Are surfing lessons worth it?
It's a very valid question, are surf schools worth it? typically, surf schools are not cheap, whether you're a parent looking for your son or daughter to get into surfing, or you're a grown adult looking to get into something new.
It's well worth considering hitting up a local surf school, working out value for money, and if surfing is for you or not.
Our surfing lessons index:
- You cannot learn to surf via YouTube.
- Board & Fin selection
- Should I start surfing on waves, or sand?
- Where should I learn to surf?
- Is it too late for me to learn to surf?
- How long does it take to learn to surf?
- How much do surfing lessons cost?
- I'm a good surfer, I want to get better, will lesson help?
- List of Australian surfing schools
We live in Australia, we have over 60,000km of shoreline, with some of the best surfing beaches in the world.
It's a question I'm commonly answering on Quora, "is it worth it if I'm 40?", "My son/daughter is 10 is it worth it?".
Getting this very clear from the get-go, is important, whether you're 8 or 80, a reputable surf school can do wonders for you.
I also commonly answer questions from surfers who're looking at going to the next level asking whether or not they should consider it, we will cover this more in-depth, but long answer short, absolutely.
You cannot learn to surf via YouTube.
This is a classic and something that Australian lifesavers cannot stress enough.
No, you cannot learn to surf or swim via the internet, in particular, YouTube, or Vimeo.
There are over 17,000 rips on local shortlines every single day, That's 6.2 million each year, and nearly 10x more people die from drowning than by shark attacks.
A tourist or local Australian does not understand the beach or surf. It's something that your local surfing school will go over in-depth, it's important to know, and it's just something your youtube surfing video won't explain.
So you have watched 50 hours of Kelly Slater and you think you're going to jump on a board and be the next best thing?
Watching car racing doesn't teach you to drive, so let's leave the videos, and hit up a surf school like you would hit up a driving school.
Board & Fin selection
Although this information can be found online, this still matters.
The difference between a store like ours where you can pick up tones of surfboard fins, and equipment, you cannot test them.
Your local surf school is going to not only go over your height, your weight, and take a well-educated guess on what your surfing style might be, not to mention pick the right board for the type of surf you're about to learn on.
Choosing the right surfboard fins is one of the most important aspects of surfing, your local surf school is going to go over this, and try you on different fins, and fin setups to get you up and running.
A lot of people want to learn on sleek-looking shortboards, this isn't ideal.
Your best bet is to learn on a big, stable surfboard. As a general rule, the bigger the board, the better and easier you will learn. This applies to all age brackets.
Anything 9 feet or over is probably the best bet, you'll not only learn faster but have tonnes of fun.
Should I start surfing on waves, or sand?
It seems like a pretty silly question right? well no. If you're brand new to surfing the answer is more likely that you want to learn on the sand.
Although it sounds strange, learning to push up and stand isn't exactly easy. The balance, learning where to push up, where to position your feet and learning to do it quickly.
Learning to do this on your own, You simply won't know what you're doing, look funny doing it and probably be wasting your time.
A surfing instructor will help move your feet to the right location, tell you what is and isn't fast enough and give you that personal guidance which is so important.
Where should I learn to surf?
This goes without saying, if you're learning by yourself, learn at a patrolled beach, and do not paddle out any further than you know you can swim if you lose your board.
However, that aside, you won't find a surf school at a beach with 5-7m waves, your typical school will be in smaller surf conditions, on a beach which has cleaner water.
Don't learn to surf in shallow water, and do not jump off the board head first, this is a good way to break your back and never walk, or surf again.
A good instructor will know his local beaches, the best place to go depending on swell, winds, and tides. The knowledge that just doesn't come without tonnes of experience.
Is it too late for me to learn to surf?
The answer for this is no, however, whilst you're younger, fitter and work well in larger groups, you'll find it easier for younger people under the age of say 20, over this you could definitely look at a few private lessons before hitting up group lessons.
I've known people to learn to surf well into their 60s whilst on vacation. Don't sit there in your early 40s or late 50s and say it's too late. Everyone can learn.
How long does it take to learn to surf?
This is such a varying question if you're young, fit and a fast learner a couple lessons you'll be on your way. If you're older, not so athletic and need private lessons probably a couple months.
This also depends whether you chose lessons, or to learn by yourself, how good your swimming is, where you're swimming and the board you're riding on.
Don't get discouraged by all this though, a good instructor will run over all this making it a very streamlined approach.
How much do surfing lessons cost?
Depending on whether you're taking one lesson, or buying 10 lessons up front or signing up for a holiday camp. The prices can range from $40-$300+ per lesson.
If you're learning in a group, this will be far cheaper than going private. There are also "camps" in most school holidays which offer accommodation, or camping where each day you go out and learn a little more.
These are extremely cost-effective, considering kids school holidays typically are not cheap anyways, you'll probably get away for the same price as a typical school holiday, but you'll learn an awesome lifelong skill.
I'm a good surfer, I want to get better, will lesson help?
The short answer is absolutely, however, you're looking at a different school in most cases. The High-Performance Center is something you should take a look at. Run and backed by super surf brand Hurley.
The high-performance center offers group camps, and private camps from 2 days to 5 days, covering groms, U18, and Adults. These include complete video analysis, fitness training, board and fin analysis, accommodation, food, and attractions.
Specifically designed for riders looking to take the next level, gain valuable knowledge, and take a look at things that the typical instructor wouldn't have.
The Hurley center isn't the only one of these programs, there are a couple in Australia and certainly well worth the investment.
Although it's possible to learn on your own, on a budget and possibly become really good, taking up lessons is highly recommended. We live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world for surfing, it's a fun and athletic sport well worth learning.
