1. Are surfing lessons necessary?

Along the North Coast of Oregon prior to 2005, there really weren’t any exceptional surfing lessons being taught. I and all of my coaches except for one had to learn to surf on their own. (10 women coaches and 2 men coaches over the last 18 years of our program).  We may have had a few pointers from a boyfriend, husband or dad, but mostly we had to take the “school of hard knocks” and observe and learn very slowly and gradually. A lot more mishaps and struggle were involved than if we had a competent and talented instructor to share with us the 12 essential skills of surfing, the surf science so necessary to know when and where to go based on the current swell, wind and tide conditions, safety with our surfboard to avoid contact, and an awareness of how riptides and long shore currents work to avoid being sucked out to sea in one. All of this knowledge that we share in every lesson and immersion camp, we had to learn on our own. This shows you how determined NW Women’s Surf Camp’s coaches were to learn to surf…and excel at it!

2. Can’t I teach myself to surf? 

Yes, you can try and teach yourself to surf. But the success rate and percent of newbies that actually stick with it, surf many practice sessions and learn on their own is a small percentage.  Not sure if its lack of patience to learn the most challenging sport on the planet, my opinion, or they had a traumatic experience that forever turns them off from learning to surf. Either way, having an exceptional instructor/coach teaching you the essentials in a surf lesson or series of lessons and camps is so much more advantageous, successful and progressive. You’ll feel like you’re gaining skills more strongly in every surf session, even if it’s your paddling technique getting stronger, your timing to catch the wave improving or your overall confidence in being in the ocean’s waves.   

3. Will I learn faster with surfing lessons and coaching?

Definitely yes! After teaching surfing now for more than 20 years and developing a unique methodology that was developed over that time frame for students to learn most progressively and confidently from, I have seen the difference each summer, as I observe how our students are taking up the skills versus people who have rented gear or have their own gear and are trying to learn on their own. Our students excel and go on to get additional coaching or they feel confident to practice on their own until they hit a plateau and need to learn the next skill bank.

4. What are the advantages of taking surfing lessons?

You will learn the tricks of getting on a wetsuit and parts, on and off. Phew!

You will learn all parts of the board and how they function for surfing, as well as how to wax a board.

You will learn the 12 essential skills for surfing, including various ways to carry your board, paddling techniques and reading waves.

You will understand positioning on the board for sections of the wave.

You will gain more in wave coaching that personalizes the skills you are learning and helps you to dial in what to focus on to improve.

You will have more confidence with a talented coach teaching you in the waves, instead of soloing it.

5. What are the disadvantages of taking surfing lessons?

The only disadvantages I can think of are some students may not have the funds to pay for lessons, maybe the time of year they want to learn in the swell is too big so they can’t learn then, and they may have issues with availability especially if they wait till prime time summer season is here on the North Coast of Oregon. Surfing lessons and immersion camps are in high demand from May to September, so plan to book your lessons and camps early.

6. Are watching surf videos and tutorials helpful to learning surfing?

Yes, both observation from watching actual surfing and competent surfers surf, as well as quality surfing videos and watching informative surf teaching videos are helpful.

I have created two series of teaching videos to share with students on Vimeo. The first released spring of 2021 is “Surf Stoked- A Woman’s Perspective on NW Surfing”. It sells for $59 for 12 episode series. Lifetime access here-

The second series is just now being released. It is called “Recipe for a Perfect Wave”. This is a surf science 4 episode series that teaches the six ingredients; tides, currents, wind direction, wind speed, swell height, swell direction and swell interval. Aspects of this surf science are taught in different depth in our lessons and camps. Lifetime access here for $29-

7. What can I expect to learn in an exceptional surfing lesson?

In surf lessons taught by myself and my coaching team, you will learn all the 12 essential skills, an understanding of the ocean and surf science and gain a solid sense of the respect, patience, grit and perseverance it takes to learn this amazing wave riding sport.

8. How many surfing lessons should I take?

I would suggest starting with one or two solid lessons (or one to two day camps) and then practicing for a couple sessions what you’ve learned, then see where you’re at in your desire for more coaching in lessons or camps. Everyone is unique. Some students come from a board riding background (snowboard, wakeboard, sailboard, kiteboard, skateboard, etc.) which typically helps them to get the surfer stance sooner. Others are more athletic, especially with their swimming and paddling skills. Some have a strong sense of balance and others need to develop that more. Other students have spent years in the ocean bodysurfing ,boogieboarding and open swimming, so they just feel more confident in the ocean environment than a student who is totally new to the ocean and its energy.

  9. How much are exceptional surfing lessons and coaching?

Check out our surf lessons and camps pricing at www.nwwomenssurfcamps.com. We offer private three hour lessons, group three hour lessons, day camp immersions, two days of camp immersions in our Surf Weekenders and hope to get back to Week Retreats in 2023.

Positioning when you paddle out.
Dialing in the surfer stance.
Recipe for a Perfect Wave…the Surf Science.
Northwest Women's Surf Camps


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