It doesn't get more quintessentially California than surfboards and sun-kissed beaches. When it comes to shredding the waves, Southern California is a well-known treasure trove of pro-approved surf spots, from Santa Barbara to Imperial Beach. In fact, every year, thousands of fans descend upon Huntington Beach to watch athletes compete in the world's largest surf competition, the US Open of Surfing. With all the hype surrounding the gravity-defying sport and top-tier beaches right in our backyard, it's no surprise that there's a high-demand for surf lessons among ocean-loving Angelenos. Whether you're a novice or advanced surfer, there's plenty of surf lessons in Los Angeles to gear you up for a thrilling ride in the Pacific.
L.A.'s top spots for surf lessons
Malibu Surf Shack
Learn from whippersnapper locals at this spot just across the street from Malibu Pier, of Gidget fame. Since the early 1970s, the team of experienced CPR and First-Aid certified instructors have been teaching people how to ride the waves at the famous Surfrider Beach—known for its renowned surf break. At Malibu Surf Shack, students can safely learn how to surf, boogie board and swim in the Pacific. Bonus? You can often spot sea lions, dolphins and even whales at this surfer-approved locale.
From beginners to intermediate-level surfers, those yearning to master the waves can learn from the experienced and well-trained Aloha Brothers in Venice. Patient, easygoing instructors give lessons to locals and tourists alike (the owner speaks Spanish, French and Portuguese) at any age and experience level. If you don't already have a wet suit or surfboard, don't fret: all the gear you need is included in a 90-minute surf lesson, be it a one-on-one private session or group class.
Go Surf LA
The kid-friendly Go Surf LA guarantees that you’ll ride one wave by the end of the first lesson or your next class is free. Led by a team of CPR and First-Aid certified instructors, the surf and paddle boarding school offers lessons all year long at beaches across Los Angeles, including Zuma, Manhattan Beach, Zuma and Santa Monica. Learn how to comfortably surf the waves in roughly three to five lessons, which last 90 minutes at $80 per lesson.
Learn To Surf LA
These pros have been teaching in SoCal for 15 years and offer lessons in Santa Monica, Venice and Manhattan Beach. Learn to Surf LA offers both individual and group classes to students ages 5 and up. Here, you'll learn everything from reading the waves and paddling out through the break to maneuvering the board and keeping balanced. Surf lessons last about two hours and include all the necessary equipment. Plus, children and teens, ages 5 to 17, can also participate in spring and summer surf camps for a fully immersive experience.
Kapowui Surf Lessons
Look for brightly colored vintage VW vans topped with boards and slapped with a Kapowui sticker for instant friends on the water. Learn how to properly (and safely) catch a wave during a one or two hour lesson in Venice Beach. The group of certified instructors will teach you the ins and outs of surf culture, from etiquette in the water to form and balance on the board. Lessons are available from 6am to 5pm daily and include a surfboard and wet suit.
Whether you've never set foot on a board or you're an advanced wave shredder, Manhattan Beach's premier surf school, Campsurf, offers lessons, classes and camps for any experience level. As the official surf school of the city of Manhattan Beach, you can bet the programs are top notch. Led by professional surf instructors—all CPR and First-Aid certified—the lessons and camps kick off at the El Porto area of Manhattan Beach. Meet at the south end of the El Porto parking lot (you can't miss the bright Campsurf bus) and before you know it, you'll be riding the waves.
More fun in the sun
With miles of pictureque coastline from Malibu to the South Bay, the best beaches in L.A. are aplenty for outdoor enthusiasts, surfers, families, sun worshippers and beach bunnies. From Venice and Santa Monica to Manhattan Beach and Playa Vista, here are the best beaches in L.A. to sunbathe, surf and play.