Surfing in Sicily

Before moving to Sicily we lived in San Diego for 10+ years.  When I moved to San Diego from Michigan I immediately got in the water.  Surfing was my daily obsession after work and whenever I had any free time.  Eventually I learned how to avoid drowning and then moved onto actually surfing and I was hooked.  I was lucky to have a bunch of friends through hockey that were also excellent surfers.  They taught me and protected me when I made stupid mistakes with the locals.  These are the negative types of experiences that end surfing for a lot of people.  To say that surfing became a part of my life is an understatement as it really became part of me.  Surfing changes you in ways that are different from all the other sports that I have played throughout my life.  Im afraid the more I talk about these changes that surfing made in my life the weirder I will sound.  Long story short… surfing is a very spiritual sport.  Spiritual is the best adjective that I can think of that implies the internal effects that it has on you.

Okay… refocus… 😎 When I found out about the job opportunity in Sicily I had to find out if there was surfing.  Unfortunately everything that I found on the internet wasn’t very positive.  Overall the consensus was that there is no surf.  I was so convinced of this that I decided to not ship my surf boards with all of our household goods.  I have been regretting that decision ever since we arrived on the island.

There is surf here!  Its just not well known.  And truth be told its definitely not as great as Southern California, but it  has its good days.  Unfortunately there isn’t a ground swell, but mainly wind swells.  This means that surf only shows up when there is a storm brewing or we are in the midst of  a storm.  The timing and location is super important because of how touchy these swells are.   Luckily there are some surfers in the Mediterrean and they have made wave forecasts available online and for your iphone.

Although the surf is finicky here, there are 3 things that I love about surfing here:

  1. One is that a lot of the surfing locations have very cool surroundings.  For example  as you surf in Aci Trezza you have an ancient castle to view from the water.  Its a Norman castle that was built in 1076 in the town of Aci Castello!  As you wait for a set, you imagine yourself as a would be invader being peppered with arrows from archer turrets high above…. okay maybe this is just me. 😉
  2. It is a true surf safari.  I imagine this is how the pioneers of surfing felt in Hawaii and California.  Barely any of the surf spots are known and/or named in Sicily.  Back in the States every little break has a name and a camera watching it 24/7.  Here we are looking at general maps and guessing where the swell could hit well and winging it.  Often driving and testing out spots for hours.  This sense of adventure and the feeling of not knowing what we may find is very fun.
  3. There are no surfers here!  We Americans are usually the only ones in the water.  There are a handful of locals that will be in the water with us occasionally, but it is nothing compared to the crowds of California.  Its awesome not having to worry about “dropping in” on anybody.  Especially the grumpy California surfers that are super touchy about anyone on “their” wave at any point.  This makes for a very relaxed and fun vibe in the water.

Just to bring it back down to earth there are a few things that are not so good:

  1. Its a lot colder than San Diego.  A 4/3 is necessary during the winter.  I also have booties and a hoodie.  For perspective… Sicily is on the same latitude as Delaware.
  2. Finicky is an understatement.  Waves will come and go at a moments notice.  i.e. Many dry runs!
  3. Being at a spot that may have never been surfed before can be risky.  Rocks are no friends of mine!  As you can see from a picture below of my head after some staples at the hospital.  I was surfing Aci Trezza when this happened.

Overall surfing in Sicily is a great experience.  And if you are thinking about bringing your boards out here I would definitely consider it.  fyi… Winter has more surf here just like California.  Below are some local surf websites that I enjoy and some surf shops.  Also followed by some pictures for visual proof of waves. 🙂  I will have future posts about surf in Sicily. – Catania area surf store with some boards on hand  – W Point in Catania is a surf store but does not have many boards on hand, but you can order boards.  I got my board from these guys. – Surf store in Palermo that has a good amount of boards.

