A Beginner’s Guide to Surfing in Taiwan

Taiwan is one of my favorite countries I have ever visited. This little island nation is the perfect mixture of bustling cities, mouthwatering local cuisine, and incredible natural beauty. During my short visit I explored the capital Taipei, hiked the marble mountains of Taroko Gorge, climbed Elephant Mountain to get the best view of Taipei 101, and soaked in healing hot springs. Read on to find out about my experience surfing in Taiwan with Rising Sun Surf Inn.

Unless falling on my ass in various Pilates classes counts as a sport, I won’t be winning any Olympic medals anytime soon. I spent years trying to do a cartwheel and never succeeded. The one time I went skiing I got too scared to jump off the ski lift. They had to stop the whole thing and send someone to get me off. I never went out for any sports in high school. I could keep going but I’m sure you didn’t come here to read about my athletic failures. My point is that I’m not the sportiest traveler.

Naturally, when my travel companion mentioned he wanted to try surfing in Taiwan I was a bit hesitant. I honestly didn’t even know you could surf in Taiwan.

Surfing in Taiwan

Surprisingly, Taiwan is known for some world-class waves. One article actually called it the “New Hawaii”. There are tons of little towns dotted across the coastline that are year-round surf destinations. The three main spots on the East coast to shred some gnar are Yilan, Dulan, and Kenting. We only had one day free so we chose Yilan which is the closest to Taipei. It’s easy to reach by public transport because the train station is right in front of the beach.

Rising Sun Surf Inn

Neither of us had ever surfed before so we were on the lookout for some beginner lessons. Rising Sun Surf Inn was the easiest to find from the train and also offered lessons for newbies. The vibe is very chilled out. The lobby area is a small room with beanbag chairs and a counter where you can order food and sign up for surf lessons. We chatted with the owner a little bit and it turns out she doesn’t surf or even know how to swim! Luckily their instructors are much more experienced and made us feel super safe and prepared the whole time.

Included in the price for a lesson is the board rental, rash guard rental, and photos of your lesson. The instructor swims out with you and will even hold your board for you while you flop around like an idiot trying to get on it.

The Inn is located on the beautiful black sand Wai’ow beach. There are incredible rock formations just off the coast but the area you surf in is far enough away to not send you hurling into the boulders. The scenery was so picturesque I would visit just for the views.

My Experience


So how did I do? Safe to say I lived up to expectations. I did not get up on both feet a single time that day. My friend Adam had a sprained ankle and hopped on both feet within minutes of getting out onto the water. If that doesn’t sum up my athletic career perfectly I don’t know what does. Despite my absolute failure I felt incredible the whole time. The adrenaline rush pushed me to keep trying again and again and I was proud of myself for not giving up.

I probably swallowed twice my weight in fish pee and the salt stung my eyes but I had the time of my life.

I walked away from the experience vowing that I would surf again. Or for the first time since I don’t think I ever technically surfed. But hey — I have a picture standing next to a surfboard now. Close enough.


More Information

Getting to Rising Sun Surf Inn is incredibly easy. You take the local train from Taipei to Wai’ao station. When you get off the train you walk across the road and turn left at the boardwalk. That’s it.

We chose the 1 Day Surf School package and loved it. For one person the price of this package is NT 1500 ($50 USD) but if you go with a friend you will only pay NT 1400 ($46 USD). This package includes:

  • 2-hour instruction and all day surfboard rental

  • Full day rental of a rash guard or wetsuit

  • Photos taken during your lesson

  • Free use of the common areas – toilet, changing facilities, etc.

This post was not sponsored by Rising Sun Surf Inn — although they did give me two free stickers when I was there. I genuinely enjoyed my experience and wanted to share it with my readers. All opinions and athletic failures are completely my own.