Fun. Awesome. Beautiful. Challenging. Frustrating. These are all words that can be used to describe the sport of surfing. Surfing is unique in that no two waves are alike, which means learning to surf is as much about learning the waves and respect for the ocean, as it is about learning technique. But, with a few tips from an expert, you can learn to be safe in the ocean and be riding waves in no time.
However, expertise is not the only thing to look for when choosing a surf school or instructor. Here are some questions to consider to make sure that your surfing experience is the best it can be:
WHERE ARE THEY LOCATED?
San Diego has over 70 miles of coastline, a good surf school will know the best breaks for beginners and where to take you when you’re ready for the next step. The ocean changes daily – – sometimes drastically, so operating close to the water and understanding current conditions is important.
ARE THEY CERTIFIED?
The City of San Diego issues permits to surf schools, allowing them to operate on public beaches. Make sure your surf school has a permit, if not, they’re breaking the law.
ARE THEY SAFE?
Are the instructors and staff trained in CPR and Surf Life Saving techniques? Though safety is always a priority, accidents can happen. Make sure your instructor is properly prepared to handle whatever may happen in the water and on the beach.
ARE THEY INSURED?
All surf schools should be bonded and insured. These are measures to protect you as a customer, both physically and financially. Skimping on a less than professional surf lesson to save a few dollars could end up costing you thousands more.
WHO ARE THE INSTRUCTORS?
Can you select an instructor and read their bio prior to your lesson? How much surfing history does your instructor have? Why do they want to be an instructor and do they have the patience and skills to create an experience that suits you? Don’t be afraid to ask questions and find an instructor that’s a good fit for your experience level with swimming, surfing and the ocean.
ARE THEY LOCAL?
Where is your surf school headquartered and where do they find their instructors? A good surf school will not only have in-depth knowledge of the beach and waves you’ll be surfing, they’ll also have information about the neighboring beaches, as well as suggestions on where to get the best post-surf burrito.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO THEY USE?
There are many different combinations of sizes, shapes and materials that are used to make surfboards. Some combinations are much more suited to beginners. You want to make sure your surf school has equipment that is well taken care of and has the right selection to give you the best chance at wide riding success.
It’s often said that all it takes is one wave to become hooked on surfing. It’s a unique feeling that can’t be replicated any other way. So go ahead, take a lesson and see for yourself. But if you’re longing for the ocean and buying a board a few months later, don’t say we didn’t warn you… 😉