The 10 Best Surfing Lessons & Surfing Schools in Los Angeles

There’s nothing more Californian than heading to the beach and shredding the waves and SoCal is a well-known treasure trove of amazing surf spots which draws people to its beautiful beaches. 

There’s no surprise that there’s a high demand for surf lessons in Los Angeles, as people are keen to take to the waters and ride the Pacific Coast waves.

Whether you’re a beginner or more advanced surfer, there’s plenty of surf schools in Los Angeles that will get you ocean-ready in no time. 

Below we’ve constructed a list of ten of the best surfing schools in LA, along with answers to some frequently asked questions about learning to surf. 

1. Go Surf LA

Where To Find Them: 1 Bicknell Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Over at Go Surf LA, the instructors promise that you’ll ride at least one wave by the end of the lesson, and have a pretty sweet offer where you can get your second lesson for free. Instructors will take you out for 90 minute lessons across the coast, from Venice Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Santa Monica, up to Malibu and Zuma.

They also offer all-day surf camps for young riders between the ages of five to seventeen during the spring and summer months. 

The waves at Santa Monica are pretty reliable, and great for first time surfers hitting the waves. 

Best For

  • Children and teens 
  • Beginners 

Includes

  • Surfboard and wetsuit 

2. Learn To Surf LA 

Where To Find Them:

For surf lessons go to 1748-1798 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica, CA 90401

For surf camp go to 151 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

The pros over at Learn to Surf LA have been giving surfing lessons in SoCal for almost twenty years. You can opt for one to one or group sessions, and their experts guarantee you’ll be riding the waves after just one lesson.

You’ll get the opportunity to learn everything from reading the wave to keeping balanced and how to paddle out through the break. Operating in Santa Monica and at Venice and Manhattan beach, the waves are perfect for more novice surfers. 

They also offer kids and teens (5-17 year olds) the option to take part in their signature surf camp. The immersive experience is available for half-day or full-day sessions and runs during the spring and summer months. 

If you’re interested in a more mellow activity, you can take a stand up paddle board session with Learn to Surf LA too. During the session you’ll be taken on a cruise down the coast where you might even end up coming across a pod of dolphins!

For beginners you’ll learn the proper paddling technique and how to paddle past the break. Once you’ve advanced, they’ll teach you how to catch waves on a paddle board.

Best For

  • Childrens and teens 
  • Beginners 
  • Group learners 

Includes

  • Surfboard and wetsuit
  • Paddle board lessons also available 

3. Aloha Brothers 

Where To Find Them: 528 Rialto Avenue, Venice, CA 90291

For those eager to master the waves, the experienced instructors at Aloha Brothers have got you covered. Based at Venice Beach, both locals and tourists alike at any age and experience can learn to surf here (the owner speaks Spanish, French and Portuguese).

You can book both private and group sessions for 90 minutes at a time, and they offer a special discounted deal when you book five lessons at once. 

Best For

  • Beginners 
  • Intermediates 

Includes

  • Surfboard and wetsuit 

4. Kapowui Surf Club 

Where To Find Them: 2701 Barnard Way, Santa Monica, CA 90405 

Kapowui was awarded the best surf school in Venice Beach for 7 years in a row, and the family run business is an icon in the SoCal area. Whether you’re a newbie or have a little bit of surfing experience under your belt, learn how to properly ride a wave. 

The instructors at Kapowui Surf Club keep it pretty simple – just look out for the bright orange vintage VW camper topped with surfboards. 

Lessons range between 1-2 hours long, and first time surfers will spend the first 30 minutes of their session on the sand. This is so the instructors can go through board design/dynamics, wave dynamics, ocean and surfing safety, and the correct form.

As well as learning to maneuver in the water, at Kapowui you’ll learn the ins and outs of surfing culture and etiquette. 

Best For

  • Beginners 
  • Intermediates

Includes

  • Surfboard and wetsuit 

5. CampSurf 

Where To Find Them: 3800 The Strand, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

CampSurf is the official surf school of Manhattan Beach, and they take a more organized approach to surfing lessons. CampSurf offers lessons, camps and classes for any experience level.

The instructors hold small classes in groups no larger than four, so you can bet you’ll have their full attention.

As the waves at Manhattan Beach are pretty reliable, CampSurf offers classes all year round, no matter the season. Kids from the ages four to six can join the CampSurf Groms Camp to learn all about safety before getting in the water. 

You’ll also find their Summer Camps are perfect for kids who are participating in the LA County Junior Lifeguard Program, as they can surf before or after their scheduled program – which is just a walk away from CampSurf’s Summer Camp. 

If surfing’s not your speed, you can check out CampSurf’s beach games program. You’ll be able to learn how to play Beach Volleyball during private and semi-private lessons, or join the Volleyball camps and clinics. 

Best For

  • Beginners
  • Intermediates 
  • Surf parties/large groups

Includes

  • Surfboard and wetsuit
  • 1:4 Instructor to surfer ratio 

6. Learn2Rip

Where To Find Them: 1 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, CA 90740 

Based in Long Beach, Learn2Rip offers surf lessons and sessions from beginners to more advanced surfers. For beginners, expect to be riding waves in your first session, and those with more surfing experiences can expect to take their skills to the next level.

