Ride the Wave: Surf Lessons for Locals

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Let’s go surfing now, everybody’s learning how, surfing in the Bay Area with kids! OK, so The Beach Boy’s song didn’t quite go that way, but we are betting they probably knew about these awesome surf spots in NorCal. The late summer is the best time of year in the Bay Area for beginners since waves are much smaller, the currents less dangerous, and water is warmer. Here are a few of our favorite surf spots and lessons for kids so they can shred away the last days of summer.


Photo: Maui SUP via Flickr

Bolinas Bay

Bolinas is located in Marin county, at the southern end of the Point Reyes National Seashore. Because of Bolinas’ unique coastal position, the surf is protected from the winds and huge swells which make Bolinas one of the safests surfing beaches for beginners.

Bolinas Surf Lessons at 2 Mile surf Shop
At Bolinas Surf they will teach you and your kids the basic surfing fundamentals, as well as ocean awareness, water safety, wave riding skills, and the all-important surf etiquette.

Where: 22 Brighton Ave, Bolinas, Ca
Cost: Weekend Group classes at $50 each. Kids 1 hour Private lessons $80 for first child and $30 for each additional child.

Phone: 415-868-0264
Online: surfbolinas.com
Tip: You can schedule a lesson online

girl_surfboardPhoto: Lena Smith via Flickr

Linda Mar in Pacifica

This is most well-loved and well-used beach in Pacifica. Just fifteen minutes from San Francisco, this gorgeous beach offers some of the best surfing for beginners in the region. After you and your kids are done riding the waves hit the local food stands to restore your energy!

University of Surfing
University of Surfing is one of the best known surfing institutions in the Bay. They offer Surf 101 beginner group lessons and promise that they will get you surfing in under an hour, and riding waves within your first two lessons. All ages and skill levels are welcome.

Where: Linda Mar in Pacifica State Beach, 1416 9th St, Ca
Cost: $100 for 2 hours
Phone: 650-556-6515
Online: universityofsurfing.com
Tip: Schedule your lessons Online

kids_surfingPhoto: Vince Alongi via Flickr

Homebreak Surf Lessons
Formerly known as WB Surf, they took home the prize for best surf lessons in SF Weekly’s Best of San Francisco 2012. Instructors at Homebreak ensure that each student will not only learn to stand during their first lesson but will also learn surf etiquette, wave selection, ocean safety, beach hazards and best practices. They provide lessons for kids of all ages.

Where: Linda Mar Beach, 1416 9th St, Ca
Cost:  $75 for one hour or $110 for two hours private lesson.
Phone: 415-797-7873
Online: wbsurflessons.com
Tip: Surfboard and wetsuit included in lesson price.


Image via Homebreak (WB) Surf Website

Cowell’s in Santa Cruz

This is a lovely beach just north of the Santa Cruz Wharf, and a little quieter and smaller than the Main Santa Cruz Beach. It’s great for beginner surfers but it can get a little busy in the water at times.

Cowell’s Surf Shop
This is the place to go if you want to learn how to surf in Cowell’s beach. They state that if your child feels comfortable in the ocean away from the shore, he/she is old enough to surf! They book all lessons around low tides, swell and surf conditions. Tide times change daily and they usually have 4 surfers per instructor in their group lessons.

Where: 30 Front St., Santa Cruz, Ca
Cost:  $90 for two hours
Phone: 831-427-2355
Online: cowellssurfshop.com
Tip: The price includes a board and wetsuit for the day.


Image via Sea, Surf and Fun Yelp

The Jetty in Half Moon Bay

This wide sandy  beach in Half Moon Bay is located beneath the seawall along Highway 1. The Jetty is also called “Surfers Beach” and it’s for good reason. This popular surf spot doesn’t get as crowded as other beaches, so it’s a great place to ride your first wave.

Sea, Surf and Fun!
This Half Moon Bay surf school offers regular private and group surf classes, but also Girls Session (yoga+surf), team building and summer surf camps. They promise that you will never notice the chill of the water as you paddle around with seals and dolphins summon all of your energy to face the power of the ocean.

Where: 531 Obispo Road, El Granada Ca
Cost: $60 for 2 hour group lesson and $100 for 2 hours of private lesson.
Phone: 415-410-1102
Online: seasurffun.com
Tip: Wetsuits and equipment included in the price.

Are you ready to paddle out? Let us know if you or your kids are planning to ride the waves this summer and where you go to get your surf fix!

–Sonia Gandiaga