When you think of surfing, you might not immediately think of Texas.
It’s not got the best waves (most of the time) or the warmest water, but it does have a long, rich surfing history, beginning with Galveston legend Leroy Colombo, hero lifeguard and Galveston Toboggan Surf Club founding member way back in 1923, and running up to today’s pioneers riding the swell from the tankers out in the bay.
When the waves do come in on the Texas coast thanks to weather conditions out in the Gulf, for brief periods Texas surf spots are the envy of anywhere in the world.
If you’re in Texas and you’ve got a hankering for some surf, you’re likely thinking about where you can get some training. After all, you can’t just grab a board and hit the surf! But where can you go?
After all, there are a bunch of surf schools in Texas offering lessons, and as a beginner, it can be daunting to make the choice. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the best surfing lessons and surfing schools in Texas to take the confusion out of your decision-making.
We’ll run through some of the best surf schools out there, and then a buyer’s guide to provide you with all the information you need to hook you up with experts to get you confident on a board, and then out there enjoying the swell.
The South Padre Surf Company is a family-owned surf school and camp founded in 1995 by Gene and Rachel Gore.
They were the first surf school in Texas, and as experienced surf instructors and ocean safety experts the team at South Padre Surf Company will guide you through the beginning of your surfing journey and leave you with confidence in the water.
Located on the Texan surf paradise of South Padre Island, just north of the Mexican border, surf lessons are conducted at Isla Blanca Beach, one of the best surf spots in the whole Gulf of Mexico.
Chosen for being one of the safest places for surf lessons, this is a spot with a soft sandy bottom, perfect for beginners. The beach has a natural shallow gradient, so you can learn to surf without even knowing how to swim!
Not only do South Padre Surf Company offer some of the best straight-up surf lessons around, but they also have some great options available. As highly experienced surf instructors, the South Padre Surf Company offers surf lessons for people with special needs, making surfing inclusive for all. If you’ve got a four-legged friend, they also do dog surfing lessons.
- Experienced, knowledgeable staff – the South Padre Surf Company is run by seasoned surf instructors and ocean safety experts.
- Great surf spot for beginners – the sandy beach with a gentle shelf is perfect for learning the ropes.
- All equipment provided – you don’t need to bring anything, just a willingness to learn.
- Busy at times – South Padre Island is a renowned surf spot and can get busy.
2. SPI Sessions
The link between surfing and oceanography is a deep and enduring one. Surfers are among the predominant advocates for ocean health and well-being, and at SPI Sessions the relationship between surf and science is front and center.
With a love of the sea woven through everything the team at SPI Sessions does, you get an education in more than just hanging 10.
SPI Sessions’ location on South Padre Island is a sweet spot for learning to surf, right in the heart of the southern Texas surf scene. All of their instructors are fully trained in American Red Cross First Aid and CPR, and equipment is provided; just bring some comfortable swimwear, sun protection, and a drink to stay hydrated.
You can book for a private surf lesson, group sessions, or camps, so there’s an option to fit whatever your needs may be.
- Ocean-first surf school – SPI Sessions are passionate about their advocacy as well as their surf tuition.
- Great location – surfing is a lifestyle as well as a sport, and South Padre Island is a major hub for the Texan surf scene.
- No need to bring any kit – SPI Sessions will outfit you with everything you need for your session.
- Slightly more expensive than some – SPI Sessions isn’t the cheapest option, but they have quality by the boatload.
A surf school born out of nothing more than a passion for surfing, C-Sick Surfin is run by dedicated local surfers who just want to help you get in the water and build your love of surfing.
Teaching on the beach in Galveston, C-Sick Surfin only takes lessons by appointment. They provide soft-top surfboards in the appropriate size for you as a learner, and if the weather conditions make it necessary they have wetsuits too.
C-Sick Surfin doesn’t have a shop or bigger organization affiliated with it. When you book to learn with them you are getting a pure experience straight from surfers who love the sea and the sport.
- Experienced surfers – everyone at C-Sick Surfin is experienced and passionate about surfing.
- By appointment only – when you book, you won’t be sharing your time with anyone other than you or your group.
