Surfing

Surfing

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Panama enjoys some of the best, undiscovered breaks and waves ideal for surfing, kitesurfing, bodysurfing, bodyboarding and stand-up paddleboarding. With a variety of surf breaks to accommodate any style from Darién to San Blas to Isla Grande to Punta Chame to Venao to Bocas, surfers are quickly learning about the potential of the entire country´s waves, and are not just sticking with the tried and true areas. Even Panama City will one day be a destination surf spot: the government began planning a massive cleaning of the bay in 2006 extending all the way to Tocumen, and a water treatment plant has been put into place this year (2013). Full enjoyment of the capital´s beaches and waves is predicted by 2030.

Bocas del Toro is undoubtedly a favored destination for surfers, with December-March being the preferred time of year for seasonable predictable swells, and several well-known surf breaks. Playa Venao, about 50 minutes from Pedasí, has been home to the 2011 Billabong ISA World Surfing Games, with surfers competing from 28 countries and Australia gold-medal winner, and 2012 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, in which 303 junior athletes from 31 nations competed in April. The sand bottom beach break is also great for beginners. The consistent and powerful break of Santa Catalina is another popular destination for experienced surfers, and several surf camps for those who want to venture out on the waves. Isla Grande is recommended for experienced surfers as well, with its reef-coral bottom, fun and powerful waves, and empty week crowd.

New surf shops are springing up in many smaller towns to cater to surfers that are branching out to virgin surf sites or trying it for the first time. Most international flights will have a surfer or two revisiting Panama´s waves. Several Israeli expats have brought the art stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) and kitesurfing, graduating from Israel´s leading kite surfing school. Famous promodel surfer Sonia ¨Pucha¨ Garcia has become an emblem for surfing and female athleticism in Panama, a proud Panama native from Chitré.

Magicseaweed.com is a great guide to get a glimpse at Panama´s surf reports and forecasts, complete with feedback, live webcam and photos.

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