Travel + Leisure A-List Advisor

Shelby DONLEY

TRAVEL ADVISORY BOARD | LUXURY SURF EXPERIENCES SPECIALIST

Whether surfing is a new aspiration or you're very accomplished and looking for the next great, off-the-charts destination, Shelby can not only recommend the right location, but also match you with private instructors — and even help you find the right surf camps for your kids. Shelby specializes in the top of the line, five-star luxury locales and yachts for a clientele who wants to ride the waves, then be lavished with service and style. And speaking of service and style, Shelby also understands the latest trends in wellness destinations, not just because she recommends them, but because she’s probably already been there since it’s not just a profession, it’s her lifestyle.

ADDITIONAL SPECIALTIES: Spa & Wellness Travel

Languages Spoken: English

Trip Planning Fees: Varies

Contact Info

shelbyd@camelbacktravel.com | 602-266-4000 | Phoenix

twitter.com/shelbydonley

linkedin.com/in/shelby-donley-82639513

What is the A-List?

The A-List is Travel + Leisure’s collection of the top travel advisors in the world. Each year T+L evaluates hundreds of luxury travel advisors, vetting each one and receiving input from their Travel Advisory Board (comprised of agency owners & operators) along with other experts to determine which ones will best serve their brands readers.

Where can I surf now?

Some of the best surf destinations in the world, also happen to be countries Americans CAN visit now such as: Costa Rica, Hawaii, Maldives, Tahiti, and Mexico.  Of course you can also surf in the US.  I’m still surfing the California Coast until the water stays tolerably warm.  I will switch to a 4:3 and go as long as I can this year!  Costa Rica has great options for beginners and advanced surfers.

 

What are the three different kind of breaks?

A beach break which is commonly found in sandy bottomed shorelines such as Santa Monica.  A beach break is wonderful for beginners because of the “softer” wave and the softer bottom.

 

A point break is where the wave is created based on the shoreline formation such as the end of a cove or bay, often rocky that create a typically longer wave than a beach break.  A point break is typical of Malibu or Mexico.

 

A reef break is when waves are created further offshore by a reef, most often coral.  This is best for more experienced surfers as coral cuts can be more unforgiving.  Tahiti and Hawaii are classic examples of reef breaks.  You can also charter a yacht to enjoy a reef break.

 

Keep in mind some destinations such as Indonesia will offer multiple breaks in one destination.

 

Would you recommend a surf camp for beginners?

Actually, I do recommend a surf camp so you can surf day after day in a focused learning environment.  But, rather than joining a group in an international destination, I recommend you create your own group to design your own camp.  For example, there are small islands and resorts that only accommodate 4-8 couples, or say two families as a buy out.  This way you can travel with like minded family or friends, and make sure you are learning in a safe environment with instructors hyper-focused on your techniques and safety. 

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