My young nieces have an intense infatuation with Bethany Hamilton, the pro surfer who lost her arm after a shark bite at age 13. Seriously, they watch her movie Soul Surfer ALL THE TIME, dressed up as surfers for Halloween, and started taking surfing lessons down the shore. I’m kind of jealous of the latter.
Surfing has long been popular at the shore—especially with the locals. But shoobies like myself, who get to the beach only a handful of times a year, have little opportunity to try the sport out. Thankfully, there are a bevy of surf schools popping up all over the New Jersey coast, giving curious vacationers and local newbies the opportunity to “hang 10.” It’s a great family experience to share with the kids or a fun experience to share with the girlfriends—and who knows, you could discover you’re the next Big Kahuna.
Beaches: Belmar, Bradley Beach, Point Pleasant Beach, Ortley Beach, Manasquan River, Manasquan, Shark River, Asbury Park
With a number of locations around the shore region, this school offers private, group, women-only, kids camps and more. Note that some of its location are for paddle board classes. Information about classes and registration is online.
Beach: Long Beach Island
Provider of surfing and stand-up paddle board classes for more than 10 years, offers lessons and clinics for all ages along with surf camps for kids ages 8-13. For the truly nimble, there are also surf & yoga and stand-up paddle & yoga classes. While equipment is included in the lesson, you can also rent it from the school for your own use.
Beach: Ocean City
Two-hour group-surfing and private lessons are offered seven days a week giving newcomers instruction on surfing basics. They also offer surf camps, stand-up paddle classes and kite-boarding lessons. Lessons take place on the 7th street beach. Wetsuit and soft-top board included.
Surf instruction for all levels at the 20th Street beach takes place on Saturdays and Sundays at 8 am. Reservations can be made in advance; wet suit and board provided.
Stacey’s offers something for everyone—including surf lessons and camps for a range of experience levels, stand-up paddle lessons and camps, and fitness classes. Equipment and wet suits included with lessons and private rentals available. They also feature a “try before you buy” program.