Are the waves calling but you don’t know how to surf? Are the kids begging for a day on the water? Give your little groms a helpful push into the wave by signing them up for one of these top Palm Beach surf schools.
For the South Florida surfer, Boynton Beach’s Nomad Surf Shop is an institution. Supplying surf rats with rides since 1968, Nomad was the first shop in town, fostering what has now become a pretty spectacular surf community. And it’s not done. Besides the rows of neatly stacked boards, apparel, and all around good vibes, Nomad is also helping grow the next wave riding generation with surf lessons. Operating out of its home break—literally behind the shop (group classes have the choice of beach location)—Nomad offers lessons for individuals ($60 per hour), groups ($50 per person per hour), and large parties ($40 per person per hour), teaching the basics for beginners, or helping experienced surfers shape that new technique, trick, or style.
- For more information, visit nomadsurf1968.com/lessons.
Boca Raton | Deerfield Beach
For South County surfers, Island Water Sports has been their stomping grounds for nearly 40 years. Opening in 1978, the family-run Deerfield Beach surf and skate shop has been supplying rides for decades, feeding the surfing needs to generations. But it’s not just about retail.
As a way to get the community out on the water and enjoy the natural power of the waves, Island Camps offers lessons, camps, and summer surf trips for those looking to explore far-off breaks. Lessons run the gamut from the free Saturday morning variety—a tradition 30 years in the making, from 7-9 a.m., IWS staff heads to the beach to lead some beginner surf lessons (boards included) to promote a healthy active lifestyle centered around the water—to surf clinics (held at 9:30-11 a.m. following the free lessons; $25 per person) for those looking for a smaller class size; group lessons for those looking to have a surf party (lessons last one and a half hours; rates range from $25-$75 per student depending on size of class); as well as private lessons ($90 per person) for those interested in taking that next step in water dancing, be it groms to pros, and all the riders in-between.
- Surfers must register for lessons; click here for more info.
As for surf camps, IWS has two of the sweetest setups around. The Boca Raton Surf School, located at Red Reef Park in Boca, and the Deerfield Beach Surf Camp, located at Deerfield Beach just north of the pier, the camps are open during school breaks (Christmas and Spring) and summer break. As the name suggests, these are surfing camp, with surf instruction (from paddling to standing and all things in-between) and sessions peppered throughout the itinerary. Safety being of the utmost importance, every day begins with a beach water safety class, warm-up, and stretching, ensuring that no campers takes the water lightly. And while predominately surf-oriented, campers also play beach games, cruise on standup paddleboards, snorkel and dive the reef, and go tubing with the jet ski—its an all around blast.
- For rates and registration, click here for the Boca Raton Surf School; and click here for the Deerfield Beach Surf School. All IWS counselors and instructors are trained professionals and are CPR and First Aid certified. Camp student to staff ratio is 6:1. Aftercare is also available; click here for more information. For more information, visit islandcamps.com.
- Island Camp photos courtesy of Island Water Sports, Island Camps
Juno Beach | Jupiter
North County groms need only know one place for their surfing schooling: Aloha Surfing School. Situated at Juno Beach’s Loggerhead Park, Surf Camp (more surfing oriented; ages 6-13) and Water Sports Camp (open to kids 7-13) teaches kids the basics on surfing, from proper technique and prep to dropping in and riding the face. But the camp goes well beyond the standard paddle, duck dive, and drop-in; Aloha delves into the surfer’s habitat with an education-focused tour of the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, where campers will learn about the marine life that swims and scurries along with surfers. They will also get a steady dose of ocean education and physical fitness breakdowns to be well prepared for whatever the ocean throws their way. Run by founder Paul Vargas, a physical therapist by trade and an avid surfer who cut his teeth teaching at Australia’s legendary Byron Bay, every camper gets a steady dose of how to prepare for the curl, what to do when it starts to break, and how to maximize the ride.
Starting at 9 a.m., kids start with a warm-up before splashing into the blue. Equipped with longboards and soft-top fun-shaped boards (a cross between short and long), riders make the most of the summer surf offerings, gliding into a newfound respect of the sea and memories that will last a life time. And when the surf just isn’t cooperating, no worries—Aloha has a bevy of activities to keep the groms busy. From skimboarding and Indobaording to working on balance, plus beach relays and dodgeball to keep the fitness levels high, there is a beach-themed activity to keep the kids busy.
For older kids, the Teen Water Sports Camp is open for kids ages 13 and up. With the same activities available to the teen camp as the younger kids, the teens get a bit more flexibility in determining what the day will bring—if the surf is pumping, the dodgeball games will most likely fall by the wayside.
- Surf Camp costs $200 per week; Water Sports Camp and Teen Water Sports Camp costs $285 per week. Camp instructors are experienced surfers, offering an awesome level of instruction to surfing, from the very basics to teaching tricks and advanced technique. All staff members are CPR certified. Camper to instructor ratio is 7:1.
If it’s a one-on-one experience you’re looking for, Aloha offers private and group lessons (perfect for birthday parties!). Each lesson is based on the level of experience of the surfer—if you’re a beginner, it starts with the basics; advanced, lessons will target a specific technique, trick, or need the surfer wants to tackle. Private lessons cost $85 per person; group lessons cost $65 per person (two or more—five or more students will have two instructions).
Click here to head back to A South Florida Guide to Surfing.