Surf Instructor Training

This is just a brief glimpse into what our surf instructors encounter during some of their training.  The minimum standard must be met in order for an instructor to be deemed competent to safely teach a surf lesson.  All of our instructors must pass each test and also be CPR certified this ensures that the best surf lesson will be given by the most professional surf school in both Huntington Beach and Newport Beach.


Instructor Training

Safety is the most import aspect of surfing regardless of the conditions or ability of the surfer to handle themselves in the water. With that being said knowledge of ocean conditions (currents/reading waves/other surfers/and ability to navigate water) becomes paramount when then teaching someone how to surf and be safe in the ocean. An instructor training program insures proper teaching instruction and in addition to what is expected out of candidates when giving a lesson. This will allow students to have the safest environment to learn as well as putting the instructors themselves through a practical evaluation of their surfing and water competency.



1.   Physical Fitness:



Regardless of how well one of the instructor’s surfs he or she must be physically fit to endure the rigors of picking up boards, dragging them out to sea (sometimes with a person on them) and putting boards and equipment away. The instructor during the training process will have to be able to do a timed beach run to the water and back that simulates running back to the truck in an emergency situation. Time is of the essence when it comes to an emergency and if the instructor is not able to physically do this and stay calm the instructor becomes a liability.


Swimming is also a large part of the job as an instructor and often times clients will be swept out to sea without the ability to paddle back to shore. Therefore the instructor must both be comfortable with swimming out to sea and also dragging an unconscious or unresponsive person back to shore. The instructor will need to be able to swim 300 yards out to sea then swim back dragging a person with their board or a person floating in the water with their head elevated above water.


Treading water is crucial in teaching an outside lesson and thus and instructor may spend vast amounts of time without the ability to touch the ocean bottom. To make sure an instructor is able to do this they will be put through a battery of water treading drills that include floating without use of their hands, floating without using their legs, and a comprehensive exam where water is splashed at them to simulate rough ocean conditions. This will be done over a period of 20 minutes that at no point during the test will the instructor put their feet on the ocean bottom or request to use a flotation device.


Surfing skills will also need to be tested and evaluated to essentially determine if the instructor is competent and has the ability to ride a wave. Instructors need to be able to pop up and ride a wave on either a short or long board and have the ability to safely ride the wave under control. The instructor candidate will be evaluated by a group of senior instructors to ascertain their surfing skill so the candidate will be appropriately placed with their corresponding skill level of students.


2.   Communication Skills


In order to effectively teach a surf lesson safety and knowledge of how to ride waves must be taught to a student. The instructor must be taught how to clearly communicate with the student:

  1. Safety
  2. Stretching
  3. Positioning on board
  4. Paddling
  5. Popping up
  6. Riding the wave
  7. Falling
  8. Etiquette





© By Jason Murchison


This is the intellectual property of Jason Murchison that is an original work and will not be sold, used, modified, or distributed with out his express written consent under penalty of law.