My friend Carlo takes some great pictures of the surf and Sicily.  Some of his pictures are below and his website has more:!surf/c234g


big surf acireale
Picture I found of some big waves on Sicily
big surf sicily
Another picture during the same storm. This storm was also the one that I busted my head open, but the waves definitely weren’t this big where I went out!
castle surf santa tecla
Cool picture of a spot in Santa Tecla Sicily not too far from where we live.
Cool picture caught by
Picture I took of Cefalu showing the typical weather when surf appears around Sicily… Stormy!
Us in the water at Cefalu waiting for waves
Great picture by I believe this spot is in Siracusa area.
This picture by shows how cool it is surfing in Sicily with ancient ruins around you.


My friend Carlo has some great local surf pictures too.


Carlo got this picture at one of our favorite spots in the Catania area



Jessica caught a couple pictures of me surfing in Catania 🙂
Monster cutback.. just kidding.. waves were a bit mushy, but can’t complain!
Infamous picture of my head after the 5 staples that I got from crashing in the rocks of Aci Trezza. Volcanic rocks do not have very much give… Not fun

The injury didn’t stop me from returning to Acitrezza for surf many more times, since it’s my favorite spot in Sicily.  (helps that its right down the street too!!)

About to jump in! A little rocky!
About to jump in! A little rocky!
Im pointing towards aci castello castle in the background
Im pointing towards aci castello castle in the background

acitrezza surf sicily 3

acitrezza surf 4




acitrezza catania surf 5

25 Replies to “Surfing in Sicily”

  1. The doctor that put in your staples must have had a nice, long lunch, ha! Please tell me this was not the work of the base? Happy you still get to follow your surf passion! Fancy

  2. Unfortunately, yes, and the best part, they had to put the staples in twice. The first go round, they were put in wrong and didn’t hold. 🙂 Fun times…I thought we told you this story!

  3. Surfing is good for the soul bro-in-law. The surf here hasn’t been nearly as good as there, your stoked. As for the storm shot of the wave breaking onto the rocks, that wave looks nice but scary! I will say happy voyages to you and keep your board clean-ffej

    1. Thanks for the comment Ffej. I think Huntington is more consistent because once summer hits here it looks like a like on the Med for the most part.

  4. Hi and nice to find your blog! I had no idea there were surfers here although I have seen some big waves during storms. I’m from California but am not a surfer. While I love the Mediterranean I always miss the waves. Body surfing is my thing, but have never had the chance to try that here. The rocky part seems scary. Glad your head injury was nothing too serious!

    1. Ciao Karen,
      Thanks for the comment! Yes the rocks are not to be messed with! But even after my accident I have returned to Aci Trezza to surf several times.. luckily turned out to be good sessions without a trip to the hospital. The surf is definitely finicky here and you have to be on top of it. There is a free App called that is a great reference for weather & wave forecasts. You can also surf at non rocky places like Agnone Bagne and La Playa. The problem is that the waves are always better at the rocky places! See you in the water!

  5. So happy to find some information about surfing in Sicily.
    I’m going in vacation there and I was wondering if I can find some places to rent surf boards.
    Thanks for the post, it has a lot of useful information.

    1. Ciao Scarlet!
      Thanks for the comment. Thats a tough question because surfing isn’t super popular here with the locals, so there isn’t a lot of boards around. I do know that one spot is the local “surf club” where people store boards and such. They would probably be your best bet… but keep in mind that beach clubs are only open during the summer time…closing for the season in late September.. here is the url for info on the place:

  6. Hi Nick, from your blog I gather we work for the same outfit… doing a bit of research on sicily as I am considering moving from the east china sea. Have a few (maybe a lot) of questions I’d prefer to ask via email on all things sicily. If my email does not show, please reply to this post, as I have clicked on the notification box.

  7. Nick,

    We are enthusiastic surfers and also bringing inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards as we are doing a shoot and a story for a magazine. We will be there April 29th to May 7th. Would you know anyone or a shop we could call to sell the SUP inflatables to at the end of the trip? They are Riviera SUPs and great for paddling/surfing/boating and travelling. thanks!

