Compared to the daily grind of work, laundry, bedtime battles and errands, sometimes I get the desperate urge to do something crazy and shake up my routine. Getting outdoors, learning new skills and playing together is a wonderful way to bring your family together and remind yourself what it’s all about.
Surfing can be intimidating – especially for those who didn’t grow up near a beach – but facing your fears to try something unexpected can be hugely rewarding. From a week’s vacation in Spain to a holiday weekend in Southern California, friendly surf schools offer camps and day lessons for families, children and teenagers.
Here’s your chance to brush off that New Year’s Resolution to try new things, as we take a look at three of our favourite surf schools for families.
Conil, Andalucía, Spain: Surfcamp Spain
If you really need to brush away the cobwebs, a trip to your closest coast might not cut it; thankfully, a laid-back week at Surfcamp in the south of Spain is revitalising and out of the way of Europe’s worst summer crowds. Conil is a picturesque village perched on the famous Atlantic coast of the Andalucía region, and Surfcamp offers 5-day camps specially designed so families can learn together. If you don’t want to stay at one of the popular beach resorts in the area, the school even offers lodging in apartments and houses near the beach. The week-long course costs 120 Euros per person, not including accommodation.
Encinitas, CA: Eli Howard Surf School
Encinitas is the quintessential Southern California surf town – in addition to being name checked in Beach Boys songs, a quick drive along the coast reveals countless surf shops, “surfer crossing” road signs and seasoned locals changing into wetsuits in VW busses on the side of the road.
Encinitas is crawling with surf instructors, but Eli Howard Surf School stands out for the devotion it inspires in its alumni. Whether you want a private family lesson, week-long camps for kids or have a whole scout troop in tow, not only will you get first-rate lessons but food, entertainment and a private campsite on the beach. Our pick is the Weekend Escape at $150 per person, which includes a relaxed mix of surf lessons, camping, and down time to explore the beautiful coast and city with your family.
Pascowitz Surf School in San Diego, just south of Encinitas, deserves a special mention for its week-long surf camps for autistic children and their families.
Rockaway, NY: Skudin Surf
Skudin Surf is based in laid-back Rockaway, just 40 minutes from central New York City but emotionally a world away. Brothers and pro surfers Cliff and Will Skudin offer surf camps for children 5-18 years old, leaving parents to get out of the city, relax on the beach or jaunt off for some “me time”. With ratio of one or two enthusiastic instructors per child, your kids will be riding waves in no time. The 1 day, 3 day or 5 day camps run from 9am to 1pm, with prices between $90 – $375 – and if you catch the bug, they offer lessons for adults too.
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