- Galveston-based – just outside Houston, Galveston is a well-connected surf spot with a great community.
- Small operation – they’re passionate and dedicated, but C-Sick Surfin is a smaller outfit than some of the others on this list, which might make it harder to book in for a session.
Based out of Port Aransas, located between Galveston and South Padre Island on the coast near Corpus Christi, Professurf gives you a unique opportunity to learn to surf from a Master-level instructor.
With over 50 years of experience teaching people to surf, and three years as Professor of Surfing at the Corpus Christi campus of Texas A&M, Puddy Albright is a world-class surf instructor who will get the absolute best results.
The beach at Port Aransas has been the training ground for surfing champions, and it makes for a great place to perfect your skills.
- Top surf spot – Port Aransas is a phenomenal place to surf and is the perfect training ground.
- Extremely skilled instructor – with a pedigree like Professor Albright’s, you are getting the best possible training.
- Excellent for skills growth – possibly the best training in Texas for surfers looking to take their abilities to the next level.
- More expensive – as a specialist school, Professurf isn’t the cheapest option.
Another Galveston-based surf school, Good Vibes Surf Lessons is a great choice for all levels of surfers. Good Vibes Surf Lessons is perfect for when you’re vacationing in Galveston and want to have the experience of a lifetime, or if you’re local and are looking for ongoing training.
Good Vibes Surf Lessons is a family-friendly surf school, offering individual lessons and group bookings with world-class instructors. The focus is on fun and having a great time, but there’s no lack of quality in the training on offer.
- Family-friendly surf school – fun and inclusive, Good Vibes Surf Lessons is perfect for everyone.
- Soft-top boards provided – all the equipment you need is provided by Good Vibes Surf Lessons.
- For beginners to seasoned surfers – while Good Vibes Surf Lessons is great for beginners, they are also skilled trainers who can help you take your surfing to another level.
- Surf is dependent on weather – like all surf schools in Galveston, your waves will depend heavily on weather conditions out in the Gulf of Mexico. You’ll still have a great time learning to surf, but you might not catch the wave you’re dreaming of.
6. Eh Bra Surf
Located on South Padre Island, Eh Bra Surf is a locally owned surf school with a real emphasis on the joy of surfing.
As true watersports enthusiasts, Mike and Madlen Sprowl have a real love of all things surf-related and aim to provide you with a personalized service that suits your surfing needs.
Both learned to surf in Hawaii and have brought their passion for the board to South Padre Island.
Learning to surf in the warm subtropical waters off South Padre is the perfect experience for beginners. The breaks are gentle, the water isn’t deep, and the bottom is sandy. Eh Brah Surf has a range of soft-top boards available and will pick out the best one for you so that you can get surfing quickly and confidently.
- Focused on beginners – Eh Bra Surf is all about spreading the joy of surfing and is set up to get you as a beginner surfer on your feet and having fun.
- Great location – South Padre Island is a renowned spot for a reason, and it’s perfect for learning.
- Experienced instructors – the team at Eh Brah Surf is experienced and knowledgeable.
- Not so good for advanced surfers – if you’ve already got the bug, this might not be the school for you. If you’re a beginner, you’re in great hands.
Part of Texas’ unique surf culture, Tanker Surf Charters is not a traditional surf school. In fact, you’ll need to have a certain level of confidence and surfing ability, and no minors under 16 are permitted.
This is because what you get at Tanker Surf Charters is the chance to ride the swell from the ships entering and leaving the port at Galveston, the third busiest port in America.
With years of experience running tanker surfing trips, the team at Tanker Surf Charters will deliver a totally unique experience for up to four people.
Surfing out at sea on the long, consistent swell from a tanker is a completely different way of surfing than catching breaks off a beach, and something that any serious surfer wouldn’t want to miss out on.
- Unique experience – this is surfing unlike you’ve ever seen it before.
- Experienced crew – it takes a lot of coordination to get tanker surfing right, and the team at Tanker Surf Charters has been in the game for years. They will get you to the right spot at the right time, which isn’t as easy as you might imagine.
