Frequently Asked Questions about joining Surf Team/being a member of Your Schools’ Surf Team
How do I join?
You contact your schools’ Surf Team Manager! For JAMS: Jo Segal 310.721.4427, For Lincoln: Chuck Husting 310.770.6353 and Dan Pritikin 310.941.1839 For Samohi: Michelle LoMonaco 310.383.2510. The teams are organized by the parents and approved by the schools.
When can I join?
Sign-ups can happen from the start of the school year until September 20, 2012. You must contact the Team Manager of your respective school to get forms and pay dues.
Is there a cost?
Yes. Currently, in 2012, dues for the year (JAMS, Lincoln, and Samohi) are $240 for approx. 36 weeks of surf practices. The identifying rashguard is $25 made payable to Surf Academy. All surfers must pay their dues and buy their rashguards. There are no scholarships available. It is possible to work out a payment plan with the Team Manager of your specific surf team.
What if my child has never surfed?
We can teach him/her! The groms are divided into three skill levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and each grouping is coached based on their abilities. Know that in a LARGE group setting such as their surf team, the going is going to be slower than if they took a few private lessons to compliment their group experience. They will know the joys of surfing in a very controlled environment when we have a larger ratio--they will get 1/7th the one-on-one time they would get if they do a private lesson.
Do the kids compete?
Yes! The kids who wish to can compete in five (5) regular season surf contests with the Scholastic Surf Series. The contests begin in October and there is one a month until May, when all California middle schools and high schools compete against other schools in the Championships. PE earners must compete in at least ONE contest for the year to satisfy SMMUSD requirements.
What are the requirements to join the team?
Pay all dues by September 20, 2012,
Sign THREE WAIVERS--two for the Scholastic Surf Series and one for Surf Academy/SMMUSD,
The first day of practice is an ocean swim test, a sand run, and a paddle. Children are divided into three groups based on their athletic ability and then divided again by their surfing abilities,
All kids are asked to attend two practices a week, but they are not penalized for only making one (or none, as the case may be in some weeks). The only exception to this are the kids who earn PE credit. They are required to spend a mandatory 200 minutes a week at surf practice.
How many practices a week are there?
There are 5 scheduled practices a week and each child’s dues pay for TWO (2) practices to attend a week. Monday/Wednesday 330-530pm (ISPE practices), Wednesday 630-8am (Lincoln and Samohi), Friday 630-8am (JAMS), Saturday 7-9am (All schools). The kids earning PE credit MUST attend an afternoon practice, and they have option to either attend the other afternoon practice OR their weekday dawn patrol session. My preference is that the PE kids attend BOTH afternoon practices. No one earning PE practice is set up to go to Saturday’s practice.
What if my child wants to surf more than the allotted practices?
If you want more instruction for your grom, you can: 1. buy packages of surf lessons through Surf Academy at www.surfacademy.com, 2. pay an additional $25/practice to attend any of the other three practices during the week that your child doesn’t normally attend.
What can my child expect to learn?
Children can expect to learn basic ocean safety skills (how to identify wave sizes and rip currents), ocean swim skills (how to move with the sea), board handling skills, and surfing skills. We help kids improve their skills from where ever they are starting their surfing journey.
What are the instructor to student ratios on the beach and in the water?
Surf Academy coaches to groms (kids who surf) is 1:7 or better. The ratios are generally better because of Volunteer Surfer parents getting in the water to help out.
Can my child earn Independent P.E. credit for surfing?
Yes they can--the forms are available on the Surf Teams page of the Surf Academy website. You must fill out the forms for your child, get their signature, get Head Coach Marion Clark’s information, and turn the forms into the appropriate administrators at your child’s school. Each school has their own rules for when to turn in the forms, so be sure to talk to the people at your school about deadlines. PE surfers MUST attend two of the M-F practices ONLY. No PE credit is given for Saturday practice. Ideally, those groms earning PE credit come to the two afternoon practices so they can earn more than the 200 minutes that are a minimum requirement for ISPE.
How come they have to run, stretch, and do sit ups and push ups? Why don’t they surf the entire practice?
Everything we do at surf practice is designed to help children be more comfortable, confident, and strong in their bodies. Running, paddling, sit ups, push ups, and stretching are all components of surfing. We practice all of these things to get stronger and be more well-rounded athletes.
Does Surf Academy supply the equipment?