    1. Thats cool Jeff! Paddle boards will be fun in the area… especially during this time of year and summer because it is mostly flat. I asked the only place that I know that rents paddle boards about you selling your boards and they didn’t need any more. Have fun!

  8. Hi Nick!

    Really useful entry on your blog! Searched the web for wave surfing in Italy and found your blog saying: it is possible! Made me really happy!:)
    I arrived in Taormina, working at a hostel here for a month and would love to join you surfing if it’s possible. I don’t have a surf board here, and am not well informed about how to read the weather forecast, but I am really (!) eager to go! Surf, learn and enjoy the nature of waves.

    Might seem bit strange to contact someone over the internet to go surfing, but I thought why not? 🙂

    Would be happy to hear from you,

  9. Ciao Nick – I too have gr8 memories of surfing in Sicily in 1998 and 2000 when we shot a video called Sicilian September Part 1 – (still to do part 2) and the spot at Aci Castello we knew was called Isole Dei Ciclpoi (Islands of the Cyclops)- it broke past boat moorings and jettys. Check out the vid we made on YouTube the playlist link is here – still looking at making the sequel soon. Thanks for the article – Regards Mauro Surfin’ Perth Facebook Group Western Australia

    1. Ciao Mauro! I love your videos! I remember watching them before we moved to Sicily. I like how you show so much of the culture during your trip to Sicily. I hope you do a sequel!

  10. Hi Nick!

    I loved your article on surfing in Sicily! I fly to Palermo tomorrow April 5th and will be on Sicily until April 12th, 2017. I’m looking to surf! I have been skiing in the alps for a couple of weeks and now bouncing south to chase a few waves . . . I need a wetsuit and board . . . Do you have any suggestions or are you free to hang out and surf?? I live in Morro Bay, California. My father’s family is from Campobello Di Licatta. Please feel free to email me. If you do, I will shoot you my cell phone # and we can chat. Thanks!!! ~Tony

    1. Hi Tony,
      Sorry I forgot to respond to this! But it wouldn’t have mattered in that we moved back to the States last year. Did you have any luck with finding surf?

  11. Hi Nick. Really fantastic piece about surfing in Sicily. A friend and I will be in Sicily at the beginning of September and would absolutely love to surf if possible. Would love to pick your brain on best bet locations for that time period, board rental options, etc if you’ve got a quick five minutes for an email exchange. Much appreciated! Thanks!

    1. Exploit is a strong word. I prefer share 🙂 . Hopefully I get some good surf karma. I don’t think sharing these spots are going to cause a problem. There is literally no one out there. The windows of surf are so small that people won’t be able to exploit.

  12. Considering going for a couple of months. Which months are not super cold but yet have waves? I live currently in Bulgaria but also lived in San Diego (where I surfed the most). Now I go to Portugal and Bali mainly but I feel I need to find another closer Euro destination. What town would you say is closest to a consistent spot? Thanks SOOO Much in advance!

    1. Hi Tzveta,
      I would say that the months of (Sept/Oct/May) are the best for warmer water and a chance of waves because they shoulder the winter season. You will get occasional storms coming through bringing the waves. Which town is a tougher question. The big airport towns are Palermo, Catania, and Comiso. Im guessing that you wouldn’t want to venture to far from those. I particularly liked the Southeast and East coast of Sicily, but its probably because I lived there. Down near Portopalo region is cool because you can try two different coasts if the storm is hitting the east or south. Moving up North all the beaches near Avola and Fontane Bianche are nice. Then up near Catania is Aci Trezza and Torre Archirafi. Aci Trezza is where I lived and where I busted my head open! Sometimes storms hit the north coast and Cefalu is a good area for those. Hopefully this helps, but just know that it is very inconsistent. I am now back in San Diego and forgot how consistent waves can be.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.