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
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
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
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
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.