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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do lessons work?
Surf lessons are an hour and 45 minutes long, and include all the equipment - foam longboard and full length wetsuit. We spend the first 20 minutes on the beach going over how to pop up, water safety, surf etiquette and how to handle the board in the water, and we spend the remainder of the time in the water guiding our students through how to apply what they learned on shore. The technique we teach is very effective - pretty much everybody can catch their own waves and stand on their own by the end of the lesson.

Are there any lockers available at the lesson?
We don't provide any lockers or storage for your belongings while at the beach. However, we all leave our belongings on the beach, in plain view directly in front of where we teach the lesson.

What time should I arrive?
Though lessons will begin at the time scheduled, and sometimes instructors will not be at the location until the scheduled time, it's not a bad idea to show up 5-10 minutes beforehand to be sure you're ready by the scheduled start time.

What should I bring to the lesson?
For Surf Lessons, you should bring a swimsuit you can wear underneath a wetsuit, a towel, some drinking water to rehydrate, and have some sunblock on your face and neck prior to the lesson (if you're going to be wearing a wetsuit you on't need any on your arms, torso or legs as you'll be covered with the wetsuit!).
For surf camp, you'll need to pack a swimsuit, a towel, LOTS of strong (at least SPF 15), waterproof sunblock, and lunch (there's really nowhere to get food at the location). It's also not a bad idea to have a hat for sun protection. We provide snacks and drinking water.
Please bring the cell phone you provided us the number for at the time of your registration as well. If for whatever reason we are unable to locate each other, it is always good to have the ability to call

Are the waves big enough today?
As a beginner, you really don’t want big waves. The locations we teach at always have waves that are ridable and well suited to beginners. We don’t schedule lessons for times when conditions aren’t workable (generally at higher tides), so book your lessons with confidence.

Which location is best?
During the summer months (Memorial Day to Labor Day), waves are smaller in general and we can offer lessons at all our locations, at Malibu/Zuma Beach, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, and Manhattan/Dockweiler. We find the Venice/Santa Monica locations consistently work the best though. During the off season months (Labor Day to Memorial Day), waves get generally bigger, and lessons are only offered at our Venice and Santa Monica locations as the Malibu/Zuma and Manhattan/Dockweiler locations don't work as well. While we can accommodate lessons at the other locations, we reccommend Santa Monica/Venice for consistency and safety.

For both beginners and more advanced students, we recommend the Santa Monica location as it has a variety of conditions to work with. For our beginner students, we generally stay closer to shore in the white-wter. For our more advanced students, we can head out a bit further to where the waves are breaking, where we find a varity of peaks to work with. If you are more advanced, let us know at the time of booking so we can schedule your lesson at a time when conditions will be more optimal. Conditions for beginners are generally always good.

Can we continue to use the equipment after our lesson?
People are generally pretty tired by the end of their lesson as a lot of time is spent paddling in the water, and most won't want to continue beyond that time. However, should you desire to continue with the equipment, we can usually make some sort of arrangements at the lesson, provided we have another lesson running at the same time.

I want to book a private lesson for a mixed group of smaller kids and bigger kids/adults. Should we have one or two instructors?
The only time this is a concern is if one of the students is much smaller than the others, and will have to stay closer to shore than the rest. This is generally the case when you have a child under 9 years old mixed in with students over 12 years old. Smaller children have a harder time getting out past oncoming waves than larger students do. In this situation, the instructor will have to stay closer to shore for the smaller child, while the older ones will be able to go out into the ocean much further. The instructors attention will be much more split between the students, and it will be hard to devote adequate attention to all of them. It may make more sense to have two or more instructors in this type of situation.

Can I use my own equipment at the lesson?
If you have your own wetsuit, bring it. If you have your own board, bring it, but you should only use it during a private lesson at the descretion of the instructor (We do not allow any boards other than our own for group lessons). We'll also give you some feedback about how it matches up for your skill level.
There is unfortunately no discount provided if you bring your own equipment.

