Surf SLO

It has always been on my bucket list to learn how to surf and my curiosity about surfing only increased when I moved to the central coast. Around here is a large surfing community. We are blessed to have diversity in our beaches which leads to diversity in types of surf.

I took a lesson through Avila Beach Surf School with my sister Meghan. The school provides boards and wet suits, so all you have to do is come prepared to learn. We took our lesson at Pismo Beach because the surf was better there then at Avila that day. What is so smart about the Avila Beach Surf School is they operate out of this truck which allows them to give surf lessons at any beach on the central coast, giving surfers and instructors options when it comes to location and type of surf.

Meghan Stark with the Avila Beach Surf School truck which is where we got our boards and wet suits
Meghan Stark with the Avila Beach Surf School truck which is where we got our boards and wet suits.

Our lesson was taught by Justin Hodges who is the owner and lead instructor of the Avila Beach Surf School. Hodges was a great teacher and was really flexible with our needs. I will be the first to admit that I am out of shape so after the first 30 minutes of surfing I could feel my muscles giving out. Hodges pushed me to keep going but knew that I wasn’t going to be able to surf if I was exhausted so we eventually took a break. Surfing is hard and definitely a full body work out, but it was also so much fun.

“You can work out everyday at that Cal Poly rec center, but when you get out here it is completely different,” Hodges said.

And he was right. Unlike me, my sister Meghan goes to the gym often, but surfing was still a challenge for her. After our lesson she said to me, “I’m going to be so sore tomorrow, I can’t imagine what you are going to feel like.”

The author catching a wave at Pismo Beach.
The author catching a wave at Pismo Beach.

She was right, the next day I felt like I had been hit by a truck. My shoulder muscles were particularly sore, along with my core, accompanied by just an overall feeling of exhaustion. But even though I was sore, it was worth it. The feeling of getting up on the board and riding a wave was incomparable. I have skateboarded, snowboarded and wake-boarded, but surfing is by far my favorite out of all of them.

The best part was the feeling of accomplishment when I would get up on the board, then riding the wave all the way in was just the cherry on top. It just left me feeling happy and excited to do it again.


Avila Beach Surf School also rents out surf boards and wet suits, so if you want to continue practicing the basics you learned without having to pay for a whole new lesson, you have that option. Anyone can also rent equipment from Poly Escapes, and Cal Poly students get a discounted price on rentals.


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