Surf San Diego?
July 10, 2007 2:38 PM   Subscribe

Where's the best place to learn to surf in San Diego?

I'm in good physical shape and a decent swimmer, but I've never surfed... it's my dream to learn how. Any suggestions as to where to go?
posted by ph00dz to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
la jolla, its touristy but not too much so (depending on the beach) and you don't have to deal with the local douchery.
posted by blueplasticfish at 3:21 PM on July 10, 2007

Actually, it depends on the beach in La Jolla that you go to for how douche-y it is. Windansea has a bit of a reputation. If you need to actually take lessons, there are a couple places in La Jolla Shores where you could go (just google surf lessons San Diego and see what comes up). I can't speak to the quality of lessons, but I think La Jolla is the nicest beach in town.
posted by LionIndex at 3:24 PM on July 10, 2007

La Jolla Shores and Pacific Beach have some really great waves to learn on. You're looking for slower, more gradual waves until you get used to popping up and standing on a surfboard.

You're also mostly around tourists there who can't surf either so no one will notice if you screw up and it makes it easier to find a place for rental boards in case you decide you want to try a different board.
posted by rezaman at 3:50 PM on July 10, 2007

For surf school, I can recommend Kahuna Bob (tho' I can't recommend his cheesy website) who is a friend of a friend of a friend. One reason to go with a surf school is that they'll start you out on a specialized board (a foamy longboard) which offers the most stability for easier learning. They also know which beaches are good for beginners - there's some quieter coves near La Jolla that are ideal.

The surfing learning curve goes like this:

1. Learn how to catch a wave and stand up (mount the board) and ride it in.
Some people can actually do this very quickly. For others its a lot of repeated effort. And it can be strenuous and tiring as each attempt involves paddling back out.

2. After 1) its just practice practice practice in order to gain more control over the board. At this point you can also start switching to shorter boards which are less stable but offer more flexibility.

3. You can then move from riding it in to catching bigger waves and learning how to carve them. Again, more practice practice practice
posted by vacapinta at 4:24 PM on July 10, 2007

Ha, I didn't know vacapinta was a surfer. Cool.

I have many suggestions and many little tips too, but I see that you're actually in Tempe, and may only be visiting, so as others have said, hit the lessons. You'll accomplish MUCH more with that than just going out and hitting it yourself.

If you have any more specific questions: e-mail in profile.
posted by snsranch at 4:56 PM on July 10, 2007

Mission Bay Aquatic Center offers Surfing classes.

I've got a couple of friends that work there.
posted by bofe at 5:19 PM on July 10, 2007

Totally what I was thinking, snsranch -- I'm just gonna hit a surf school, as I'll only be in town for the weekend and don't own any actual surf stuff. (It's well into the triple digits out here in the desert, so I've got to get the heck out of here.)
posted by ph00dz at 6:05 PM on July 10, 2007

I would do it in Del Mar - 15th street. The waves are slow rollers, great for long boarding (which is how you should learn) and the surfers are not complete ass hats.
posted by |n$eCur3 at 9:06 PM on July 10, 2007

work out those arms!

just remember that in surfing, you could do it every day for decades and still be just decent…
posted by violetk at 9:48 PM on July 10, 2007

I was kind of warned about the paddling factor in surfing, violetk, so I've actually been preparing a bit, concentrating on my upper body as I swim laps in the pool.

How's the water out there this time of year? Is a wetsuit pretty much required?
posted by ph00dz at 10:01 PM on July 10, 2007

if you go in the morning, you might want to get one depending on how tolerant you are. if you do an afternoon sesh, should be no prob without one. i always recommend a rashguard tho.
posted by violetk at 10:05 PM on July 10, 2007

I took a lesson with Hike Bike Kayak. They are based in La Jolla, but their surf lessons are at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. (It's MUCH less crowded there - La Jolla Shores can be a little scary.) I had a good experience - the instructor was decent and they provided wetsuit and board.

Now if only I could actually stand up without immediately falling over...
posted by ilyanassa at 10:33 PM on July 10, 2007

Surf schools are not the way to go. At least not the group lessons. You will learn a lot if you hire an instructor for a one on one session but don't waste money on group lessons. You'll have fun at the group lesson and probably have a positive experience but you won't learn all that much.

When you start surfing what you want is some basic knowledge and as much time as possible riding waves. A one on one session with an instructor and lots of time in the water are the easiest way to learn.
posted by rdr at 2:55 AM on July 11, 2007

Nthing la jolla shores, yeah. we go there every time I visit SD. I wish I was there now.
posted by Chris4d at 12:38 AM on July 12, 2007

Wow... how frickin' awesome was that?

So, I ended up surfing at Moonlight Bay with Hike Bike Kayak. I sprung for the two hour solo lesson, and it was fantastic. So much fun.

As a side note, I ended up staying at a hotel in Encinitas and took some really nice long runs down the 101 and explored some of the neighborhoods between Solana and Carlsbad and as far as I'm concerned, that's pretty much my vision of the good life. Next time, I've gotta remember to book a campground spot in advance, but now that I know a couple of spots, that should be all good.

Anyway, thanks for the advice, folks. I'll be joining you guys out on the waves again soon...
posted by ph00dz at 5:41 PM on July 15, 2007

Errr.. up there, I meant Moonlight beach. not "bay."

(Sorry. Tired from that long ass drive back to phx.)
posted by ph00dz at 5:43 PM on July 15, 2007

Glad to hear it phoodz. That area is where I grew up - in Cardiff. And in fact much of my childhood was spent on Moonlight beach.
posted by vacapinta at 6:21 PM on July 15, 2007

That's so sweet, vacapinta... I bet that was an awesome place to grow up.

I saw tons of little families playing down at the beach this weekend.... so wholesome!

(Remind me what I'm doing in the desert again?)
posted by ph00dz at 10:23 PM on July 15, 2007

I took some photos when I visited my parents recently. Feel free to shoot me an email if you ever want more info on the area from a local.
posted by vacapinta at 11:12 PM on July 15, 2007

It was "India Night" at the Self-Realization Fellowship on Saturday night, so there were all kinds of people wandering around in Indian garb. Totally cracked me up.
posted by ph00dz at 11:19 PM on July 15, 2007

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