For more than 19 years, Malibu’s Surf Shop has been offering lessons to children of all ages and of any skill level. The 9 guys that teach the lessons have a common goal – to share the exhilaration of riding a wave with children and adults visiting the coastal Maryland. Surf lessons are meant to teach those interested about surf safety, knowledge of surf, and several skills needed to pursue a hobby of surfing.
“One-on-one lessons are highly recommended for many reasons. A lesson with one instructor and on students works best. It allows for more attention directed on one individual and results in a better understanding of skills,” said JT Hazard.
Hazard is a manager at Malibu’s Surf Shop. He has been teaching surf lessons at Malibu’s since 2002. Hazard is one of the best instructors in town and is also a role model to many of Ocean City’s young skater and surf kids. He works at the Ocean City Skate Park, too.
Every instructor has been teaching lessons for at least three years; many instructors have a lifetime of experience in the water. The Malibu’s Surf lesson instructors main duty is to see their students catch at least one wave and ride it to shore by the end of their first surf session. More advanced students will learn techniques to improve their performance in the water. All of the Malibu’s guys have grown up on the beach in Ocean City and agree that private lessons are the only way to go.
Typically, lessons begin at 8 or 9 am before the lifeguards take to their stands. Lessons can occasionally be scheduled after 5:30 pm when the lifeguards leave the beach for the day. One lesson costs $60 per person.
“Book a lesson, or a few lessons, at least one week in advance. Our schedule does get fully booked every week,” recommended JT Hazard after stating that the instructors conduct at least 10 lessons total each week.
“We like to do one-on-one classes but we can do up to 3 people in a group – with two instructors” Hazard said.
Children as young as 5 years of age can participate in surf lessons at the 8th Street surf shop. All ages are welcome to sign up for one-on-one instruction. All participants must be comfortable with the ocean. A fear of the ocean, moving water, waves, or touching the sandy bottom are not characteristics of those who are eager to hop on a surfboard and paddle. It is also highly recommended that all participants know how to swim.
Before heading into the water, instructors will give instructions on the beach. The instructors will demonstrate how to ‘paddle, paddle, paddle, pop, and stand’ in the sand before attempting the acts in the water. Malibu’s supplied each participant with a surfboard, a wetsuit, and an hour long lesson. Most first-time surfboards are 7’ – 9’ long soft-top boards that require no waxing, are fairly light, and meant for easy riding.
“We like to see all of our students stand up on their board during their first lesson. It’s our goal. Of course, it’s much easier for some people and not so easy for others, but we want to see it happen,” said Hazard.
The drive to see all of their students standing on a board in the water has proven itself time and time again and resulted in incredibly excited young students.
It’s recommended that parents stay on the beach, sit back, and watch their kids in action. Having a parent on shore to run to after catching a first wave is a huge reward for a child. Someone to share excitement with and offer a few words of encouragement is many times all that a child is longing for before turning and running back into the breaking surf.
Children can sign up for multiple, back-to-back, day-to-day lessons. Repeat participants are encouraged to rent a surfboard after their lessons. Surfboards can be rented, too. Rental prices are as follows: $10/hour, $25/day, and $15/5:30-dusk.
“Surfing provides a way to keep children active, moving, and learning. By teaching kids how to surf, they have a new hobby. It’ll keep them out of trouble, too,” said Hazard. The Malibu’s instructors say that the biggest reward is seeing a child excited and happy about their experience out in the water.
Every Friday morning during the summer months, the Malibu’s surf instructors teach children from the Believe in Tomorrow Children's Foundation how to surf. Wyatt Harrison, a Malibu’s instructor, manager, and competitive surfer, enjoys teaching the children and families involved in the program her skills.
“We want to provide these children and their families with a memory that lasts,” said Harrison.
Believe in Tomorrow provides hospital and respite housing services to critically ill children and their families. The families are offered a home in Fenwick Island, DE for a few days. Many of the children are excited to learn to surf in Ocean City with the guys from the surf shop. Many of the surf instructors are just as excited to see these kids enjoy themselves out in the water, too.
“The kids come and spend a day at the beach with us. All of the instructors and Malibu’s guys come out and hang out on the beach with them and take them surfing. Everyone who is able to make it, does.” said Harrison.
Malibu’s has been providing customers will quality supplies, answers, and needs since 1986 and is the only oceanfront surf shop in all of Ocean City. If interested in signing up for surf lessons, contact Malibu’s; visit their website, call the surf shop at 410-289-3000, or make a trip to 8th Street and the boardwalk in OC.
All photos from the Malibu’s Surf Lessons webpage.