Unbeatable group rates... Save $100 or more when booking a minimum of 4 surfers and we provide more hands on instruction per student than any other school, reserve your surf lesson online today!

Real TripAdvisor Reviews

  • “Exhilarating First Surfing Experience!”

    I've always wanted to learn how to surf. I can't recommend this school enough. Here's why I feel University of Surfing is the BEST place to go: We practiced 10 minutes on the beach how to do pop-ups & went right into the water. I must admit a...

  • “Perfect”

    We had a great time and a great lesson. Megan had us up and surfing within an hour and the next day Matt sent us a great little video clip of us on the boards. The most surprising part was that the wetsuits actually kept us warm in the freezing P...

  • “Excellent first experience”

    First time surfing, and Matt helped us get started. He was working hard for us, it was a lot of fun. We spent a long time in the water, and the overall time spent is more than the 2 hours we paid for. We were slightly apprehensive of the cold, bu...

  • “Awesome surfing experience”

    Reviewed January 14, 2015 Very friendly and helpful instructor, AJ. I did a private 2 hour lesson having previously surfed. AJ helped me get up to speed quickly and gave me great advice on the best path to becoming a better surfer. Jon L S...

  • “Friendly and Helpful”

    Very nice staff. Friendly and helpful. The group was not huge and there were plenty of experienced staff to help get newbies up and make sure they all felt safe. Several instructors were great about blocking big waves so new surfers didn't take too m...

  • “Best day ever”

    Signing up for lessons online was easy and fast. Signed myself, 23 and 11 year old daughters up for lessons. Both had a blast and said "this was the best thing we ever did." Matt and his staff are informative, safely conscious, and patient. My da...

  • “Great beginner surf lesson”

    Matt is very easy to work with - he knows the local breaks well, has a lot of experience and also knows his subject very well. This is your connection if you are looking for surf lessons in the Bay Area. Visited June 2014 Greg F...

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Surf 101► Beginner Surf Lessons

Let our enthusiastic instructors take you out for a lesson and you’ll be stoked to come back again. We will teach you how to make your surfing experience safe and enjoyable. All ages welcome!


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University Activity Board

Over 10 years of teaching surf and fun…

Check out more videos of the fun and memories made while learning to surf. Surfing is a sport to last a lifetime. You are never too old or too young to learn to surf. Surfing can be as radical or laid back as you want it to be.

Video Gallery

Private Surf Lessons► One on One

Don’t like groups or just really want to maximize your time in the water? Book a private surf lesson with us and get the best instructors all to yourself. This is a great way to reach the next level fast.


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  Gift Certificates and Apparel

Give the gift of creating a memory and they won’t be able to thank you enough. Gift certificates are available for any lesson and make an awesome birthday, anniversary, or anytime gift.


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About Us

Since 2004, the University of Surfing has dedicated itself to offering and documenting the best surfing experience possible. The University of Surfing is professional, local, friendly and All Inclusive. We offer year round surf lessons for the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley. University of Surfing is located 15 minutes south of San Francisco at the gorgeous and tame South Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica,CA. All group surf lessons are scheduled around the proper tide (low and incoming) to ensure safe learning conditions for our students. Instructors are CPR and First Aid certified. Surf etiquette and ocean safety are very important to us; while the ocean can be calming and peaceful, its force and your fellow surfers must be respected. Let our enthusiastic instructors take you out for a lesson and you’ll be stoked to come back again.

University Info (FAQ)

University of Surfing is dedicated to providing and documenting the best surfing experience possible. We love surfing and it shows. Our life long surfers will teach you surfing during the proper tide on a soft, safe surfboard in a 4/3mm wetsuit and booties. U of S is fully licensed and insured and is proud to live and work on the beach 10 minutes south of San Francisco in beautiful Pacifica.

Please surf smart. As long as you follow a few basics you can safley keep yourself and others from getting hurt.

  1. Hold onto your board
  2. Do not cut off other surfers. The surfer who is closest to the breaking part of the wave gets the wave.
  3. Be sure to put your hands out in front of you when you are crashing head first and always cover your head until you physically see your surfboard. If it or anything else is in between you and a incoming wave your gong to get hit.
  4. Surf smart. Watch the waves and surf to your ability
  5. Ask for help. We can make your entire surf experience WAY more fun and safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much are lessons?

Group lessons are $100 and price drops on repeat lessons. Private lessons are $180. Semi Private are $140, for 2 or more at non group lesson time

How do I sign up?

Email for quick response or call 650 556 6515

I tried to e mail & calling and I have not yet heard back from you.

Sorry but if we do not reply within 24 hours that means the lesson you requested in most likely booked. Please not in the subject line if you want a private, we can almost always accommodate private lesson requests.

When does the lesson start?

Lessons are scheduled around low tide for favorable conditions. If these times do not work; we can schedule a private surf whenever you want, it just might be a bit rougher.

Where do I go for my lesson?

