Best Places For Kids To Learn To Surf In Sydney
Surfing used to be a pursuit for the elite, an underground obsession or a time-waster for the hippy soul surfer. But now surfers are everywhere – they’re getting younger and they’re getting older – even us mums are getting into it. Riding waves is so mainstream that it was recently given inclusion in the 2020 (well, 2021) Summer Olympics.
But even if you’re not looking to go ‘pro’ surfing can be such a great way to get fit, enjoy the outdoors and possibly pick up a hobby that will stick with you for life.
So, what does it take to get into the art of wave riding? Well, whether it’s you or your little ones (called “groms” in surfing lingo) the first thing you need to do is sign up for some lessons. Surfing isn’t something you can just “pick up” on your own… unless you are truly gifted (I’m jealous) so a few lessons from the professionals are the best way to learn the ropes. Then you can go and invest in a board and psych yourself up for those early morning wake-up calls. Here’s a few places you can go in Sydney:
Let’s Go Surfing
With lessons in Bondi and Maroubra, Let’s Go Surfing cater to every level of surfer, from the complete novice to those who want to hone their skills. They even have a mother’s group called Women on Waves which is a six week course designed to get women in the water, make new friends and build confidence while catching waves on Bondi Beach. For kids there are loads of options, from one-off lessons to give them a taste to after-school programs that will guarantee to get them up on the board, even holiday surf camps where they can really master their craft. Kids can even start from as young as 5 in the Weet-Bix Groms where they’ll also learn beach safety and awareness of rips and tides.
Go On A Surf Camp
A great way to really get into surfing is to go on an intensive surf camp. Australian Surf Tours do two-day weekend camps for adults where everything is taken care of – you just jump on the minibus and they’ll take you to some secluded spots on the south coast for lessons and camping. For kids, in the school holidays, they do 3 day/2 night surf camps aimed at engaging your kids with nature and the ocean (parents can go too and spend the whole time lying in a hammock if they want!). But because they don’t really want the mums to miss out on all the fun, the company introduced Mums Go Surfing groups that bring women together and give them a chance to learn something new just for themselves. We think that’s a pretty important thing for mums!
Manly Surf School
One of the longest-running surf schools in Sydney, Manly Surf School has been teaching people to surf on Manly Beach and all the way up to the northern beaches since 1983. They run lessons every day, several times a day and always know the best places to score waves. Lessons range from private, group, holiday programs to camps and start from as young as five years of age. They do birthday parties for up to 40 kids too – how cool! They also do stand-up paddleboard lessons if you think that’s more your style of wave riding.
Cronulla Surf School
This Shire surf school is host to the national program for 5-12 years olds, SurfGroms. A unique and fun program designed as an intro to surfing; ocean awareness and beach safety. Kids take part in an 8-12 hour program that will have them ripping up waves and feeling confident in the ocean. Cronulla Surf School also do before and after school lessons because they know down here that surfing is a lifestyle, not just a hobby!
Waves of Wellness Foundation
More commonly known as WOW, this mental health surf charity regularly runs free surf/wellness programs for teens on the beaches of Sydney (Bondi and Northern Beaches). The 8-week programs are for those aged 14-18, run by mental health professionals who are also qualified surf instructors.
Each weekly session involves a group discussion on the beach regarding mental-health topics (e.g. stress management, mindfulness, relationships and problem solving), followed by a one-hour surf lesson. It’s all completely free and is the perfect way to start your day (don’t mind the cold, they provide wetsuits and all other equipment – including boards).
For more information, head to the Waves of Wellness website.
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