Aren't hard boards/short boards better?
The foam boards we provide are more than adequate for any skill level. We shred on these boards between lessons. You will not be limited in any way performance-wise by using them in your lessons.
While great for more advanced surfers for their maneuverability and performance, short boards are actually pretty awful to learn on (that is, unless you're a masochist). They are extremely unstable and difficult to catch waves on. If and when you catch a wave, you will have an almost impossible time trying to get up on it. Then, if you manage to get up on it, it will be very unresponsive and difficult to ride as the wave won't have enough push for the board. Shortboards are performance boards made for steeper and more technical open face waves, well beyond the realm of a novice surfer. It's best to use the gear we provide and have a good experience that you'll actually enjoy and learn something from, rather than have an unsuccesful experience in which you get consistently beat up by waves, possibly get injured by a hit from the short board, and likely learn very little.

What if the weather’s bad? Won't it make the water cold?
The ocean is such a large body of water, that local weather doesn’t really affect the water temperature (unless there is upwelling or downwelling, which is another topic entirely. Click here for more info on upwelling). Water temperature ranges from around 70 degrees in mid-summer to the mid-fifties in winter. The full length wetsuits we provide will keep you warm enough to spend an hour and 45 minutes in the water, even in mid-winter.

What if conditions are bad and we need to cancel?
We are constantly monitoring all the factors that could affect your surf lesson. If at any time we need to cancel due to unfavorable conditions, we will contact you immediately to either reschedule or fully refund your lesson. If we don’t call you to cancel, then your lesson will go on as scheduled, and our regular cancellation policies apply.

How many lessons before I'm good?
That really depends. Most people are able to catch waves and get up on their own after one lesson, but surfing is much more than just standing up on a board. In successive lessons, our students learn how to turn, how to read and select waves, techniques to paddle out through the break, how to best maneuver the board, timing, ettiquite, tides and other factors affecting wave quality, and more. Of course, everybody is different, and some will pick up on some techniques quicker than others and vice versa. However, in general, most people get a solid basic intro in a 3 lesson pakage, and have a good foundation for catching waves and standing on their own. In a 5 lesson package, most are able to turn fairly consistently after catching a wave. After a 7 lesson package, many are able to identify a rideable open-face wave, and have moderate success at maneuvering themselves into position to catch it. Again, success is relative, and everyone has their own learning curve. Surfing is ultimitely hard, though a very rewarding experience. The basics are easily learned, but you can only improve through repetition. With instructed lessons, you have trained eyes on you that can help you avoid bad habits and guide you past some of the pitfalls that could otherwise hold you back for months or even years.

Do I need to be able to swim?
Our lessons generally take place in water shallow enough that you can stand the entire time you are taking your lesson. However, should problems arise, you should be able to handle yourself in the water, and being able to swim is the most important thing you can know. It is recommended that you are able to swim before taking a lesson.

What's the best exercise to do to prepare me for surfing?
Swimming. You can't beat swimming as a preparation for surfing. Swimming will exercise many of the muscles you will use to paddle your board, it will improve your aerobic fitness, and it will increase your water confidence.

What's the youngest age that can be taught?
We will teach as young as 5, but we need to make sure that the conditions are favorable at the time requested in your registration. You can indicate in the comments field of your online registration that you are bringing a smaller child, just to make sure that you are scheduled at a nice low tide to accommodate him or her. Also, if you intend to combine a smaller, young child with a much larger child or adult in one lesson, be advised that if you do one lesson with only one instructor (as opposed to two concurrent lessons with two instructors), that instructor will need to spend most of their time close to shore with the younger, smaller child as the waves and currents will affect them much more than they would a larger person, and won't be able to devote as much attention to the larger students who will naturally be further out in deeper water.
We welcome teenagers and adults in the group lessons, while younger children and pre-teens are better suited for private lessons.

Can I book a lesson for today?
During the summer months (from Memorial Day through Labor Day), we can often take bookings the same day. During the off-season months (Labor Day through Memorial Day) we usually need to have at least 24 hours notice to book surf lessons, but can often take last minute bookings. In general it is best to give us as much notice as possible so that we can be sure to get you into your preferred slot.

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