A fifth surfing school will begin offering commercial lessons this summer in Half Moon Bay at Surfers Beach following city approval.
Justin Appold, the San Francisco Surf Lessons owner, said Surfers Beach at the north end along Highway 1 is a premier spot in the Bay Area for beginning surfers, along with areas in Bolinas and Linda Mar in Pacifica. Compared to Linda Mar, the relative seclusion of Surfers Beach was one of the main reasons he wanted to set up surf lessons in the Half Moon Bay area.
“Surfers Beach is actually the best beach in the immediate Bay Area for beginning surfers,” Appold said.
He will offers group beginning surf lessons for $100 at Surfers Beach starting in July on Saturdays and Sundays. Lessons would occur at low tide, with classes in the morning and evening for beginners and early intermediate. Lessons would emphasize safety, skills for surfing and making it easy for people new to the sport. Topics include water safety, proper surf etiquette and getting people comfortable in the water. Students will stay within a designated flag area, and everyone will wear yellow uniforms.
Appold noted he has training as an emergency medical technician and has a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in the field of education, which he believes will help with teaching and ensure people feel safe. He grew up on the water on Long Island and has more than 20 years of surfing experience throughout the United States. During his time in Hawaii, he spent time teaching surfing to kids with disabilities, something that continues to inspire and humble him.
“It’s something that brings me a lot of personal joy and helps me find balance in life,” Appold said about surfing.
He noted many surf schools give equipment to people and churn them through the experience as quickly as possible. He wants to focus on getting people to reach enough comfort to practice and make surfing a regular hobby.
“We want them to make something more of it. That’s what we are gearing towards,” Appold said.
San Francisco Surf Lessons will begin operating this summer after City Council approval at its June 15 meeting. The agreement will go till the end of 2022 before being reconsidered by the city.
The city has licenses with four other surf schools at the city-owned Surfers Beach. The schools offer individual and group surf lessons, water safety training and environmental stewardship education. The five schools will now coordinate for space at Surfers beach and in the water, which the city believes will work. As part of the agreement, San Francisco Surf Lessons will have a business license, certificate of insurance, American Red Cross certification of all instructors and proper ratio of instructors and students.
Assistant City Manager Matthew Chidester said Half Moon Bay worked to ensure Appold met all licensing and safety issues. Chidester said eight students are allowed in the water per school, with 40 total theoretically allowed in, although most operate at different times and areas.
The city wants to accommodate as many surfing lesson opportunities as possible to get kids outside following COVID-19. Appold plans to offer lessons to kids either this or next summer.
“We just thought we have to do something to create as many opportunities as we can to get kids in the water,” Chidester said.
Visit https://sfsurflessons.com/ for more information.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102