Learn2Rip really excels in teaching surfers to “learn to rip” like a pro. Choose to learn in a private one to one session, or join a group class.

CampSurf also offers a surfing camp for younger surfers. If you’re coping with any mental or physical illnesses, try out their unique “Ocean Therapy” program. 

If you’re looking for something less intense than surfing, but still want to hit the waves, at Learn2Rip you’ll also have the opportunity to learn how to paddle board. 

Best For

  • Beginners 
  • Intermediates 
  • Advanced surfers 

Includes

  • Surfboard and wetsuit
  • Ocean Therapy program available for those with physical or mental illnesses
  • Paddle board lessons also available

7. One Wave Surf School

Where To Find Them: El Porto Beach Parking Lot, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Since 2010 One Wave Surf School has been teaching surfing to all ages and skill levels in Manhattan Beach. In a 90 minute session beginners can learn to paddle properly, pop-up on the board, balance and catch their very first wave. 

If your skills are more advanced, check out the Surf 4 Real program. This is geared towards more intermediate surfers who are serious about mastering their surfing skills.

These tend to be group surf lessons, so that you can learn with and from other surfers in your skill range.

The Surf 4 Real program tends to find that many students continue to surf together outside of the program, so this is a great way to find friends to hit the waves with!

One Wave Surf also carries an extensive line of new and used surfboards you can choose to rent or buy. 

Best For

  • Beginners
  • Intermediates

Includes

  • Surfboard and wetsuit 

8. Malibu Surf Shack 

Where To Find Them: 22935 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265 

Founded back in 1972, Malibu Surf Shack has been giving surf lessons for almost fifty years at the famous Surfrider Beach. Just across from the Malibu Pier, students can learn how to surf, swim and boogie board.

The experienced instructors will share everything they know about the waves, including when you’d be able to spot dolphins, sea lions and maybe even whales! 

For younger riders, Malibu Surf Shack offers a surf camp from the ages of eight to seventeen. For outer water activities, your little ones can participate in sea glass hunting, baseball, flag football, tug of war, and sand castle competitions. 

Best For

  • Children and teens 
  • Beginners 

Includes

  • Surfboard and wetsuit
  • Paddle boards, body boards and kayaks also available to rent

9. Malibu Surf Coach 

Where To Find Them: 29130 Cliffside Drive, Malibu, CA 90265 

If you want to meet the legendary “Stingray” sign up for surf lessons with Malibu Surf Coach. Chris “Stingray” Stiegler is a lifeguard who coaches both the Santa Monica High and Malibu High surf teams.

He was also head coach for the Quicksilver Surf School in the Canary Islands for a number of years. 

Stingray has a number of programs for all ages and skill levels. If you’re serious about progressing your surf skills, take a look at his 3 or 6 lesson package – every 3rd lesson is 25% off full price.

They’re also an advanced coaching programme for those who have a lot more experience on the waves. 

As Stingray has over 30 years of experience riding the SoCal waves, he’s very familiar with the waves and has access to some of the best private and semi private beaches for you to learn to surf at.

Best For

  • Beginners 
  • Intermediates
  • Advanced surfers

Includes

  • Surfboard and wetsuit 

10. Dawn Patrol 

Where To Find Them: Santa Monica, CA 90405

Dawn Patrol is the passion project of two LA native brothers who have over 30 years of surfing experience. Each lesson is custom tailored based on surf conditions, skill levels and location.

During your first 90 minute lesson, you’ll be taught how to catch a wave, pop-up on the board and ride the wave into shore. For beginners, their role is to get you riding a wave and having a good time. 

For more intermediate surfers, you’ll be given pointers on how to improve your pop-ups, how to initiate and exit turns and how to read a set of waves so you can get the most out of your run. 

Best For

  • Beginners 
  • Intermediates 
  • Group learners 

Includes

  • Surfboard and wetsuits 

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a lesson cost?

On average, a 90 minute lesson can cost anywhere between $80-$125 depending on whether or not you’re booking private or group sessions.

Private sessions are pricier as you’ll have one to one lessons with an experienced instructor who can tailor the lesson to your skill level more accurately. Most surf schools offer discounts if you book multiple lessons at once.

Do I need to have my own surfboard or wetsuit?

All of the surf schools in this list provide you with a surfboard and wetsuit – which is usually included in the cost of the lesson if it’s not specified otherwise.

You will, however, have to bring/wear your own swimsuit to wear underneath your wetsuit. Most of these surf schools also allow you to rent surfboards outside of lessons. 

Can children learn to surf?

Most of the surf schools listed offer surfing lessons to children as young as the age of five. Some of these schools also offer surf camps, specifically designed to teach children how to surf. 

When is the best time to surf?

In Southern California, the best time to go surfing is in the early morning when the wind begins to pick up. A lot of LA surf schools begin their lessons at around six-thirty/seven AM. 

Should I be worried about sharks in LA waters?

As the ocean is home to sharks, there is an inherent risk that you might come across a shark when surfing. With that being said, the risk of you being bitten by a shark is pretty low.

The most common shark off the LA coast is the leopard shark, which is a largely harmless species (unless provoked). When surfing off the SoCal coast, it’s important that you respect any wildlife you may come across. 

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