Surf Lesson FAQs

Booking your lesson

How do I book a lesson?

Contact a REAL Pro by calling 252-987-6000, emailing or filling out the form here.

Do I need lessons?

Absolutely yes! Surfing is a technical sport, and the ocean can be a dangerous place. With lessons, you will learn how to understand and read the waves and enjoy surfing safely. Lessons will also drastically speed up your progression.

If you are already surfing, lessons will push your progression to the next level. Whether you want to learn how to ride down the line or search for your first barrel, our coaches can break down the skill sets into small, concrete steps and then provide instant feedback to help you shred even harder.

Do I need to be in great shape to surf?

Surfing is a combination of balance and flow. We will assist you with reading the waves and technique, you will just have to pop up. Being in better shape may help you learn a little faster, but we have taught people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. You should be comfortable in the water and be able to swim.

What can I do to prepare for my lessons?

Surfing uses large muscle groups so working your legs, core and back will help you stay fresh for your time with a REAL Coach. Yoga and anything you can do to improve your flexibility is also recommended.

How long does it take to learn to surf?

In general, we will get you up and riding on your first lesson. After your first lesson you can practice on your own safely, but we suggest planning for at least 3 days. Practicing on a balance board, snowboarding, or skateboarding will increase your learning curve. The more time you have on the water with a REAL Coach the farther up the learning curve you will get.

Generally speaking, with the REAL coaching program it takes 3 days to become a self-sufficient surfer, 10 days to be able to go down the line and turn. If you come with strong water and board skills, you will learn faster.

What can I do to prepare for my first lesson?

Hydrate the day before your lesson and eat a big meal, surfing uses up a lot of energy. Practicing pop ups beforehand will get you a strong head start. This is done by marking two spots on the floor about 2 to 3 feet apart and trying to successfully “pop up” to stand on them from a laying down position.

Should I take Private Lessons or sign-up for a REAL Surf Camp?

Many of our customers appreciate the private attention of Private and Semi-Private Lessons. The Privates will allow you to learn at your own pace and customize your curriculum. Also, Privates and Semi-Privates will allow you to book your lessons starting any day of the week. We can cover the Zero to Hero curriculum taught in our REAL Surf Camps with a Private Coach.

REAL Surf Camps are for beginner surfers ages 8-17 only. They are three to one student to instructor surf camps that run on three consecutive days.

Our REAL Surf Camps follow our Zero to Hero curriculum and takes kids from having no experience to able wave rider so they can practice on their own. Included in the set curriculum is beach and ocean safety, wave dynamics, the pop up, paddling, selecting, and catching waves, surf etiquette and techniques including riding down the line, turning and body positioning and, gear tech (selection, purchasing, maintenance, and repair). REAL Surf Camps are a great way to get a comprehensive, immersive beginner experience.

To find out what options will be best for you, please contact a REAL Pro at 252-987-6000,, or this contact form.

Who can join me for a Semi-Private Lesson?

During a Semi-Private lesson, you and your friend or family members will be using boards specifically picked for your ability level and weight. Semi-Private Lessons are booked in groups of two or more students with a maximum student coach ratio at 3:1 to maximize progression and safety. Semi-Privates are a great way to make the lesson extra fun by sharing it with someone else. It is also really helpful to your learning process to be able to watch someone working on similar skills while talking with the coach; it helps you get a better understanding of how everything works and often provides great breakthroughs.

Before and During Your Lesson

What should I bring?

Students are required to have their own water wear. This includes sunscreen, a standard bathing suit, and/or wetsuits ranging in thickness depending on the season. If you do not have any of this, do not worry; the REAL Flagship Store is always stocked with the finest water wear and accessories so you can be comfortable on and off the water. All REAL students get 10% off regularly priced wetsuits, rash guards, sunscreen, sunglasses, and clothing at REAL while participating in lessons. This discount does not apply to gear or accessories such as boards, fins or leashes. Always remember to bring a water bottle to stay hydrated.

What is included with the lesson?

Our lessons include all the surfing gear needed for the lesson, a REAL Coach, transportation to and from the lesson location. If you are doing an intermediate or advanced lesson, we have a wide variety of premium quiver boards that you may demo. This is also a great time to try the gear you might be interested in buying.

What is included with a REAL Surf Camp?

Our REAL Surf Camps include all the surfing gear needed and a REAL Coach or Coaches. Snacks are provided but if you have specific dietary needs, we suggest packing your own snacks.

What time should I arrive?

Lessons start daily at 9:30am for the morning session and 2pm for the afternoon session. Arrive at the REAL Lesson Center 10 minutes prior to your lesson start time. This will give you time to sign a waiver, get any necessary items you may need, meet your coach, and make a game plan for your lesson.

What can I do with my stuff during the lesson?

We have lockers on the back deck that you can rent to hold any valuables, or you can leave your things in your car or truck.

Is there a place for family and friends to watch?

Families and friends are always encouraged to watch from the beach.

What if there is no surf or too much surf

REAL Surf Lessons offers 4x4 transportation and the ability to access the best breaks for the day’s conditions. Our coaches know where to go even in the smallest or largest of conditions. We will always do our best to find a wave to fit the needs of your individual lesson. If the surf is too small or too large there may be an option to go to another part of the island, potentially down south to Frisco or north to Coquina Beach. If this isn't an option, the coach will discuss rescheduling options with you and find a day that the conditions will be doable for the lesson.

What if I need to cancel or reschedule my lesson?

If you need to cancel or reschedule your lessons or camp, you can do so up to 14 days before the scheduled lesson or camp time with no rescheduling fees. A rescheduling fee of $200.00 will be applied to any lessons or camps canceled or rescheduled within 14 days of the scheduled lesson or camp start time, and the remaining balance will be placed on your store account. If your lesson or camp is canceled by REAL, you will receive a raincheck equivalent to the value of the lesson or camp booked. No rainchecks will be issued for cancellations or no shows within 48 hours of a lesson or camp.

What are the next steps after my lessons?

Your coach will help make a customized plan for you at the end of your lesson based on your progress during the lesson. They can help you get the right surfboard so you can keep practicing.

Lesson Center FAQs

"We Make New Riders Every Day". This has been our mission statement since 2001. Since then, over 50,000 students have completed our kiteboarding and surfing instructional programs. Outside Magazine ranks REAL's Camp programs among their "Top 10 Adventure Camps in the World".

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