Almost all of the people you will see pictured below had never tried surfing before this lesson.
Once or twice or occasionally three times a year, at least once during spring quarter, (8 a.m. Sunday, May 14, 2017) the De Anza College Outdoor Club offers surfing lessons by professional instructors (usually at Cowell’s beach in Santa Cruz). Soft long board and wetsuit rental included. Almost everyone who takes the lesson has never surfed before and has a blast. The date / cost of the current adventure, and how to find us to sign up, (and take the swim test) will be posted at Outdoor Club Coming Attractions
Please note that he rental wetsuit (included with the lesson) goes on with the zipper in the back.
We’ve done this at least yearly for over ten years. The instruction is excellent and a lot of laughs. We start with a full lesson on the beach, including surfing right-of-way, etiquette, surf break awareness, wave formation, and practice standing up/proper stance on the boards.
Then we carry the boards down towards Steamer’s Lane (we stay where the waves are more beginners sized),
put on the leash, (the leash for the surfboard goes on your ankle that will be towards the back of the board when you stand up. If you lead with your left foot you are normal; if you lead with your right foot you are ‘goofy-footed’)
and paddle out.
The instructors, about one per five or six students for our group event, go out in the water with us and help people, especially with the timing of when to paddle and when to stand up. You will be on your board in position, the instructor will see when the wave is right and tell you to start paddling and then yell when it is time to attempt to stand up.
Timing is everything and it takes a while to get a feel for the moving wave. If you try to stand up too soon you can just miss a ride:
Yes, you will fall off the board numerous times, or shall we say, have a minor loss of balance, but so will everybody
Some people really don’t stand up and surf, but everyone at least gets a few rides kneeling.
If you can’t figure out on your own how to stand up on the board, some of the instructors are able to balance on a moving surfboard while helping you to stand up on your surfboard:
In the photo below you can see people waiting for a wave in the background, one student standing and surfing, one trying to get up, some paddling back after a ride, and one of the instructors (wearing a hat) with a student, helping them to stand.
While the waves are quiet for a moment, people wait and talk, and in this picture, one practiced standing up on the board with an instructor helping him:
“When I moved out to California that was something I really wanted to do.”
“I could do this
“I didn’t think it would be this much fun.” “Even the wipeouts were fun.”
“Before I was very anxious. I’d wake up and look at the calendar and it says it’s only 21 days until surfing.”
To participate in the surfing lessons you must pass a swim test: with a lifeguard or swim instructor assigned by the Outdoor Club watching you, jump into a corner of the diving well (deep pool), before you surface swim two full body lengths underwater, surface and tread water (not a flutter kick) for thirty seconds, then swim a minimum 35 yards head-up crawl or head-up breaststroke (swim along the side across the pool and back to where you started) (all this without stopping and/or holding on to the side of the pool).
Instead of taking the swim test, you can provide a current Red Cross or YMCA lifeguard card or scuba certification or a note from a De Anza swim instructor that shows you are enrolled in a deep water swim class (not deep water running) when you sign up to prove that you can swim.
Thinking about going on this adventure? You will have more fun (and be safer) if you read all of this webpage, and read a sample trip agreement in advance of coming to sign up, so things can go faster.
To better be able to find the lesson, use Google Maps to look for Cowell Beach, Santa Cruz and print yourself a map.
HOW TO FIND US
Times to take the swim test (at the De Anza pool, ask for Mary Donahue) and sign up for the surfing lesson will be announced at Outdoor Club Coming Attractions
More pictures are at:
wipeouts from the De Anza Outdoor Club surfing lessons
successful surfers from the De Anza College surfing lessons
Surfing Oct. 2003 photo page one
Surfing Oct. 2003 photo page two
surfing lesson pictures May 2005
Carpools are arranged among the students going on the trips, for info go to Carpool FAQs
Road trip advice and etiquette
Quit being paranoid about sharks
“Champions of Surf & Sand: Surfrider is a community of everyday people who passionately protect our playground – the ocean, waves, and beaches that provide us so much enjoyment.” http://www.surfrider.org/
The CDC has a before you go to the beach brochure: http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/pdf/swimming/resources/epa-before-you-go-to-beach-brochure.pdf