School of Surf

Go to school, study hard and one day you too could be ... surfing like Kelly Slater? Well, probably not, but Oahu surf schools can get you started or improve your current skills

Even wiping out, this Hawaiian Fire student was stoked

Whether you were born and raised in Hawaii and somehow missed learning to surf, or you were born elsewhere and have wanted to catch a wave, a variety of Oahu surfing schools make it easy to learn - and to get stoked!

Or if you’re an experienced surfer, studying with professional surfers can improve your technical skills and water knowledge.

Learning how to surf in Hawaii is an unforgettable adventure, and it could also be the beginning of a lifelong love affair. Hawaii, with its sublime weather and beautiful beaches, is the perfect place to learn with its world-class waves.

On Oahu, there are several surf schools to choose from - find the one that best suits your surfing needs and learning style.

Here are a few popular schools:

Hawaiian Fire

Honolulu firefighters and Hawaiian Fire owners John Pregil and Kevin Miller take pride in their crew, which consists mostly of local firefighters “who really know the meaning of team-work and the value of a quality experience.” Instructors hold certifications in safety and life saving, which give students that peace of mind that allows them to fully experience one of the most exciting adventures of their lives.

Hans Hedemann (left) with some of his fast-learning students

Lessons happen at a secluded Kalaeloa beach and include foam-covered surfboards, leash, reef shoes, rash guard, shade tent and chairs, on-shore lessons and water time. Lessons start at $99 per person (3:1 student-teacher ratio), which consists of a 45-minute safety instruction on land and one hour and 15 minutes of water time.

For more information on lessons, visit their website at or call 737-3473.

Hans Hedemann Surf School

The instructors at Hans Hedemann Surf School understand that “the views of our Island from the ocean on a surfboard is like nothing else,” and they strive to give their students the ultimate surf experience. Students can choose one of two locations: Waikiki and Turtle Bay.

Like founder Hedemann, several of the instructors have competed professionally or are currently professional surfers who not only teach beginners, but experienced surfers as well who want to take their surfing to the next level. Two-hour group lessons start at $75 per person (4:1 student-teacher ratio).

Hawaiian Fire teachers make it easy to get up and riding

Besides surf classes, Hans Hedemann Surf School also offers North Shore surfing tours and Diamond Head bike and hike Tours.

For more information on its classes and activities, visit its web-site at or call 924-7778.

Aloha Surf Clinics with Nancy Emerson

Former world champion Nancy Emerson uses 35 years of teaching experience to fulfill her “vision of bringing surfing within the reach of anyone who has the desire” to learn.

Clients come from around the world to learn the basics of form and technique, water safety, ocean awareness and waves conditions.

Emerson’s team of instructors caters to individuals and small groups of all ages and skill levels with full-day clinics. Three-day clinics start at $275 (plus tax), and you can add as much or as little additional trip planning as you like, including a local’s insight to the best restaurants, spas, shopping and island touring. One-day clinics also are available.

She also teaches standup paddling.

Visit the website at or call 294-5544.

Hawaiian Fire instructors and students get together on the beach

Girls Who Surf

“Our staff and team operate at a consistently high level of professionalism,” says Girls Who Surf owner Cherry Fu, a Harvard University graduate in economics.

“More people are finding out about our programs through the community, and we are attracting more customers than ever.”

Fu says that many children and families enjoy their programs and often come back for more lessons.

“We do have equipment for children who can swim, soft foam boards, life vests and spring wetsuits,” says Fu. “We also have the safest fins on all of our boards, an investment that not all schools make.”

The school has been serving Oahu for four years in nine locations islandwide. Girls Who Surf offers lessons for all levels of surfing - beginners to advanced surfers. Their most popular lesson, a two-hour semi-private group lesson, runs $90 per student.

For more information, visit its website at or call 772-4583.


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