Surf’s Up: Five Pros to Learn From on the East and West Coasts
The upshot to this summer’s scorching temps on the East Coast and high winds on the West Coast is that surfers are enjoying some peak conditions, with temperate waters and nicely shaped waves. Here in New York, the surf film festival Smash Fest 1 drew crowds to Rockaway Beach Surf Club on Saturday night. Feeling hang 10, we asked our favorite surf shops—Pilgrim Surf + Supply in Brooklyn and Mollusk in San Francisco—for some pro guidance for perfecting one’s skills on a longboard. The first bit of advice: If you’re serious about learning the sport, avoid crowded surf camps and stick to private one-on-one lessons that focus on the finer points of technique and useful intel about the local beach scene. You definitely don’t want to paddle out into territorial waters. Here, their bicoastal recommendations for taking advantage of the swells.
John Cerasulo, of Pilgrim Surf + Supply in Brooklyn, New York.
The New York Picks:
“Johnny Knapp is a local dude who grew up here, and he knows the area really well. He’s really great at bringing out the ability in his students.” (631) 987-2695
Di Mattison is another friend of the shop who teaches around here and has a great attitude. I’ve seen surfers who are ripped, but then act rude. Di’s friendly and has a good vibe in the water. At the end of the day, if you’re not having fun, why do it?” (646) 659-9370
Julie Cox, manager of Mollusk Surf Shop in San Francisco and Venice Beach, California.
The Cali Picks:
“Carla Rowland teaches in Malibu, where there’s such a good wave. Carla is a great instructor who knows the localized spots and how to maneuver the crowds well. When you’re a beginner, it can be intimidating, so you want to be in the right spot.” carlarowland.com
Ashley Lloyd Thompson teaches private lessons in Santa Cruz. Ashley and I go way back as longtime surfing friends. She’s super patient, knows the breaks in Santa Cruz well, and is a craftsman about boards—she’s one of the only women I know who shapes surfboards, so she can give you great advice on what to get.” (831) 566-8759, ashleylloydsurfboards.com
“I teach private lessons down in Pacifica at Linda Mar Beach, south of San Francisco. I like to do one or two people at a time, and offer coaching on getting more comfortable in the ocean, wave judgment and timing, as well as covering the tides and water safety. I like being a surf buddy, so you know I’ve got your back and will make sure you get some waves and confidence.” juliecoxsurfing.com