- Great for small groups – the charter boat seats four surfers, so for a group trip this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
- Not a traditional school – you’ll learn something that you couldn’t anywhere else, but Tanker Surf Charters isn’t about teaching you the basics.
8. DFW Surf
Surfing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area? You bet! Who says you have to be at the coast to get on a board? DFW Surf offers wake surfing lessons to surfers of all levels, meaning that if you’re inland you can still get your fill of watersports.
With two locations in the DFW area, you’ll be able to find a session to suit you. Classes are seasonal but private lessons operate year-round, with all the equipment provided in the price including boat hire, fuel, board, and crew.
DFW Surf also runs summer clubs for kids between the ages of eight and 13, which is a great way to get them into surfing for life.
- All-year surf lessons – whatever the weather, whatever the date, you can book a private lesson at DFW Surf.
- Inland surfing – if you’re in Dallas-Fort Worth, you don’t have to pack up and head to the coast to get on a board.
- Great for kids and beginners – get a first taste of surfing in a fun, friendly, and safe environment.
- Not everyone’s surf dream – it’s wakes rather than breaks at DFW Surf, but the skills you learn are still much the same. When you head to the beach after learning here, you’ll be in great shape.
In hip and happening Austin, you can still scratch your surf itch despite being nowhere near the sea.
Freeride Wakesports is a wake surfing school run by Billy Garcia, a five-time national and world champion. If you want to learn from the best, you can’t go wrong with Freeride Wakesports.
Lessons are available all day, every day of the year. Freeride Wakesports also runs summer camps for kids aged between six and 16. If you’re looking for a great introduction to surfing in Austin, this is the place to go.
- Learn from a champion – you won’t find many better tutors than a five-time winner.
- Year-round availability – no matter when you’re in town, you can get on your board.
- Focus on fun – surfing should be fun, and Freeride Wakesports emphasizes having a good time while learning to surf.
- Inland surfing – it’s not for everyone, but if you’re in Austin and you want a great surfing experience then Freeride Wakesports is where you should be heading.
Back down to South Padre Island again for something a little different. The surf on the Texas coast may be a little inconsistent, but it’s a phenomenal place for kite-surfing.
While a few of the other surf schools on this list offer kite-surfing as part of their packages, alongside other board sports like stand-up paddleboarding, Prokite South Padre is a dedicated kitesurfing school. For a taste of Texas kite-surfing, this is where you should be looking.
Prokite South Padre offers lessons for kite-surfers of all ability levels, with helmet radio communication and Waverunner support. Safety is key, and Prokite makes sure that you are in good hands while you’re out on the water.
From land-based lessons for absolute beginners to advanced handling and new techniques, if you fancy taking a swing at kitesurfing then Prokite South Padre has you covered.
- A true Texas alternative – kitesurfing is a huge scene in South Padre and makes great use of the weather and sea conditions in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Top-quality tech – from the boards and kites to the radio helmets, Prokite South Padre is a professional operation that only uses the best equipment.
- Good even on low-wind days – there are a lot of things you can learn even when the wind isn’t blowing. Prokite South Padre has a full program of classes that can run on calm days as well as in perfect wind conditions.
- Kitesurfing isn’t for everyone – if you’re looking for a pure surf experience, this might not be the school for you.
Before you choose your surf school, there are a few things it’s worth bearing in mind. You want your surf experience to be the best it can be, so make sure you check this buyer’s guide out before you book onto a class.
What Kind Of Surfing?
Are you looking for the pure experience, just you and your board, or are you open to wakeboarding or kitesurfing? Depending on where you are in Texas, you may find your options are constrained in one way or the other, but there are schools for all forms of surfing available to you.
Some schools are better for beginners, while others have more of a focus on sharpening your skills. Check that you are booking a class that’s appropriate for your skill level, and talk to the instructors about what you want to get out of the session before you commit.
All of the surf schools listed above provide equipment for you but check in with them to make sure you don’t need to bring anything else. If you do have gear of your own, ensure that it’s appropriate for the class you’re undertaking. It sounds simple, but make sure you always pack your sunscreen and something to drink.
Now you’ve got a flavor of the Texas surf school scene, the choice is yours. Enjoy your time out on the water!