The 10 Best Surfing Lessons & Surfing Schools In San Diego - Green Iguana Surf Camp

The 10 Best Surfing Lessons & Surfing Schools In San Diego

San Diego has perfectly warm water on its beaches. In fact, they have the warmest sea and the best surfing breaks across the whole California Coast. All year round, San Diego’s beaches bring diverse breaks, so you don’t need to move far to find an exciting wave on the shores.

With such a great surfing location, it’s not surprising that San Diego also has amazing surfing schools for you to try out.

Today we have gathered 10 of the best surfing schools in San Diego, and we plan on explaining just why we love them so much! Just sit back and read through this page because we have found all the information for you.

1. Hokali

The Team

One of the most important parts of learning to surf is finding the right trainer. Hokali has a wonderful system that allows you to look through who is free on the day you want your lesson and learn what they are good at. You can even book in advance and pick the beach you want to go to.

Hiring Equipment

If you haven’t got any equipment to bring with you, you can hire a beginner’s surfboard (either Wavestorm or Soft Tops) and a wetsuit. Unfortunately, the gear doesn’t come as part of the lesson, but renting one out is possible if you put the request in your order.

Surf Camps

Hokali’s surf camp is a four-hour-long lesson where their coach teaches you theory as well as practice. One theory they will educate you on is the “Green Wave,” which is an advanced level technique. After your lesson, you can continue surfing in the sea unsupervised!


Each coach in Hokali is a certified CPR First Aider, and they are experienced, professional coaches. 

If you want to earn a qualification in surfing, you can join Hokali’s Surfing Exams. 

Volunteer Work

The beach can be a messy place when inconsiderate people leave their trash behind. Hokali is a proud protector and preserver of coasts and oceans. If you go to their website, you can see when they next plan to do a beach clean-up. 

Hokali is also partnered with Sea-Trees to help restore California’s forests.

2. San Diego Surf School

Surf Lessons

San Diego Surf School has a massive passion for the waves, and their excitement brings a whole new level of life to surfing. 

In their surfing classes, you can opt for 1-on-1 lessons, Semi-Private lessons where you learn and make friends at the same time, or group lessons so you can learn with your friends.

All classes will teach you the fundamentals of surfing and are aimed at beginners, and each one takes around 90 minutes. 

Surf Camp

San Diego Surf School has a surfing camp for every season! California is such a sunny and vibrant place that even the winter lessons will be fun in the sun!

Each camp offers a 1, 2, 3, or 5-day surfing week with selected days in the season. These camps are aimed at children and will be coached by experienced surfers who have CRP, First Aid, LifeGuard, and Surfing certifications.

3. San Diego’s Premier Surfing School

Surf Lessons

San Diego’s Premier Surfing School prides itself on using knowledgeable instructors who will give you the intimate training you need to become a great surfer fast.

The lessons are only 1 and ½ hours long, and in the process, you will have half an hour of land training and 1 hour of ocean training.

You will learn wave knowledge, wave etiquette, and board positioning, all while having fun and expanding your surfing skills!

Surf Camps

San Diego’s Premier Surfing School offers 3 types of camps. They are the 3-day morning camp, the 5-day morning camp, or the 5 full-day camps.

In all honesty, the 3-day camp is all you need, but the 5-day versions give you a greater sense of community and achievement!

The Team

San Diego’s Premier Surfing School has a strict requirement for their instructors. Each coach needs to have an American Red Cross Lifeguard Certification, a current CPR and First Aid certification, and a Water Safety Certification.

On top of that, they also need to have at least 5 years of personal surfing experience, be at least 19 years old, show good surfing skills on a soft-top board and have good communication skills.

With all these qualifications, you know that the team will take good care of you.

4. Pacific Sur

Surf Lessons

Unlike some other surf schools in San Diego, Pacific Surf includes a surfboard, wetsuit, UV protection, Rash Guard, and Leash as part of their class. The only things they ask you to bring are sunblock, a towel, a bottle of water and enthusiasm!

Each instructor is a qualified ocean lifeguard and has a certification in Water Safety, CPR, and First Aid.

Surf Camp

Pacific Surf offers three types of camps: the 3 Days Morning camp, the 5 Days Morning camp, and the 5 Full Days camp.  Each one runs from either Monday to Wednesday or Monday to Friday, and they are an excellent way for kids to make new friends and new skills at the same time!

The camps are only offered to children between the ages of 7 and 17, but these kids can have no experience and will still excel.

Surf ‘N’ Stay

Unfortunately, the surf camps don’t include an actual camping facility, but if you follow the Surf ‘N’ Stay package for an additional cost, you can book a local hotel with Pacific Surf.  This is also the perfect choice for older surf enthusiasts who may want a yoga class or massage in the afternoon after a good day in the water.

