Notes from a few Surf alum's
Matt was awesome! I've always wanted to take a surf lesson and emailed U of S late Saturday afternoon to see if there was a spot available for the 8:00 am class the next day... I thought it was a shot in the dark but Matt responded quickly and had a spot for me this morning. It was more fun than I expected! I thought that since it was my first class we'd spend more time on the sand but we actually spent most of the 2 hr class in the water riding waves. Surfing is a lot harder than you'd think! I caught about 4 or 5 good waves. It was much easier standing up when Matt was pushing me into the waves and guiding me. I tried it on my own and I never got up but it was my first day so I'm not too brokenhearted about it. I'm so stoked that I actually was up and riding even with his help. I didn't expect to at all. Most awesome feeling ever! Now I know why surfers surf! I'll definitely go for more sessions and try it on my own as well. He also gave us an Alumni card for the next time at a discounted rate. There were 4 others in the class and I liked that Matt made sure to spend an equal amount of time with each of us. He even gave me pointers after I tried on my own which I appreciated. It showed that he was attentive to everyone even if he was 1 on 1 with someone else. Ps. This is my first 5 star rating on Yelp EVER. :)
My husband has become slightly (is an understatement) obsessed with surfing lately. We bought a deal off Google Offers for a 2-hour semi-private lesson. We got lucky, and the third guy in our lesson didn't show up, so we ended up with a totally private lesson. Matt is very enthusiastic and seems to love his sport. He pretty much convinced us we should buy wetsuits, and then longboards if we decide we like surfing. Turns out, after our lesson, I think we might end up with a board or two. ;) Matt spent a lot of time on the beach teaching us the important things to remember while we're out in the water. Once we made it into the water, he pushed us onto waves and we both had some really long rides. Eventually we paddled out further and he helped me get on some bigger waves, letting my husband work a little more independently since he was more confident, occasionally yelling out advice to him. One of Matt's friends ended up hanging out with us, and I think the two of them got in as many waves as we did -- the surf was too good for Matt to pass up (extra awesome due to the King Tides)! Our lesson ended up 3 hours long -- my body was exhausted, my toes were freezing and my face hurt from smiling for 3 hours straight! I had a blast and ended up dreaming of surfing that night. I'm pretty sure we'll take another lesson from Matt. He made us feel really comfortable, not like posers, and made catching waves seem a lot more attainable.
Review from Whitney N. 4/11/2013
Matt and his team of instructions were incredible! I took some of my students here for three days of surfing and they had a blast. The crew at University of Surfing is professional, accommodating, fun, and great with kids of all ages (and adults too!). They provided us with wetsuits, booties, hoods, and surfboards of all sizes depending on ability level (my personal favorite was the SUP, because it enabled me to stand up every time!). I would definitely recommend this place to school groups or anyone who finds themselves in Northern California who is interested in learning how to surf.
Just got back from our lesson earlier today and I have to say, the whole experience was awesome! I communicated with Matt via email initially to coordinate the lesson for our group and he was a pleasure to deal with. We got to him when we first arrived and his positive attitude and willingness to accomodate for our group left a great first impression on us. The wetsuits (along with gloves+booties) and the board were all much higher quality than we were expecting, they definitely didn't skimp out there. Our instructor, Kyla, was also great -- she was very enthusiastic and helpful, and she even stayed out past our lesson to let us catch a few more waves. I will definitely be recommending the University of Surfing to my friends and will be planning another trip with them myself.
Review from Frank G. 6/14/2012
After my kid started surfing, I thought: why not me? I"ve always loved the ocean and retain a reasonable sense of balance. There's no reason, theoretically, that a 50 y.o. guy shouldn't be able to master this sport of youth. So, I signed up early this year for a lesson with the U. of Surfing. Matt runs a great operation - - quality gear, punctual, easy-going, and great instruction. Thumbs up for the Provost of surfing. Have to mention specifically how helpful Kyla, Kevin, and Tristian - - U. of Surfing's tenured instructors - - are. Super knowledgeable, encouraging, and patient. The faculty of the U. of Surfing would all get 5 out of 5 and a hot tamale on RateMyProfessor! Four months and as many lessons later - - I'm browsing CraigsList for my own board and trying to jimmy my work schedule for 2 hour lunches in Pacifica. Thanks to my alma mater . . ..
