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:

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?

Wrong.

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.

surfing on sand

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. 

Conclusion

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.

Queensland

New South Whales

South Australia

Tasmania

  • Tasmania -  42 South Surf School
  • Clifton Beach - Coastrider Surf Academy
  • Hobart - South Coast Surf School
  • Tasmania - Sea Lyons Aquatics Surf School

Victoria

West Australia


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