Surf in Panama on a Teen’s Summer Vacation

By Trent Bayliss

I just finished 10th grade at Panama Coast International School (PCIS) in Gorgona, Panama .  This summer I plan to do lots of surfing, work on my Spanish skills, and take an online course on Astronomy to lighten my school load for 12th grade.

The best time to surf is in the morning on weekdays, although due to the high tide, surfing in the morning isn’t always possible. My favorite surfing spots, in order, are:

  1. Playa Serena. I can get there by golf cart, and this area is probably one of the longest right hand breaks in all of Panama.  A few weeks ago, I got one of the best waves in my life!  I caught a wave that I was on for 50 seconds, and I went more than 200 meters.  The sad thing is that when it is good here, it can get crowded with other surfers and it only breaks from low to medium tide.
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  1. There is a huge group of rocks right in front of Coronado Bay, and when the tide is right and there is good swell, then it makes a really fun right hander off the point of the rocks.  Sadly, it rarely breaks there because the conditions have to be specific, but when it does, it’s an awesome spot and not crowded at all.  The best part is that this is the beach I can see from my bedroom window, and it is a barefoot walk with my surf board from the condo.
  2. One of my other favorite spots is El Palmar.  One thing that is great about going there is that we have a beach house where I can relax when I’m not surfing.  We have had lots of parties at the beach house and it’s a fun place to hang out.  As for the surfing, it is probably one of the most consistent spots in the area and it can produce both small and huge waves.  It is a good spot because there are multiple breaks for different level surfers, and this is the place where I went to Flor’s Panama Surf School to learn to surf, and it breaks no matter how high or low the tide is.  The one bad thing is that when it is good, it will be crowded, unless you go early in the morning.

This August I will be going to Boquete for Spanish immersion in a Spanish school, and I will live with a Panamanian family.  I’ll report back on that next month!

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