There are three types of surf instruction, no matter if you’re seeking it in Haleiwa, North Shore of Oahu, Sayalita, Mexico, Southern California or the North Coast of Oregon. There’s the lowest level, this is cheap (in some cases but not always), provided by not certified, non professional, not insured people who may surf, but aren’t necessarily teachers of surf or in business teaching surfing. Many times you’re approached on the beach or in the surfing parking lot by them. They’ll ask you if you want a surf lesson, then offer you and your family a cheap price to teach you. Don’t expect much from this instruction. These folks are simply capitalizing on all the tourists in the area and making a quick buck. I hear stories all the time of terrible or disappointing first surf experiences with this type of “surf instructors”.
The next level of surfing instruction is better, most likely costs more, but still isn’t the best. It may be offered through a surf shop, so at least you’re given a referral, not just approached on the beach. But the so called instructor just may like surfing more than teaching, and may end up with you on the inside watching them, while they go catch the waves to show off. Some of the time, these lessons are adequate, but still not the best experience you could take to learn surfing. Although students can learn a lot from watching surfers surf, just not so much during their lesson.
Then there is the best surfing instruction offered in the area you’re visiting. They are known by locals as the “best instructor!” They are associated to the area’s original surf shop, in most cases. These surf instructors are the professionals. Their talent is teaching surfing. They aren’t only experienced surfers from the area you’re visiting, but they’re the locals, having surfed the local beaches for years, even decades, and know local conditions the best. They pass on to their students their wealth of understanding. Seek these individuals out when you want to learn to surf. They are worth every penny they charge and a fantastic jump for you into surfing!
Surfing is one of the most challenging things you’ll ever try, so make sure you have a fully qualified instructor who will teach you how to survey the beach and ocean, teach you the twelve essential skills to learn to surf, share with you the recipe that pulls together all of nature’s six conditions so that you can know when and where to go surfing. Ask questions like are they insured, do they teach the above mentioned items in their lesson, and are they actually a business teaching surfing or not. An experience with these types of instructors will literally raise the learning bar for their students and do it while they share their passion for surfing with them, enriching their student’s surfing journey.