Most people have no idea you can surf in Thailand, especially Koh Lanta which is a small southern Thailand island close to Phuket and Krabi. When I arrived I was surprised to even see waves here, and no surfers out! In 6 months from May to November, I have not seen any other surfer out. It feels unbelievable to be surfing on this beautiful island and looking out to other islands like Koh Phi Phi in between sets. You really feel awesome after sessions here.
There are four breaks that I surf which I can recommend: Royal Cliffbanger's, Lendogg's, Gok Rocks, and Cliffbanger's Point. Many of the breaks had never been surfed before according to locals. Somehow they ended up naming the breaks after a legendary half Thai half farang man the Thai locals knew as Cliffbanger. Apparently the Thai's were quite confused about his ethnicity - he looked Thai, but he surfed and had a very white bottom.
Koh Lanta beaches face west and collect the swell from the Andaman Sea, which is the same swell Phuket gets. The waves only work when there is no wind or a slight offshore/easterly. The wind is predominantly westerly (on-shore). I arrived in Koh Lanta in April, and have surfed through to mid November. I don't know what the waves are like from mid November (since we are leaving soon). Awesome for learners and experienced surfers. There are no surfboards on the island, so I purchased one from Phuket! I went for a longboard 9"2" to make the most of the waves which are generally around the 2ft mark. The largest I surfed was 4 foot and there were times I couldn't get out back because of the size and frequency. A fish would also be a good choice for the 'bigger' or messy days if you can afford both a long board and fish. The best times to surf are in the mornings and evenings before the wind picks up.
1. Royal Cliffbanger's
Royal Cliffbangers is the most reliable and safest wave since its a beach break. It's the best break with the longest rides. You can find it at the middle of Khlong Dao Beach just in front of the Royal Lanta Resort. There are no rocks here unlike the rest of the breaks! Works best at mid tide. Images below:
If it's too big at Royal Cliffbanger's you can walk north up the beach about 500m to a sheltered north end oft he bay that wraps around. This break is called Lendogg's. There's also access via the road that goes to the Crown Lanta resort. This is sheltered in a bay as opposed to Royal Cliffbanger's which is fully exposed. No rocks here on the beach break. The point breaks sometimes, but is rocky! The biggest I surfed here was 4ft. Watch out for fishing nets! Images below:
3. Gok's Rocks
Gok is the Thai alter ego of Cliffbanger. Please note, this break is not named after Gok's bulladangs. Gok's Rocks is named so because there are a lot of large rocks protruding at this beach. However, one might want to have big rocks in order to surf this break because it is dicey AF. The break is at the south end of Long Beach (aka Phra Ae beach), accessible by the Malee Seaview Villa complex (where I lived, this was my 'local' break), or Castaway Resort. This spot also gets up to about 4ft. Best near high tide. A great wave if you have a fish. Remember to drop like a pancake if you fall off to avoid getting slammed onto a rock.
4. Cliffbanger's Point
Cliffbanger's Point is a reef break perfect for long boards. It's a big paddle out though - about 200m. It's between the south end of Long Beach and Relax Bay. A beautifully clean and fun wave. It's reefy, but the water depth is about 2 or 3 metres at low tide (which is the only time it works), so no issues with getting smashed on rocks when it's small. But on bigger days as seen in the second and third images below, watch out unless you want to look like you've been playing slip 'n slide on a cheese grater! In the first image the waves look tiny from afar, but it's about 2 ft once out. A lot of fun. I last surfed this in early November. To access this break, you can walk through the Malee Seaview Villa complex to the beach, and it is the point to the left.
There are definitely breaks down the mid to southern end of Koh Lanta. I lived at Long Beach, so naturally surfed there because I didn't have a car to search for waves in. You can hire a tuk tuk and a long board fits in, or strap it to the roof if you're driving yourself.
Surfing here has been amazing. Back home in Sydney the problem is crowded breaks and aggro dicks in the line up. Here the only problem is getting tired from constantly catching waves.
Please feel free to ask me questions in the comments and check out my instagram page @cliffbanger