Review from Courtney s. 11/10/2012
Great group class on a cold day. I tried surfing a year ago in Peru and enjoyed it but learned how to do it from a guy who spoke no english. It's intimidating to rent a board and go out alone, and surprisingly, this class allows you plenty of time to try on your own, or get help if you need it. I felt very safe, even though the water was not very calm for us. It was cold outside, but that made the water almost warm. I'm excited to go out a couple more times before my upcoming trip down to southeast asia, and hope that I can gain some confidence to hopefully make this a little more regular in my life with some practice time on my own and hopefully some private lessons. I can't recommend this enough to anyone who has tried it a few times, or never tried it before. With the wetsuit and booties, you won't be that cold. I have to admit I was nervous about trying out surfing for the first time in the fog and freezing cold water in Pacifica but it turned out to be a truly amazing experience! This place was AWESOME! Here's what make University of Surfing so great: 1) Early start time (these guys start 30-45 minutes before all the other surf schools in the area) which meant we had the best section of beach reserved for our group. 2) Excellent participant/teacher ratio - we have 3 instructors for 5 people = plenty of 1-on-1 coaching time and lots of opportunities to get practice with just the coach and nobody else is the water around you (NOTE: all the other schools there had dozens of people surfing in small spaces with the same number of instructors - at least 7 or 8 to 1 ratio!) 3) Exceptional Coaches - Kevin was our lead instructor and his knowledge was second to none - he actually took the time to teach us the fundamentals and he was enthusiastic, funny and very patient - he didn't have the kind of ego you would expect for a surfer of his experience and above all he was honest (I told him I wanted to take a second lesson and he gave me things to practice before coming back so I would get the most out of my money). 4) Everything was included - top notch gear all ready to go and all of very high quality and in good shape I went from never having touched a board to being able to get up and ride small waves - I'm hooked! I will definitely come back for more lessons and I highly recommend University of Surfing to anyone thinking about learning to surf! I am so glad that I decided to try surfing, and I'm even gladder that I got a lesson my first time. The instructor has an insane amount of patience and positive attitude. This made more sense when I found out that he's also a middle school P.E. teacher. Wow. He has many years of experience, so I'm guessing he's good for non-beginners also. He brings the wetsuits and boards -- all you have to do is show up. Five stars, and I am surprised to find myself up for trying surfing again.
Ellie P 5 star rating 5/3/2008
I signed up for a 2-hour lesson with Matt and thoroughly enjoyed the session. Now keep in mind that surfing is probably one of the most difficult skills to learn ever, and so there's not ever going to be any two hours where you'll do more than just scratch the surface of the sport. With that in mind, Matt (and other schools like his) concentrates his teaching time on getting the student to ride at least a few times standing up on the board, which in my mind may not necessarily help build a solid foundation, but will definitely get the student stoked so that he'll want to continue learning. Kinda like learning to learn. Matt makes it easy too, by getting you to do something, then adding something new on each successive run: First just get on the board at all, then ride prone, then ride in a push-up position, then try to stand up. All the while he'll go on at length about various topics like looking at the wave, knowing the etiquette, knowing the surf spots, a bunch of stuff that you probably won't really hear or understand until well into the second hour. If there's a drawback to this method of "instant gratification" teaching to stand up right away, it's that you'll miss out on learning the importance of paddling and selecting/catching waves, both of which (I'm told) take much longer to learn and ultimately involve more skill. But then again, if I were made to spend two hours struggling to paddle a board out past that chop instead of just getting that "feel", I'd be pretty bummed.
Four and a half stars for the quality of instruction, plus an extra half star because Matt is a genuinely stand-up guy *rimshot*.
5 star rating 1/26/2009
The University of Surfing is a great way to learn the basics - or even the more advanced aspects - of surfing! My friend and I really wanted to get some time in the water and have professional guidance and instruction in a "hands on" environment. Our instructor, Matt Cole, was very attentive and professional, and he had a great sense of humor. He also did a great job of reading our skill level and instructing accordingly.
The instruction was both top notch and fun, the equipment was great, and we still remember what we were taught. Additionally, Matt took photos of us which he later sent to us via email or made available online.
Thanks to University of Surfing for a great experience!
Jonny L. 5 star rating 8/1/2007
Wifey and I tried our hand at surfing with Matt's help and we both had a truly great experience. By the time we left, we were both able to stand on our boards at least once. Just email him and he'll get back to you with all the details. The hardest part is getting your ass out of bed, and not being discouraged by the cold morning (water is inexplicably warmer).
Rosemary O. 5 star rating 5/4/2008
I had NO boarding experience - no surfboard, skateboard, snowboard, NOTHING when I came to their group class. Matt, Matt and Keith were excellent at making sure everyone's questions were answered and that everyone knew what they were doing well before we got into the water. They were VERY mindful of the waves and the tide - which did start to get a little out of hand, and made absolute sure that we were all safe. I also appreciated that they were every inclusive - making sure that no one ever felt left out or abandoned or alone. They came prepared with all the gear you could need and they were super enthusiastic, happy, helpful dudes. I had a great time and I hope i can find the time and money to go back again and again, until I feel totally confident on my own - which shouldn't take too long with the experts at the University of Surfing behind me. and yeah, it WAS real damn cold!!!!!