San Diego Surf Schools

Discover your guide to surf schools in San Diego including when to sign up, what you’ll learn, what’s included and where to go for lessons.
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The 411 on Surf Schools in San Diego, California

Kid Surf Lessons at D Street in EncinitasOceanside Harbor Beach Learning How to Surf

San Diego and surfing go hand-in-hand. The surf culture has played a key role in shaping the area, even the locals who don’t surf understand the role it has played in giving the city its distinguishing identity. Newcomers will quickly catch on to the impact of surfing in San Diego due to the area’s many surf-themed restaurants, surf shops and fashion trends.

San Diego’s surf history includes far more than beautiful weather and optimal surfing conditions. In fact, the creation of the fiberglass surfboard that remains the standard was developed by Bob Simmons right here in San Diego!

The area is known for having some of the best waves on the coast of California, and with over 70 miles of coastline there are plenty of popular spots such as many of the beaches in La Jolla, and the Sunset Cliffs beaches. San Diego’s warm climate, ideal surfing conditions and surf culture make it the perfect atmosphere for newcomers and experienced surfers to sign up for a lesson.

While surfing is an individual sport, the entire family can join in on the fun! There are numerous surf schools scattered throughout San Diego, specifically in Pacific Beach and La Jolla, where individuals can learn the basics and get a taste of the fun.

When to Sign Up for Surfing School in San Diego

The year-round warm weather makes it easy to attend surf school in San Diego. However, it’s important to check a current surf report before signing up for your surf lesson.

A surf report will give the best insight on when to sign up for surf lessons by showing if there’s any swell in the water, what direction it’s coming from and if there’s any changes to the tide. Visitors can find free surf reports online and the predictions are made up to a week in advance. So, the reports can serve as a guide to determining the best day to schedule surf school.

While the weather permits surfing throughout the year, some months are more optimal than others. August thru February is known as the best time of year to experience San Diego’s surf, while March thru May is known to encounter unpredictable conditions.

Either way, a detailed surf report will be the best guide to determining the optimal day to schedule your San Diego surf lesson.

Featured Activity

La Jolla Surfing Lesson
Surf Lessons in La Jolla
Ride the waves in La Jolla, a premiere surfing destination! This 90-minute lesson is fit for both beginners & intermediate surfers, with a choice of private or public lessons. All necessary equipment is included. Surfs up!
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What You’ll Learn During Surf School

San Diego surf lessons are beneficial for all skill levels. An experienced surf instructor will offer group lessons and private lessons to those ready for a firsthand experience of San Diego’s surf culture.

Surf school is intended to teach the basic fundamentals. This includes: how to handle the surfboard, how to paddle, surfing etiquette, water safety, knowledge of the ocean, and tips that will help you stand on the board.

What’s Included at Surf School

While the ultimate goal is to get you up on the board, surf school offers so much more than that. The instructor will go over topics including: water safety techniques, surf etiquette, how to read a wave, the different parts of a wave, how to position yourself on the wave, how to judge where it will break and how to catch the wave.

All of the equipment is included during surf lessons. So, there’s no reason to go out and purchase your own wetsuit or surfboard just yet!

Group Surf Lesson

For those searching for family fun or an activity to do with friends, group surf lessons are the perfect choice. Group lessons help give basic knowledge on the fundamentals of surfing. More importantly, it’s a fun activity that everyone can take part in!

Private Surf Lesson

For those searching to really get the most out of surf school, there are private surf lessons. Private lessons are one-on-one and really meant to help take your surfing skills to the next level.

How Long does Surf School Last?

In general, you can expect to spend about an hour and a half at a surf lesson. Many surf schools offer lesson packages for people wanting to really hone in on their skills.

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Where to Go for the Best Surfing in San Diego

Being that San Diego is well known for its surf culture, there are a variety of surf schools available to choose from. Instructors can be found in La Jolla Shores, Imperial Beach, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach and Mission Beach - to name a few. San Diego Surf School, Pacific Surf and Surf Diva are just a few options when choosing a surf school in the area.

If you consider yourself more of a spectator, head to Windansea in La Jolla to get a glimpse at some of the best talent. In addition, San Diego is home to various surf competitions including the ASP events at Oceanside Pier and Lower Trestles. Depending on your travel arrangements, you may be able to catch a surfing competition.

Local Tips
The Jewel
La Jolla Windansea. La Jolla means "the jewel." Be aware that this isn't a surf spot for beginners. On the other hand, Ocranside is an excellent place if you don't have much surfing experience.

If you’re really wanting to make the most out of your trip, the Go San Diego Card is a must. The All-inclusive Pass includes access to over 50 attractions and experiences in the area. In addition, you get up to 55% off when compared to the regular price. This includes the option to rent a surfboard in La Jolla.

The Go San Diego Card comes with a variety of benefits including the flexibility to choose which attraction, tour or experience you want to do that day. Pre-purchase a Go San Diego Card with our exclusive additional discount to save even more!

Save on Paddle Boarding!
Coronado - Stand Up Paddle Board Rental
Stand Up Paddle Board Rental
Using your Go Pass, head over to Coronado Island and head out for a 90-minute stand-up paddle board ride. Explore the bay on your ride and take in views of the San Diego skyline, the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, Petco Park and much more.
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Local Tips
What is the cheapest way to buy a Go Pass?

The cheapest way to purchase a Go San Diego Pass is to combine Go Visit San Diego’s exclusive 5% discount with the Go San Diego Passes already great deals!

No code needed - simply follow our link to purchase your pass and begin saving!

Preparing for Your San Diego Surfing Lesson

Eat and Hydrate in Advance

To make the most of your surfing lesson, be sure to eat a healthy breakfast that will give you energy for the day ahead. It’s also imperative to hydrate.

Be Patient and Persistent

Learning to surf can be frustrating and it requires a lot of patience. It’s important to keep a positive attitude and keep trying no matter how many times you fall! Keep your confidence up and remain determined to stand up.

Being able to Swim is Require

If you can’t swim or aren’t the best at swimming, surf lessons may not be the best option for you. It’s easy to underestimate the power waves have. So, it’s important to know your limits.

The Weather is in Charge

It’s key to note that mother nature will always have the final say on whether or not your surfing lesson will take place. While forecasters do their best to make accurate predictions, there’s no way to guarantee they won’t change.

While it’s best to plan your group lesson or private lesson in advance, keep in mind that conditions may shift.

Looking to Save on Tickets?
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Explore all that San Diego has to offer & save up to 55% on attractions
This Month's Forecast
48°F / 68°F
Sunny in January
49°F / 69°F
Sunny in February
52°F / 70°F
Sunny in March

Stay Nearby

Kate Stanton Inn
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The Dana on Mission Bay
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from $179 / night
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Pacific Terrace Hotel
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Pacific Terrace Hotel
from $349 / night
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Diamond Head Inn
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from $144 / night
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