A Look at the Best Los Angeles Surf Schools
Go Surf LA
With a focus on lessons for young riders, Go Surf LA runs all-day surf camps during the spring and summer months that teach kids ages five to 17. But for something a bit briefer, you can head out for 90-minute lessons on beaches up and down the coast, from Manhattan Beach, Venice, and Santa Monica up to Malibu and Zuma. Santa Monica's reliable waves are particularly well-suited to beginners. And Go Surf LA makes the pledge that you'll ride a wave during your first session or your second one is free!
Malibu Surf Shack
Paddling toward its 50th anniversary, the Malibu Surf Shack has occupied an enviable spot at the center of a famed surf scene since 1972. Directly across from the iconic Malibu Pier. And they've been giving surfing lessons for all of those decades, with skilled instructors sharing what they know on the renowned waves of Surfrider Beach, where you're apt to spot dolphins, sea lions, and maybe even some whales.
Learn to Surf LA
The folks at the Learn to Surf LA Surf School also guarantee that you'll be riding waves after just one session. With 20 years of experience teaching novice surfers in Manhattan Beach, Venice, and Santa Monica, they've got the cred to make that claim. You can opt for private lessons, group lessons, or sign up for one of their surf camps that offer full and half-day sessions from March to April and from June through August.
As the city of Manhattan Beach's official surf school, CampSurf takes a somewhat more organized approach to teach the art of wave riding. Experienced instructors hold small classes in groups of four, all year long as the waves of Manhattan Beach are consistent no matter the season. Kids from ages four to six can join their Camp Surf Groms program to learn about safety before getting out on the water. Not into surfing? You can check out CampSurf's beach games program to learn how to build sandcastles.
Kapowui Surf Club
A family-run business in Venice Beach, the Kapowui Surf Club offers lessons in the waters just beyond their front door, as well as up the coast in Santa Monica and Malibu. And they keep things pretty simple; head to a parking lot by the beach to find their colorful surfboard-topped Volkswagen Vanagons for a meet-up and then head out. While they offer action-packed crash courses for beginners, Kapowui still keeps things chill with a laid-back aloha spirit.
Based in Long Beach, Learn2Rip offers surf sessions at multiple levels. They have lessons for beginners to get the hang of both surfing and stand-up paddle boarding. Individually or in groups. First-timers have reported riding waves during their very first sessions. And Learn2Rip has intermediate-level classes to help more experienced riders take their skills to the next level. But where Learn2Rip really excels is in teaching surfers how to, well, "learn to rip" like a real pro.
Malibu Surf Coach
Sign on for surf lessons with Malibu Surf Coach if you want to meet the legendary Stingray. The Malibu native is a lifeguard, coach of both the Santa Monica High and Malibu High surf teams and has surfed and taught surfing all over the world. He was the head coach for the Quicksilver Surf School in the Canary Islands for years. And Chris "Stingray" Stiegler can teach you what he's learned in one-on-one lessons in a private spot on the Malibu coast.
One Wave Surf School
Founded in 2003, One Wave gives surfing lessons in Manhattan Beach and at a few other spots along the Los Angeles coast. Their Surf Experience package takes you out for 90 minutes, catering to beginners with lessons on paddling, the pop-up, and balance when you finally catch your first wave. Their Surf 4 Real program, as you might have guessed, is for surfers who want to get real about upping their skills, geared toward intermediate surfers looking to master their riding.
Yes, you really can learn to surf with some guidance from a surf instructor. So, suit up, don’t forget the sunscreen and your favorite pair of sunglasses, and go check out the amazing surf schools in LA.
Written by William McCleary for Knockaround.