5. Mission Beach Surfing School

Surf Lessons

Mission Beach’s mission is to make surfing easy, safe, and fun. With so many surfing schools around, it can be easy for companies to care more about stats than about how their surfers feel, so Mission Beach focuses a lot of its energies on keeping their staff and clients happy.

The price is affordable, the experience is wholesome, and you’ll be surfing by your first lesson.

Surf Camp

Mission Beach Surfing School has two camp options: a 3 day morning or a 5 day morning selection. Each day will be pre-planned, so you know what to expect from each learning activity.

Remember that Mission Beach wants to make sure you have fun, so if they see a smile on your face, then they know they have succeeded!

Stand Up Paddle

Stand Up Paddling is a fun way to enjoy a calming sea landscape. The beautiful tranquility of San Diago is often overlooked by its incredible waves, but Mission Beach’s 90-minute lesson will help you reconnect to the peacefulness of the sea.

6. Surfari Surf School

Surf Lessons

Surfari Surf School has some of the most liked instructors on the beach. The coaches are veteran surfers who have been in the sea for decades, so they have a mountain of knowledge to pass on to someone new.

In the lessons, you get one hour with one of these instructors, you get to use one of Surfari’s surfboards, wetsuits, and rashguard, and after the lesson is over, you can continue to surf with their surfboard for another hour!

Stand Up Paddle

Safari doesn’t have a surf camp, but they do have a dedicated Stand Up Paddle Board Lesson, which they affectionately call “SUP.” These lessons can have between 1 and 5 students so that no one will be ignored or left behind in the class.

The class lasts for 2 hours, in which you get 30 minutes of guided instruction and 1 and ½ hours of active practice with the instructor watching over you.

These lessons happen at multiple times in the day, so if you are in San Diego for a short amount of time, you should still be able to find a SUP slot!

7. Ocean Experience Surf School

Full-Day Surf Camp

Ocean Experience is a surfing community aimed at 6 to 16-year-olds. They have locations all over the country, including San Diego. 

Unlike the other surf schools on our list, Ocean Experience doesn’t have a class that lasts for longer than a day, but their full day Surf Camp is jam-packed with skills and fun to create a day that your children won’t forget!

Half Surf Half Skate Camp

Ocean Experience is more than just a surf school; in fact, one of the best activities comes from their skating classes. Despite their name being called “ocean,” they have put a lot of time and effort into their skating element, so combining the day into a surf and skate experience will mean learning from the best instructors in both fields!

Joining A Surf Club

Ocean Experience’s surf club is called Peninsula Surf Club, and it is a non-profit organization that teaches local 5th to 8th graders how to enjoy and respect the sea. 

The program is free and is available for beginners and advanced competition surfers alike, as the aim is to spread knowledge and respect for the ocean.

8. Pacific Beach Surf Shop

For Beginners and Advanced Students Alike

Pacific Beach Surf Shop is San Diego’s most affordable surfing school. They have been in business for more than 58 years!

All these years in business have taught them that it isn’t just kids who want to learn how to surf, and as you get more experienced, there are more techniques that you want to know.

Pacific Beach can teach you everything you want to know while still keeping the price low.

Surf Lessons

If you would like to keep the price low but still want a private lesson, Pacific Beach has you covered. Their only requirement is that the student is over 5 years old; that is their requirement for all the classes.

Each coach is trained and certified in CPR, First Aid, and Water Safety, having passed through the American Red Cross exams.

9. Surf Diva

Lessons For Beginners And Intermediates

San Diego’s La Jolla Shores is their best surfing beach for beginners, which is why Surf Diva spends most of its time in this part of the coastline. The surf is consistent, so the instructors know what to expect and how to teach their students.

But the large waves from La Jolla Caves create amazing heights for the more experienced Intermediate surfs. 

Surf Diva likes to balance between these two places, so no matter your level, you will have a great time and can increase your skills.

Spring And Summer Surf Camps

Surf Diva’s spring and summer camps are aimed at children. They teach kids to be self-confident in the ocean while respecting the environment around them. You can get lessons in half days or a full day, so no matter your schedules, the kids will get their education.

Stand Up Paddle Lessons

Despite the tranquil nature of stand-up paddleboards, it takes a while to get the hang of balancing. Surf Diva offers 3 types of lessons to help you learn the skill. These are 1 hour, 2 hours, or 3 hour classes, all of which are for 2 or 3 people each.

10. Everyday California

About Them

As you can expect from any Diego surfing school, Everyday California’s instructors are all fully certified in lifeguarding, CPR, Firsting, and surfing. They teach their students in La Jolla Shores and will help anyone advance on their surfing journey, whether they are a beginner or an old hand.

5 Day Half Day Surf Camp

Everyday California’s early start is the best way to begin your day, as a 9 am to 12:30 pm day of surfing will have you energized and ready with new skills and new memories under your belt.

The class sizes are just 3 students to 1 instructor, so you know your kids will have the full attention of their coach to help them learn to control the superb waves.

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