surf contests.
These are just a few of the handful of organizations around Thailand. The list will surely grow as more Thais and others in the Southeast Asian region continue to look to surfing as an exciting, challenging and fun sport. Many thanks go out to all the surf clubs and organizations across the world for getting more people involved in surfing and giving young children a chance to improve their lives.