Learning to surf in California or Hawaii

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of March 19-25, 1998
Canoe adventures for single parents and kids
A bonefishing honeymoon in blue waters
Summer outdoor jobs for teenagers
Learning to surf in California or Hawaii
Ideas for exploring Morocco in April

Learning to surf in California or Hawaii
Question: I'm an advanced kayaker, experienced sailor, and a long-time diver who's never picked up surfing. During my next vacation, I'd like to give it a whirl, but want to work with an instructor. Where should I target in springtime? Are there established, experienced schools?

Colin Savage
New York, New York

Adventure Adviser: Next month Outside is devoting an entire section to the best sports camps in the country—surfing included. Buy the May issue to read about Bucky McMahon's first-hand experience at Southern California's Paskowitz surf camp, but I'll ease the suspense — he learned to rip.

At Paskowitz Surf Camp, the student-teacher ratio is, at worst, two to one, since the presiding Paskowitz clan now numbers about 25 — all of them, even the toddlers, superb surfers, and most of them equally adept teachers. Bring a sleeping bag; "lodging" at Paskowitz means a tent camp in a state park nearby and a nightly marshmallow roast. Seven-day courses run from April to October and cost $900, including meals. 714-361-9283.

An alternative is the Nancy Emerson School of Surfing, Maui. Emerson's brochure shows a setter hanging 20 — "If a dog can surf, so can you!" — and promises to get novices up and riding in one lesson at Kihei Cove Park Beach; $65–$1,750 for one to seven days, not including lodging. 808-244-7873.

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