Surf Belize

Right Point Break at Glover’s Reef

Belize surfing is indeed a reality! Long Caye Belize enjoys the only surf break in the country that is both accessible and safe (not breaking over live coral). Because the Belize Barrier Reef blocks ocean swells, only shoals outside the reef or bordering a break in the reef will form a wave. It turns out there are only three spots like that in the entire country, and ours is the only one of the three with a surf center right there (equipment and instruction).

Belize surf wave

It’s not always this huge, but you might get lucky!
Charlie Woodward

Surfing is Part of the Package

Surfing at our island is not available without purchasing one of our Belize vacation packages. Our island is located far out to sea, which is one of the reasons it is such a fabulous place; we experience none of the crowding found in other parts of Belize. There is no way to visit our island only for the day, a 5-night package (3 nights on the island) is our minimum as our private boat charter only goes to and from the island two days a week. Packages include hotels and meals in Belize City before and after the trip, transport to and from the island, accommodations and meals on the island, soda and beer on the island, and windsurf and other sports gear and instruction. We specialize in Belize multisport trips; we aren’t just a surf resort! For a complete summary of all the sea sports we offer, visit our adventure sports page.

Each sport has a mandatory orientation session where we introduce our gear to you. Once you have had the orientation session, you are free to use the gear anytime you like, as long as you have a buddy. The buddy system is different for each sport, and that’s explained during the orientation. For example, a buddy while snorkeling is someone snorkeling with you, but a buddy while surfing can be a person on shore paying attention to your location and notifying us if you need assistance. During scheduled activities, guides are on hand monitoring your progress and a buddy may not be necessary, since the guide is effectively your buddy.

[photo credit at top of page: Meg Griffiths]

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Surfing Long Caye Belize

“We had some squalls come thru the first few days so the surf waves were BIG, but relatively friendly, and warm. Got some good rides and also got pitch-poled and catapulted a few times. Bob ended up getting scuba certified on the island and is 100% hooked. But even snorkeling we saw huge turtles, every imaginable species of coral, and of course tons of colorful fish I can’t even begin to name. Oh and a lobster as big as a chair. All the logistics were smooth as silk, everyone was so friendly and helpful, the food was great (& plentiful!), and the scenery unbeatable. SLICKROCK ROCKS!!!”

Susan Conrad

Kalispell, MT, February 2009

Belize Surf Camp at Glover’s Reef

About Our Wave

Our point break is almost always active at the channel entrance between Long Caye and the neighboring island, intercepting swells driven in by the trade winds. The swells break and peel off to the right in long, running breaks that can go for up to a hundred yards. The bottom topography under this break is eroded coral rubble, with no live or sharp coral faces, creating a safe (but hard) bottom surface.

Our wave is a right hand break which starts out in 8-12 feet of water, getting progressively shallower the longer the ride, ending in about 3 feet depth. Moderate to steep on the initial drop, there can also be a slight reform where one needs to cutback to make a second section where the wave walls up again with a fun, punchy, fast, inner section. Because of the shallowness of the break, this wave is not recommended for first time beginners as there is the risk of falling off the board wrong and hitting the bottom. However there is little risk of being “pounded” by the wave inside because it loses most of its force in the shallow water.

Swell in the winter is almost always near/moderate fetch trade-wind-driven waves. The Trades blow a near constant 10-15 knots (or more), so often times surfable wave conditions also have “onshore” wind and chop It’s a rare day to have super glassy conditions – although it does happen. The biggest sets we ever see are 6-8 feet. Normally they are 4 feet high.

Also, because of the reef the wave is very consistent; it’s common to have a 4-6 foot face on the initial drop. Rides of 50 to 100 yards are possible on good days when it’s connecting. This is a very uncrowded break, so except for having to share with a few other guests, you can catch all the waves you want!

If you want world-class, immaculately groomed long fetch overhead barrels – you should consider a destination such as Tavarua or the Mentawais. However, if you’re a surfer planning to go to Glover’s for the reefs and kayaking, windsurfing, etc. – you also might be rewarded with some very fun, VERY uncrowded tropical surf.

