The Best Surf Schools in Southern California

Southern California is home to some of the most iconic surf spots in the world, including Huntington Beach, Malibu, and La Jolla Cove. It’s no surprise that this region has spawned many renowned surf schools that offer quality lessons and experiences to enthusiasts of all levels. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, these schools provide excellent opportunities to improve your skills, connect with like-minded individuals, and enjoy the thrill of catching waves. Here are some of the best surf schools in Southern California that you should check out:

1. Corky Carroll’s Surf School

Established in 1996 by Corky Carroll, a former professional surfer and surfboard shaper, this school is located in the heart of Huntington Beach, also known as “Surf City”. It offers private and group lessons, summer camps, and clinics for all ages and abilities. The instructors are highly experienced and passionate about surfing, and they provide personalized coaching tailored to your needs. You can take advantage of the year-round favorable weather and consistent waves to learn the fundamentals, advanced techniques, and safety guidelines.

2. Wavehuggers

Founded in 2006 by Ryan Croteau, a certified surf instructor and marine biologist, this school focuses on eco-conscious surfing and ocean stewardship. It operates in various locations such as Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica, and Venice Beach, and offers surf lessons, surf tours, and SUP (stand-up paddleboarding) lessons. The curriculum emphasizes not only surfing skills but also marine biology, oceanography, and environmental awareness. You can learn how to surf while also appreciating the beauty and fragility of the ocean.

3. SoCal Surf Lessons

Established in 2002 by Tom and Julie Swartz, this school operates in several beaches such as Laguna Beach, Dana Point, and San Clemente. It offers private, semi-private, and group lessons, as well as surf camps and corporate teambuilding events. The instructors are certified in CPR, first aid, and water safety, and have extensive experience in surfing and coaching. You can choose from various packages that suit your schedule, budget, and goals, and enjoy the friendly and supportive atmosphere.

4. Learn to Surf LA

Founded in 2002 by Nick Fowler, a former professional surfer and lifeguard, this school is located in the iconic Malibu Surfrider Beach. It offers private and group lessons, surf camps, and photo/video analysis. The instructors are knowledgeable and patient, and focus on safety, technique, and fun. You can also rent or buy equipment from the on-site surf shop, and enjoy the perks of the beach amenities such as showers and restrooms.

5. Clairemont Surf Shop

Established in 2011 by Brian Alper and his family, this shop and school is located in San Diego and specializes in surfboard rentals, repairs, and customizations. It also provides surf lessons, camps, and tours for all ages, abilities, and needs. The instructors are friendly and enthusiastic, and create a comfortable and enjoyable learning environment. You can combine learning how to surf with exploring the beautiful coastline of San Diego and discovering its attractions.


Southern California is the ultimate destination for surfers, and these schools are the ultimate way to enhance your surfing experience. They offer different styles, approaches, and locations to suit your preferences, and provide expert guidance, equipment, and support. Whether you want to learn the basics, advance your skills, or simply have fun, these schools can help you achieve your goals and make memories that last a lifetime. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to surf your heart out in one of the most iconic and beautiful regions in the world!

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