Learning to Surf in San Diego

Simply Sojourns | Learning to Surf in San Diego

I can’t say surfing is something I’ve always wanted to do. Sure, I’d seen it on TV and in the movies, but living in such a landlocked community, I had never given the sport much thought. That perception changed, however, when my aunt traveled to Malibu a few years back and made it her mission to learn how to surf. She returned raving about the experience. I knew it was also something I had to try.

As plans came together for travels down to San Diego, I knew being right on the Pacific was going to be a great place to take surfing lessons. From speaking with local San Diegans I learned that most Californians are self-taught surfers and only tourists tend to take the surfing lessons. I was not insulted because indeed I was a tourist. There was no way I was tackling large waves without professional instruction.

After doing some research on surf schools in the San Diego area, I booked with Pacific Surf School: a business with a great reputation and located right on the beach! I was doubly impressed when I foolishly booked the lesson twice. Customer service was friendly and efficient in providing me a refund. I also choose Pacific Surf School because they offered the opportunity to book a photographer to catch the action.

Learning to Surf in San Diego

Photo credit: Adam Barber

Learning to Surf in San Diego

Photo credit: Adam Barber

Admittedly, I was a little lost trying to find their location. A tent with no signage set up on the beach with surfboards and wetsuits. I approached asking if I was in the right spot I was greeted with smiles and open arms.

I was fitted with a wetsuit, and met my instructor Sam and photographer Adam. Our first lesson: respecting the shaka. Hawai’i is the home of surfing and the shaka (the hand sign with thumb and pinky sticking out). The surf lesson was covered quickly and we hit the water. Or rather, the water hit us!

Learning to Surf in San Diego

Photo credit: Adam Barber

The overcast sky seemed to have a rough effect on the water making it difficult to push through the waves. I put Sam’s instruction to the test when we saw a clean break in the waves. As she let go, I heard her instructions: out loud and in my head from the dry land practices. PADDLE! PADDLE! PADDLE! UP!

Learning to Surf in San Diego

Photo credit: Adam Barber

Learning to Surf in San Diego

Photo credit: Adam Barber

The first, or rather, most of my efforts landed me bowled over by waves and sitting in the sand. Surfing was harder than I expected! Luckily, I had a patient and enthusiastic instructor who made it her mission to get me standing on that surfboard. If I fell over or magically stood up, Adam was on the beach catching the action. From the triumphant moments I stood on the board and the embarrassing spills (we’re talking face first in the sand).

Learning to Surf in San Diego

Photo credit: Adam Barber
Yup, face plant about to occur…

I have a huge appreciation for the sport and its athletes despite not being the surf prodigy. It was a tough workout on the lower and upper body. I can’t wait to give it another go, but maybe in calmer waters until I get my bearings.

Learning to Surf in San Diego

Photo credit Adam Barber

Would you try surfing? Have you been surfing?

 

Pin it!

Learning to Surf in San Diego | Simply Sojourns

Share the love
Share

17 thoughts on “Learning to Surf in San Diego

    1. simplysojourns Post author

      Sweet! I can’t wait to read about your experience surfing in Hawaii! You’ll love it!

  1. RobRob@TravelLatte(.net)

    Rock on! I love surfing but, having also spent almost my whole life landlocked, it’s not something I’m good at. I have total respect and admiration for those who do surf! But the exhilaration of getting up on that board is a great experience! And having a photographer handy – that’s just genius. \m/
    RobRob@TravelLatte(.net) recently posted…The Souvenir DilemmaMy Profile

    1. simplysojourns Post author

      Isn’t it a great idea to have a photographer on hand? I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to take advantage of that feature. And you’re right, the few times I did get up on the board were totally exhilarating!

  2. EatWorkTravel

    What an awesome activity to try while traveling! We took a surf lesson when we were in Sydney a few years ago and we had a very similar experience. While we were barely able to stand up, it left us with lots of respect to anyone who takes up the sport. It is difficult!

    1. simplysojourns Post author

      Surfing in Sydney would be an awesome experience too! It seems that new surfers all seem to be connected by similar difficulties and newfound respect 😛

  3. Ashley Hubbard

    I’ve never tried surfing nor have I ever had a great desire to learn – I’m athletic but not in sports that I would overthink things i.e surfing BUUTTT I’ve been giving it more thought lately and think I’d give it a go. One day maybe it’ll happen 🙂 Thanks for linking up to #WeekendWanderlust!
    Ashley Hubbard recently posted…48 Hours in New OrleansMy Profile

    1. simplysojourns Post author

      Surfing is definitely a sport that you can overthink (which I was doing). After some coaching from my instructor I decided to just let go and do it and was having more success standing on the board.

    1. simplysojourns Post author

      Haha! Yes! It would certainly be a weird, wet and wobbly bike. I’ll be sure to get more practice 🙂

  4. Emily

    Very useful and detailed review of the lesson!

    I took a surfing lesson in Raglan, New Zealand and it was *so* hard. I’m not particularly athletic to begin with, so you can imagine (most of the time, I looked a lot like that photo of you “face-planting” into the waves). You look like you did a lot better than me, so well done!

    1. simplysojourns Post author

      Well I can tell you I have a lot of “face-planting” photos haha!
      It’s a tough sport, but you certainly gain a new appreciation for those who do it regularly and are good at it.

  5. Pingback: Top Things to do in San Diego - Simply Sojourns

  6. Shave Ice

    I went surfing in Huntington Beach, about a year ago. Nearly drown! lol. Of course, I wasn’t prepared to paddle way out my first day. Need to take baby-steps and get into it. It was a good feeling to belly-ride the wave in at the end of my lesson.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: