At Stoke Drift Surf School, we require all children younger than 13 to take private lessons. On private lessons the student is 1-on-1 with a dedicated instructor. Here’s why we have this rule …

Keeping the Lesson Safe & Fun

This is not our way to squeeze more money out of you :-). We actually make less money on privates than groups because we have to dedicate a whole instructor to only one person.

We have this rule to keep everyone safe, and to make sure their experience is top-notch.

Here’s how our semi-private (2+ persons) surf lessons work:

  1. The instructor takes the students to a good spot to catch waves.
  2. The student catches a wave and rides it for ~100 yards.
  3. The student paddles back out to the instructor, and repeats the process.
  4. While the student is paddling back out, the instructor is getting a wave for the next person in the group.

With young children, 99% of the time they’re not able to do step 3, they’re not able to turn their board back towards the instructor and paddle back out 100 yards through breaking surf.

This is usually because of strength limitations of small children, or because the child’s shoulders are not wide enough to effectively paddle the board.

That means that after every wave, the instructor has to paddle back in, and pull the child out. This is what we do on private lessons. The reason we don’t want to do it on semi-private lessons is because the other people on the lessons have to wait for the instructor, and only get about 30% of the waves they would’ve gotten if there wasn’t a small child.

So to keep the child safe, and make sure the other surfers have a great experience, we require small children to take private lessons.

Small Children Get Overwhelmed

Another reason we require private lessons is that it’s not uncommon for small children to get overwhelmed with the experience. Regardless of initial confidence, it’s very common that a small child starts to worry 20 yards off the beach. Our instructors are trained to keep them entertained, comfortable, and confident.

When small children are in groups, they don’t get that specific attention. They often doubt how safe they are, and start to fear the ocean.

It’s very common that small children who take lessons with their parents or another adult end the lesson crying. :'( And for those reasons: safety, fun, and comfort — we have a rule that children under 13 must take private lessons.

When we do have small children on lessons they stay near their family or friends the whole time. The instructors will keep families and friends very close to each other on land and in  the water.

That said, if you think you’re child is the exception feel free to contact us and let us know you understand the above and you still want your child on a group lesson.


Stoke Drift