Take Hwy 280 S to Hwy 1 South for a couple minutes. Linda Mar State Beach is on the right side of Highway 1. Turn right at the intersection of Linda Mar Blvd and San Pedro Ave. Make an immediate right into the lot.

How much time do we spend in the water? 1 to 1.5 hours of wave riding. Any more than 1.5 hours is too much. Surfing is very hard work.

What do I need to bring?

A towel, swim suit, sun screen, signed waiver and your payment.

What can I do or not do prior to my lesson?

Take it easy. Do not go on a 10 mile bike ride. You will need your energy if you want to surf for more than an hour. Some people like to stretch before and/ or after Surfing.

Do I need to know how to swim?

Yes. We will most likely not be water more then 3 or 4 deep, but you must have the swim basics down.

Do I need to rent equipment?

No. We supply the Board, Suit and Booties.

Can I use my own wetsuit?

Yes. Surfboard? No. You must use one our boards until you have learned the basics and sign up for an intermediate lesson.

Do I need to make reservations?


What age do I need to be?

5 and up.

Can we get photos?

Yes. Contact us for details.

What do we do if it’s raining?

We surf in the rain. You’re already wet and the rain warms the water and decreases the crowds. Wind is worse then rain; surfing in the rain is great. The only bummer is getting in and out of your wetsuit. Do not surf right after the first big rain of the year.

University of Surfing suggested lesson plans
  • Take a lesson
  • We suggest 2 or 3 regular group lessons
  • Buy a wetsuit, we love Hotline but any 4 3 mm suit from a SURF shop will do
  • If your up for it but a big soft surfboard, Costco sells a 8 footer for $100
  • Surf on you own for 5 to 10 times then get a private lesson to work on specifics
  • We also offer many package deals

Post Surf Lesson Info

Attention: University of Surfing Alumni

Thanks a ton for coming out and learning to surf with University of Surfing. Please come back again.

If you are ready to go out on your own here is some info to help. Be SAFE. Look out for other surfers, cover your head and hold on to your board.

It’s a good idea to buy a good wetsuit now and try out different rental boards before you buy. Feel free to ask any questions and I look forward to seeing you out in the surf.

We offer intermediate to advanced lessons as well as packages and Coaching. Whether you have been surfing for less than a year or more than 5 years, we can help you have more fun by seriously increasing your wave count. Lessons are available on yours or our equipment at Linda Mar, or your home break.

Local Shops

NorCal Surf Shops 5460 Coast Hwy, Pacifica, CA – (650) 738-9283

Sonlight Surfshop 575 Crespi Dr # 1, Pacifica, CA – (650) 359-5471

HMB Surf Report    (650) 726-0654

Suggested Movies

ESPN: Down the Barrel            Great Movie, Must See

Step Into Liquid                         Best all around Surfing Movie

Surfs Up                                    Super good, best Hollywood surf movie ever

North Shore                               All time classic 80’s Hollywood Surf Movie

Surfing for Life                           Documentary on aging surfers

Linda Mar

To the south end, aka Boat Docks it is a mellow reef break that can have a really fun long left. Careful it’s rocky and you should only surf out there if you can surf safely and respectfully. Next is San Pedro creek, rocky reef that can create some fun waves. Main beach, aka Taco Bell beach at Linda Mar is a Beach Break. The further north you go the more advanced and secluded the wave gets. The Pump House is in front of the north lot showers and is a good mid level wave. Next break is in front of the Park and Ride at Crespi, good wave with smaller crowds. The far north end has a few reefs and large exposed rocks, advanced only. So for your best bet, stay between San Pedro creek and Taco Bell. It’s a mainly sandy bottom, slow, usually mushy wave that often closes out allowing multiple surfers to ride each wave. All these spots can become much nastier at high tides, or they can go flat if the tide is too high.

Other good beginner beaches in bay area:

Surfers Beach in Half Moon Bay, aka Princeton or HMB Jetty. Mellow little wave that is protected from north swells, mellower waves at low tide, hollow and fast at high tide. Cowell’s in Santa Cruz, Capitola, Manresa is Aptos, Balinas in Marin

Surf Info

Wave -Energy in water that breaks in water that is approximately 1.4 times deeper than it is high. Ex. A 2-foot wave will break in about 3 feet of water. Whitewater. Broken wave, mush, horizontal, better for beginners.
Tides -Changes twice a day, low tide tends to have more mellow mushy waves. High tide tends to have more hollow advanced waves.
Inside -Waves or whitewater close to the shore, where we usually hang out
Outside -Further out, where waves 1st break and beyond
Right -Wave breaking to the right from surfer’s perspective, left from shore. Regular foot surfers (left foot forward) are facing the wave, easiest way to surf.
Left -Wave breaking to left. Goofy foot surfers (right foot forward) are facing wave.
You are better off taking off at a angle for a few reasons: That’s how you properly surf a wave, It’s safer (less pear dives) and extend ride time by going down the line.
Ideally, you want to as close as possible to the shoulder of the wave at all times.