Slickrock's right point break
Victor Myers
Long Caye at Glover's Reef, Belize surf wave
Susan Mack
Our break is just off our shore at Glover's Reef
Lucy Wallingford

Experience is Needed for Board Surfing

Although our wave is excellent for surf kayakers at any level, our break is not ideal for beginner boardsurfers. This is because our break is on a reef of broken (hard) coral rubble, not (soft) sand. Anyone wiping out while learning to surf here could sustain a serious injury.

Guests with surfing experience must first demonstrate kayak surfing ability before they are cleared to use the boards in surf, and we recommend you then graduate to paddleboard surfing before attempting board surfing.

Experienced surfers can catch the bigger breaks further out and often get very long rides when conditions are good. Surfing with Slickrock boards is subject to trip manager/guide approval. Beginners with good athletic ability and some experience may be able to get some board rides if conditions permit. Our boards are chosen specifically for our wave.

We start everyone out on surf kayaks, this is not a beginner wave
Cully Erdman

What About Surfing for Kids?

Not all of our guides surf, so surfing lessons are not available for beginners every week. Persons under the age of 12 are not authorized to use any of our surf boards at any time, and those between the ages of 12 and 15 may use our boards only at the lead guide’s discretion.

Your kids will have more success with paddleboard surfing rather than standard surfing
Robert Dunlop

What Time of Year is Best for Surfing?

Good waves can be found all year, it depends on the weather out to sea which creates the swells that form the best waves. Winter and spring are windy seasons and Long Caye will usually see a good break of four feet or higher during this time, but occasionally the seas do flatten out for a few days at a time. December through March may be the best time to plan for waves, though we have had flat spells during these months as well. Last season, even the month of April had decent surf for 3 out of 4 weeks.

Our waves are generated by the trade winds, which blow all season long. These conditions are different than many surf destinations that rely on a “storm season” from either the Northern or Southern Hemisphere. This is relatively short period wind waves and usually originates a few hundred miles from the island. As such, it never really goes “flat” for long periods, usually not for more than a few days, although sometimes the waves do arrive with those same onshore trade winds. Like any surf destination, you never can truly predict what the weather will deliver on any given week.

Surf Forecast for the Gulf of Mexico and Yucatan region

Glover’s Reef wind and waves – Looking for wind or wave information for our island? Follow the link to a satellite buoy station with wind and wave information, located 31 miles WNW of our island, right in the area where we cross the Blue on our way to Glover’s Reef.

Please remember, there is no way to predict the swell for a specific date!

Surfing in Belize is great, the water is 82 degrees!
Jasmine Ardeshiri
Long Caye surf
Cully Erdman

Surf Boards

6’10” Epoxy Fish by Yancy Spencer
6’10” & 7’10” Funboards by Blue Surfboards
7’6” MBB Thruster by Channel Islands
9’0” & 9’2” Performance Epoxy Longboards by Colbalt

Surfers may want to bring their own board, which we will gladly carry out to the island. One can ride a variety of boards on the break, everything from long boards and fun shapes on mellower days (or for the less experienced) and our wave is also great for the modern fish shapes on bigger days. True short board thrusters occur on bigger days for those in the know. A fish is probably the all-around best bet as it works in most size waves, including smaller, mushier days. Another good option would be the new hybrid “mini-tanker” boards with higher volume/less length in the 6-7 ft range. Our wave is not a consistent short board break but it is a very consistent long board break; any board over 7’ is going to perform well on our wave.

Surfboard quiver
Cully Erdman

What Else Do Surfers Need?

Booties are required to wear at all times in the water. Our Belize packing list on the Adventure Island at Glover’s Reef info sheet (you can request this document to be mailed or emailed to you) includes a discussion of booties. Surfers should bring booties that are thin enough to allow for mobility on the board, yet thick enough to buffer the rock/coral from harming their feet. Some booties made specifically for diving are big and too cumbersome for surfing.

Surf's up!
Victor Myers