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Beginner’s Guide to Surfing in Siargao

Watching surfers in Siargao

The Philippines is a country in the Pacific Ocean which consists of more than 7 thousand islands! This is already fascinating by itself. This island state hides many amazing things and places (check out our complete 14-day itinerary for the Philippines).

And sometimes you don’t even have to search hard to find these breathtaking places. Such as surf spots. The Philippines is literally a paradise for surfers. No wonder. Both advanced and beginners, like me and my boyfriend, will find their favourite spots.

The surfing capital in the Philippines is Siargao, a small island exposed to the open Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean. And here, the waves, the surfer’s community and the vibe of the island will pull you in.

Let me guide you through this magical place full of neat waves, wonderful sunsets, fires on the beach and chill Siargao community.

Sunset near the Cloud 9 pier

Where are the best surfing spots in Siargao?

(focused on beginners)

Alright, this island is home of the world-known Cloud 9 spot. It is situated on the south-east side of the island and from the airport its about 50 minutes by car, if you go straight to Cloud 9. We took a mini-bus with a group of other backpackers as it was cheaper than taking a tricycle.

Regarding transport, don’t worry too much about it in the Philippines! There is always some tricycle or vehicle willing to give you a ride in this country!

Back to surfing…

Map of the best surfing spots in Siargao

Cloud 9

Cloud 9, as well as the other best spots for surfing, is really close to the centre of the town called General Luna. The town that hosts the best surfers of the world, boho, as well as luxurious keen travellers. This town won’t let you watch it from a distance but will draw you into the action!

Keep in mind that Cloud 9 is that advanced wave, the wave which the best surfers around the world take! So… not recommended for beginners. I was only watching.

The Siargao Cloud 9 Surfing Cup is a World Surf League event organized every year at the end of September and at the beginning of October. And when you see the waves, you will understand!


The right-handed wave of Cloud 9 is called Quicksilver, and, in fact, it is a wave I personally learned to surf on. It might be similar to Cloud 9 but both advanced and beginners can surf the end of the wave.

Be aware that the reef on the bottom is super-duper sharp! Therefore, this wave is also recommended for the advanced to intermediate surfers. My advice for beginners – take water shoes with you! Yes, the Filipino instructors in the surf shops will most probably laugh at you and tell you the opposite… But at least you won’t end with cuts and bruises as I did. And trust me, these deep cuts are not pleasant, especially if you plan to do more activities and travel after surfing. Also, note that there are no lifeguards whatsoever. And the hospital is quite far.


Next to the Quicksilver wave is Tahiti, a smaller wave which surfers mostly let be, as it breaks fast. But hey – that’s the chance to have a wave just for yourself! You can find the Tahiti wave on the left side of the pier of Cloud 9.

Jacking Horse

Just right next to the Tahiti wave, further on the left side of the pier of Cloud 9 is Jacking Horse, super popular wave for both intermediate and beginners. The finishing of the wave is called Little Pony and serves for the total beginners across the whole year, no matter the season. That’s also why these two spots are mostly crowded.


This little spot is not much sought-after because it’s slightly hidden and so not so easy to find. But for beginners and intermediate surfers, it’s a perfect place as it faces the South and so gets waves the entire year, no matter the season. Plus, they are easy to be surfed and learnt on and in addition, you will avoid crowds around the Cloud 9 area!


To get to the Daku Reef, you need to get a boat – it’s about 10 minutes to get there from the centre of General Luna. We haven’t tried this spot but generally, its recommended for intermediates and beginners with an instructor. The reason is that there is a current and you will need to paddle more than normally. But this said, Daku is still a super fav place for its scenery and beautiful view, and especially for group lessons and groups from the resorts. So, don’t be surprised that after the boat ride, you will need to wait in the lineup for your wave.


The name of this spot first made me feel that this point will be extra dangerous even for super-advanced surfers. Right?

No, don’t worry.

