Have you always wanted to do a pop-up (that’s surf speak for standing on a surfboard) and ride the swells like Kelly Slater? Take your excitement off the shoreline and into the wild waves this winter (prime surfing season in most parts of the world) with the gentle coaching available at one of these schools. Your options run the gamut from half-day lessons to overnight adventures.
Waikiki Beach, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, is teeming with surfers. It’s also where Duke Kahanamoku made recreational surfing famous. Stay at HOTEL RENEW (from $120, www.hotelrenew.com), a chic boutique hotel that offers the Hang Ten Surf School Package, or take a two-hour private lesson with TY GURNEY -- complete with an optional HD video documenting your experience -- at the surf school that bears his name (from $135 , www.tygurneysurfschool.com). Want something a little more intense? Then sign up for one of Gurney’s surf camps (from $1,500, held quarterly), where local culture, such as a luau or Sea Life Park, is built into the itinerary daily.
ALSO TRY: Surfclass lessons in Ventura, California (from $90, www .surfclass.com); Richard Schmidt Surf School in Santa Cruz, California (from $80, www.richardschmidt.com)
For the Dogs
At the SU’RUFF CAMP AT LOEWS CORONADO BAY RESORT, not only can you learn to surf but so can your furry, four-legged friend. The camp includes overnight accommodations for you and your pooch, an hour-long surf lesson for him/her, and either doggie board shorts or a bandana. If Fido is a natural, enter him in the annual Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition, held each June. Gourmet doggie room service prepared by a master chef is also available. Su’ruff Camp from $349; one-hour dog surfing lessons, $40; www.loewshotels.com
Tofino, on beautiful Vancouver Island, is a Canadian cousin of warmer-weather surf towns. Jenny Stewart, Canada’s national surfing champion, started SURF SISTER in 1999 with the goal of helping first-time female surfers feel comfortable on the water. (Note: Despite its hot-pink logo, men are not excluded.) Lessons range from a standard daily lesson to a three-hour weekend clinic to a two-night Stay & Play package at nearby PACIFIC SANDS BEACH RESORT -- where laid-back beachfront accommodations help soothe sore muscles after an intense two-hour lesson. From $75, www.surfsister.com; Stay & Play package from $487, www.pacificsands.com
ALSO TRY: Surf Diva’s lessons in La Jolla Shores in San Diego, California, or its all-inclusive surf camp in Costa Rica (from $60, www.surfdiva.com); Sol Sessions’ weeklong camp in Block Island, Rhode Island (from $1,900, www.solsessions.com)
Surf with Soul
Yoga and surfing each require balance -- and a Zen-like attitude. At VIA YOGA’s six-night retreats in Sayulita, Mexico, 35 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, the two are combined. Between yoga and surf classes, students either hole up in the VILLA AMOR resort or explore Sayulita’s shops, restaurants, and art galleries. An optional silent meditation at 7:30 a.m. includes the sound of crashing waves and an ocean view. From $1,795, www.viayoga.com
ALSO TRY: Safari Surf School’s twice-daily surf sessions and afternoon yoga in Nosara, Costa Rica (from $1,175, www.safarisurfschool.com)
Bunk in style at the RITZ-CARLTON, LAGUNA NIGUEL, CALIFORNIA, with the Billabong Surf Experience Package. It includes a Billabong swag bag and up to four hours of instruction from a Billabong professional surfer. The best part: You’re in the heart of surf country (the offices of Surfer and The Surfer’s Journal are up the road). With each student’s enrollment, a donation is made to organizations like Reef Check and the Ocean Institute. From $495 a night, www.ritzcarlton.com
ALSO TRY: Surf lesson/excursion at the Tides Zihuatanejo in Mexico (from $125, www.tideszihuatanejo.com)