Surf Academy does have wetsuits and surfboards available for rent at each practice. Wetsuits are $10/practice and boards are $10/practice. If you want to rent equipment for your child, Head Coach Marion needs to know at least 24 hours in advance to have it ready and available. She will not be bringing extra equipment to practices if she is not asked for it by parents. Please call, 424.903.9500 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org to make requests.
Where is the best place to get a board and wetsuit?
Surf Academy enjoys “family” discounts at Becker Surfboards in Hermosa Beach (say you’re a Surf Academy peep!) and there will be a “family day” at local surf shop ZJs Boarding House on Main Street and Ocean Park in Santa Monica. Jo Segal from JAMS will have more details soon. You can also check Play It Again Sports and Craigslist for used surf equipment.
How do I know what size wetsuit my child needs?
Kids sizes typically match their age (for example, a 12 year old wears a size 12). This is not always the case, however, and most wetsuit brands you can look up online and cross-check your child’s height/weight with the brand size chart to pick the best fit. Each team is doing a wetsuit order with BodyGlove within the first month of practice. Please talk to your team manager about getting on the list for a wetsuit at wholesale cost.
How do I know what is the right board for my child?
In the beginning, the rule is generally, “the bigger the board, the faster a child will learn.” Surf Academy recommends foam boards in the 7’0” - 9’8” range depending on height/weight of the child. The coaches working closely with your child in practice can give good advice about sizing as your child gets more proficient in the water. We are doing a board order with INT softboards. You can get a high end foam board or a hybrid board (foam top, fiberglass bottom) for 20-30% above wholesale. If you are interested in this option, please check the site and then email Marion with your requests.
Should my child’s board have a leash? How long should it be?
It depends. For beginners, Surf Academy’s philosophy is NO LEASH while they are learning on a foam board. This ensures that the coaches can be hands-on with our help for your grom. If your grom is using a fiberglass or epoxy board, then a leash is MUST. Real fins and harder boards hurt a lot when they get away from their owner and hit someone. The leash ensures the board will stay in relatively close proximity to the owner. The downside to a leash is that Surf Academy coaches and other volunteers cannot do hands-on work with your grom because of safety concerns. Leashes have a tendency to coil around ankles/legs/waists/necks and cause much harm to the person who gets snagged. Another pitfall of leash use is that students using leashes are less mindful of keeping their board close to them. We want our groms to learn good boardhandling skills, and this means how to terminate a wave properly and how to wipe out properly -- keep your board close! When a leash is involved, students are more apt to let their board go flying or simply jump off at the end of a wave--both bad habits! Newbies learn discernment faster when a leash is taken out of their surfing equation.
What are the dangers of surfing?
All sorts of things! Wipe outs, ego bruising, salty eyes, sandy noses and ears, sting ray stings (especially when the water is warm and the waves are mellow), getting hit by surfboards, getting tripped up by leashes...Surfing is considered an extreme sport and we are in the ocean, which means we are level with all the creatures living in the sea. The thing about these perceived dangers are that they are also what makes surfing so delightfully different from all other past-times!
How are the children protected from those dangers?
Surf Academy coaching staff teaches students how to handle themselves and their surfboards in the ocean. We go over safety protocols (how to point the board in relationship to a wave, how to wipe out safely, how to exit a wave, how to hang on to equipment, etc) before each surf session and remind all through practice. Kids don’t remember everything they are told the first time, and we are like broken records when it comes to safety of self and others in the water.
Am I allowed to stay and watch practice?
Yes you are! We do ask that parents who are not volunteering their surf knowledge in the water stay on shore and remain safely distance from their children. We have learned over the years that children behave differently when their parents aren’t around. We don’t want any of the groms to get confused about who is “in charge” at surf practice--the parents or the coaches? We don’t want you to miss your child’s first wave triumphs and epic wipe outs; we do however, ask that you back up the coaches by deferring to their good judgment in the water. When you come to the beach, please set up BACK from the line of trashcans that run from lifeguard tower to lifeguard tower. This way, we have lots of space for sand lessons/workouts and the kids don’t feel like they are on stage. Surfing can be pretty tough on the mind sometimes, and we want as much space for growth as possible!
What happens when the weather is unsavory?
Practice is cancelled in the case of: High Surf Advisories, Heavy Rain (rain advisories), Heavy Winds, Thunderstorms, Sewage Spills. If practice falls within 72 hours of a heavy rain, there is no water practice only land practice. Afternoon PE sessions can be made up on Saturdays if we experience extreme weather/conditions on those days.