It’s actually a favourite place, mostly for intermediate surfers. It doesn’t need to be that crowded, because you have to either paddle to the spot or walk around 15 minutes on the reef shore so it’s not that pleasant of a walk. But surfers still prefer to walk there, no wonder why (save your energy from paddling for the moment you will really need it).

The name comes from the many peaks of the long-reef which are known to offer a slightly different surfing experience. The best time for surfing here is during low tide. Timing then, along with either walking or paddling, is important.

This is the list of surfing spots Siargao offers to beginners. You definitely won’t be bored on this island!

Intermediate surfers will for sure appreciate also spots as Rock Island, Bumee, Stimpy’s and Salvacion. Whereas points as Pacifico, Burgos or Tuason are advised rather for advanced surfers.

Generally speaking, my beginner surfers, to choose where to surf, it’s better to ask around the surf shops and surfers hanging around spots that day, already when you are in Siargao. Because the weather and many other conditions can be different each time.

TIP: To know the times of low and high tides, check the offical site for tide forecasts here.

And to understand why it’s important to follow the times of tides and much more, check out this article from the guys at Surfing Feed: Which Tide is Best for Surfing

Surfers coming back to shore at sunset

Should I get an instructor?

If you are beginner, definitely yes!

In fact, you can see beginner surfers with their personal instructors a lot, especially at the Jacking Horse spot. It’s not a bad idea to take a lesson even if you are not a complete beginner. Keep in mind that there is a strong current around Jacking Horse and some additional person who will help you with pulling is never a bad idea!

My advice here would be to get a certified instructor. I know that sometimes it might be a little bit tricky. But there were some cases that instructors didn’t know anything about first aid which let into really dangerous situations. These guides are mostly locals who want to earn easy money.

My personal experience is that a so-called instructor can, in the end, be just a friend of the surf shop’s staff without any training. My instructor couldn’t neither surf nor swim! (which I found out with a surprised and terrified face right in the water the second he was pushing me to catch the wave). And when I cut my foot on the razor-sharp reef, he laughed.

To be honest, it was still one of my best life experiences, as it was the first time I caught a wave. So, endorphins, adrenalin and saltwater definitely helped me to continue with the lesson even with cut feet.

PRICE: Lesson with instructor (1-2 hours) + surfboard can be around 1500 PHP (27 EUR).

Surfing camps in Siargao

If you want to get really into this sport, there are also many options to join surfing camps lasting up to one week. And mostly these camps are all-inclusive including transportation, meals and accommodation.

There are also surfing camps made just for intermediate and advanced surfers. They really focus on the spots where waves perfectly break. It’s more or less guidance than learning camp.

One of the famous places which offer both beginners one-day training and camp for intermediate is definitely Kermit Resort (their pizza is famous among the surfer community in Siargao!). If you want to combine surfing with yoga, definitely try Harana (you will fall in love with their bungalows!).

When is the surfing season in Siargao?

It depends, but generally speaking, the best time to go surfing is between September and May. But the summer brings small waves with also beautiful weather which is the best time for complete beginners to learn. So, Cloud 9 can serve for these purposes at this time. Then – you will be able to boast that you surfed Cloud 9!

The best waves are known to be in late September to late November, but in this case, you can also expect a lot of people on boards.

Then, the rainy season with huge unreadable waves starts in December and ends in March.

White sand beach in Siargao

Where to stay in Siargao if surfing?

Well, well, well. This doesn’t need to be necessarily a hard task but in Siargao… There are tons of options from boho to boutique-style to beachy luxurious style resorts with bungalows and house villages. Prices also differ, you can see ranges between 15€ up to 250€/night.

During our visit, we stayed in Lukay Resort Siargao  – small bungalows with common area, great for gathering in the evenings for chatting and playing cards. That was really lovely and can definitely recommend it!

But wherever your accommodation will be, you will always feel welcomed and relaxed, as is the whole Siargao island!

Surf boards on the Cloud 9 pier at night, General Luna

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