It doesn't matter your fitness, age or experience, surfing is one fun and exciting sport where you will meet great new people, make new friends, and relax whilst out on the waves.
I hope this article has been helpful, we certainly enjoyed writing it. We thought we would add a little something at the bottom to help you find a local school.
List of Australian surfing schools
Take a look at our list of Australian surfing classes below, if we missed on, or you're a school feel free to contact us, we would be more than happy to add you to our list.
- Gold Coast - Surfing Services Australia
- Sunshine Coast - Silky Surf
- Gold Coast - Get Wet Surf School
- Bribie Island - Bribie Island Surfschool
- Gold Coast - Broadbeach Surf School
- Bundaberg - Surfschool Bargara
- Coolum - Coolum Surfing School
- Gold Coast & Sunshine Coast - Go Ride A Wave
- Gold Coast - Ocean Surf School
- Gold Coast - Walkin on Water
- Gold Coast - 1st Wave Surf School
- Gold Coast - Sunshine State Surfing School ( Japanese )
- Gold Coast - Cheyne Horan School of Surf
- Sunshine Coast - Maroochy Surf School
- North Stradbroke Island - North Stradbroke Island Surfschool
- Sunshine Coast - Caloundra Surf School
- Sunshine Coast - North Caloundra Surf School
- Sunshine Coast - Kawana Surfschool
- Sunshine Coast - Mudjumba Surf School
- Yeppoon - Capricorn Coast Learn 2 Surf
New South Whales
- Wollongong - Illawarra Surf Academy
- Woolgoolga - Solitary Islands Surf School
- Central Coast - Central Coast Surf School
- Coffs Harbour - Coffs Coast Surf Tour
- Ulladulla - Coastal Paddle Surf
- Narooma - South Coast Stand-Up Paddleboarding
- Lennox Heads - Rubbersouth Boardriding Co
- Broulee - Broulee Surf School
- Budgewoi - Terry McDermott Surf School
- Byron Bay - Byron Stand Up Paddle (SUP)
- Byron Bay - Trusty Miller Personalised Surfing Instruction
- Byron Bay - Soul Surf School
- Byron Bay - Sunrise Surfing Byron Bay
- Byron Bay - Surfing Byron Bay
- Byron Bay - Stoked Surf School
- Central Coast - Avoca & Terrigal Learning to Surf
- Central Coast - Central Coast Surf Academy
- Coffs Harbour - Lee Winkler's Surf School
- Crescent Head - Crescent Head Learn to Surf
- Cronulla - Cronulla Stand Up Paddleboard
- Gerroa - Surf Camp Australia
- Forster - Great Lakes Surf School
- Evans Head - Summerland Surf School
- Pottsville - Tweed Coast Surf School
- Merimbula - Coastlife Adventures
- Mollymook - Pam Burridge Surf School
- Scotts head - Trent Munro Surf Academy
- Newcastle - Learn to Surf Newcastle
- Saltwater - Saltwater Surf School
- Port Stephens - Port Stephens Surf School
- Port Macquarie - Port Macquarie Surf School
- South Coast - Australian Surf Tours
- Bondi Beach - Lets Go Surfing
- Cronulla - Cronulla Surfing Academy
- Cronulla - Surfing Cronulla Surf School
- Manly - Manly Surf School
- Maroubra - Surfing NSW Elite Surf School
- Maroubra - Sydney Safe Surf School
- Sydney North - The Boardriding Academy
- Byron Bay - Mojosurf
- Yamba - Yamba-Angourie Surf School
- South Coast - Ulladulla Surf School
- Tweed Coast - Salty Girls Surf School
- Tweed Coast - In2surf Surf School
- Middleton - Breaking Blue Surf School
- Eyre Peninsula - Kingo's Surf School
- Fleurieu Peninsula - Surf Culture Australia
- Glenelg & Southport - Surfing South Australia Surf School
- Middleton - South Coast Surf Academy
- Middleton - Surf and Sun
- Port Macdonnell - Get Salty Surf School
- Streaky Bay - Sceale Bay Surf School
- Victor Harbour - Encounter Water Sports
- Yorke Peninsula - Neptunes Surf Coaching
- Tasmania - 42 South Surf School
- Clifton Beach - Coastrider Surf Academy
- Hobart - South Coast Surf School
- Tasmania - Sea Lyons Aquatics Surf School
- Ocean Grove - Surf Lessons
- Wye River - Go Ride a Wave
- Apollo Bay - Apollo Bay Surf & Kayak
- Ocean Grove - WSUP Wards Stand Up Paddle Boarding
- Great Ocean Road - Great Ocean Road Surf Tours
- Cape Patto - Offshore Surf School
- Mallacoota - Surf Shack Surf School
- Mornington Peninsula - Salty Surf School
- Ocean Grove - Switchfoot Surf Coaching
- Phillip Island - Island Surf School
- Point Lonsdale - Point Lonsdale Surf School
- Port Fairy - Port Fairy Surfschool
- Bridgewater - Go Surf
- Torquay - Torquay Surfing Academy
- Leighton Beach - Surfschool.com.au
- Trigg Beach - Surfing Western Australia Surf School
- Albany - Due South Surfing
- Albany - Little Seeds Surf School
- Broome - Broome Surf School
- Denmark - South Coast Surfing Lessons
- Esperance - Twilight School of Surf
- Geraldton - Midwest Surf School
- Margaret River - Josh Palmateer's Surf Academy
- Margaret River - Margaret River Surf School
- North Fremantle - Perth Stand Up Paddle School
- Mandurah - Big Wave Surfing School
- Yallingup - Yallingup Surf School