About an hour and a half from San Francisco, Sant Cruz is a popular surf spot with both locals and tourists. Trendy eateries, galleries and vintage shops fill the beach city, making it a cool spot for a surf getaway. Its coastline offers a huge variety of waves, suited to all levels of surfer, so no matter your experience you can enjoy surfing here.
These shores are home to a range of surf schools and camps, which offer guests the opportunity of immersing in a surf getaway or taking lessons to build on their surf knowledge. Below we’ve selected four of the best surf schools and camps in Santa Cruz, taking into account past reviews, experience level and price.
Sun & Salt Collective
From $1335 / per person
This five day, women-only retreat is a boutique style surf and yoga escape. The organisers consider every detail, down to the decoration, of the experience to ensure guests leave rejuvenated. Taking place in June, the getaway covers everything: farm to table meals prepared by a private chef, private surf lessons, surf equipment, a sauna and hot tub, daily yoga and guided meditation. Yoga classes are given by local instructor Kaelin Bovee who, due to her being a seasoned surfer herself, creates yoga sequences to complement guests’ time spent in the water. For that extra touch, the retreat is decorated with seasonal flower arrangements, which add that extra special touch to the retreat space. Accommodation for the retreat is the beautiful Om Oasis Retreat Center Aptos.
From $100/ per person
Named after its founder, Ed, this school has been running surf camps for 22 years. The school offers both surf lessons at Cowell Beach and a summer camp which caters to young people who are interested in getting into surfing. Surf sessions are given by experienced instructors, as well as owner Ed, who are very passionate about their craft and bring a lot of knowledge to the classes. Lessons are open to people of all ages and skill levels. They are typically two hours long, however, private lessons are flexible and start from an hour. Club-Ed also offers stand up paddle lessons.
Surf School Santa Cruz
From $95/ per person
Surf School Santa Cruz offers a selection of private, group or custom lessons to all ages and skill levels, so, no matter your experience you’ll find a class to suit you here. Surf classes are two hours long and include both the surfboard and wetsuit rental. Instructors are experienced, bringing a lot of knowledge and invaluable insights and tips to the lessons. Guests can also book lessons with top world-ranking competitor and owner of the surf school, Bud Freitas, who grew up surfing the waves of Santa Cruz. This school comes highly recommended by previous participants who value the quality of instruction, the encouragement and constructive feedback they received.
Richard Schmidt Surf School
From $120/ per person
Richard Schmidt Surf School is open year-round, offering lessons the near the beautiful Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The school gives private or group surf classes as well as SUP lessons, for surfers who are interested in trying out something a little different. Group classes have no more than four students per instructor to ensure you receive personalised feedback and instruction. The price of the lesson includes all required equipment. The school also creates custom surf retreats as well as private classes with the founder of the school, Richard Schmidt.