Instead of surfing TV channels this summer, your child can surf the waves at these OC surf camps.
What better way for your child to take advantage of SoCal living than hitting the waves this summer? Surf camps are an Orange County staple, sprinkled throughout the various beaches, and they offer a lot more than just learning the art of balancing on a board. Children of all ages can attend one of these many fun, engaging and educational camps to gain knowledge, friendships, and confidence in themselves and others.
Banzai Surf School offers a great and safe location for beginners and kids ages 8 or older. The Huntington Beach-based camp is well staffed and well equipped, but it also limits enrollment to fewer than 20 students so campers can receive a personal, one-on-one experience and more time in the water to learn. While many larger surf summer camps require its participants to share equipment, this camp sees value in intimacy by allowing each of its campers to have a set of equipment and utilizing the most of its campers’ time.
Located near the border of Newport and Huntington Beach, the summer camp runs from mid June to the end of August.
“Summer campers get almost four hours a day of water-time, more than any other lesson or class we offer and much cheaper,” said Banzai Surf School instructor Jaz Kaner, “Throughout the week we have short ocean awareness and safety games. Campers will take home their own surfing photos, big smiles, and hopefully a lifetime relationship with surfing and the ocean.”
Founded by elementary school teacher and surfer John Pierce, JP’s Surf Camp is based on learning the fundamentals of surfing in a safe and fun environment. Located on the sandy bottom beach by the San Clemente Pier, Pierce said he puts the sole focus on surfing for its campers. This year’s camp runs from June 11 to August 3 for three-hour morning and afternoon sessions.
“Soft surfboards and wetsuits are provided and hard surfboards for those wanting more advanced instruction,” said Pierce, “You can check us out online. We look forward to seeing you this summer!”
Newport Beach’s original surf camp Endless Sun Surf School, established in 1963, offers a large summer program every year for the entire family. The surfing schools offers programs all year round, but the summer camps are tailored for your child’s specific needs. The morning surf camp is for both kids and adults, and the entire camp is spent in the water which Endless Sun Surf School instructor Tim Reda said is more like an awesome surf class at a highly discounted rate.
“We’ve taught thousands of kids and adults how to surf. The Newport Beach Pier is one of the best and safest beaches to learn to surf. Many of our surf instructors are professional surfers who love to share their passion with others,” said Reda.
The all day surf camp is designed for ages 5 to 17 only, and geared towards students who want to hone in on their surf and ocean awareness. The camps run from June 18 to August 31, Monday through Friday.
“We hope campers will achieve a greater connection to the ocean. Campers will gain confidence in themselves as surfers, both in and out of the water. They will learn about ocean safety, surfing techniques, surfing etiquette and environmental awareness,” said Reda, “Whether students have always dreamed of surfing or are coming to improve their surfing, they will walk away a better, more knowledgeable and happier surfer.”
Erik Nelsen Surf Camp is an all day surf camp with one-week sessions starting June 19 through the end of August. For 32 years and counting, the Newport Beach-based camp has offered a well-organized and well-supervised environment for kids of all ages. The summer camps are open for ages 5 to 15, and the company also offers a co-ed and all-girls program.
The camp provides soft surfboards, wetsuits and tents for share. With a four to one student-to-instructor ratio, so each camper will experience a hands-on training and instruction. Each day of camp has an educational theme, with Mondays teaching ocean safety, Tuesday discussing tides, Wednesday learning about waves and where they come from, and Thursday learning about the beach environment and the importance of a clean beach. Fridays are a fun day in which the camp supplies a pizza party for the kids, as well as a goodie bag and a photo of them surfing the waves.
Nelsen said he strives for surf students to gain a lot more than just surfing:
“A better understanding of how the ocean works, understanding the importance of a clean beach, respecting their fellow surfers in and out of the water; we would also like to see their confidence grow and of course hone their skills in riding waves.”
If your child is looking for a unique experience in the water, Bodyboarding Adventures teaches kids from ages 6 to 16 how to “boogieboard” in San Clemente. The camp is the only one in Southern California that teaches kids how to bodyboard with high-quality equipment and current and former professional bodyboarder instructors.
“Bodyboarding is an excellent introduction to watersports for kids with limited water experience. They will also learn basic ocean safety skills like how to identify a rip current and how to read a wave,” said Emily Barnes, chief marketing officer of Bodyboarding Adventures.
The camp runs from June 11 to August 17, and students can register online. Barnes said the main goal of the camp is to not only teach kids a fun sport and meet new friends, but also introduce them to a healthy activity that they can enjoy for the rest of their lives.
“The most important thing we want to pass on to our kids is a love and respect for the ocean. After they have spent a few hours bodyboarding and having fun, we would like them to pick up a few pieces of trash, even when no one is looking, just because they’ve learned to take care of the ocean as the ocean takes care of them.”
By Jackie Moe