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Swell Teachers for Every Surfer


Group Classes
New York Surf School
Certified instructor Frank Cullen’s Rockaway-based school welcomes surfers (and aspiring surfers) of all ages and proficiency levels. Two-hour group lessons (from $70 a person, including foam boards and wetsuits) cover fundamentals like water safety and paddling. And there’s plenty of expert attention to go around: A five-person class, for example, will be led by two instructors.

Private Lessons With a Slow-and-Steady Approach
Dion Mattison
Former pro surfer Dion Mattison, who moved to New York from the frigid waters around San Francisco, specializes in private lessons that emphasize safety, ocean knowledge, and style (“You can be graceful at any stage”). Unlike teachers who aim to get novices standing on a board on the first day, Mattison’s initial classes focus on basics like how to paddle and maneuver through waves before she helps students catch a wave. That first four-hour lesson costs $200, but includes a ride to and from Rockaway in his 1975 baby-blue BMW, a hard board, and wetsuit. Follow-up lessons are $120.

Private Lessons With a More Aggressive Approach
(, 516-432-9211)
Known for his clear, no-frills teaching style, certified “master instructor” Elliot Zuckerman has developed a system for getting first-timers in the water and riding waves fast. A private lesson with him at Long Beach means instant feedback on technique and costs $125 ($115 for other instructors on his team), including foam board with fiberglass bottom and soft fins and wetsuit or rash guard.

Immersion Camps
Skudin Surf Inc.
(218 E. Park Ave., nr. Riverside Blvd., Long Beach; 516-318-3993,
Big wave–loving brothers Cliff and Will Skudin teach a series of surf camps for adults and kids over 5 at Long Beach and Rockaway during the not-freezing months. One-day surf camps for adults are $100, and include pop-up stance instruction on the beach, ocean safety, and surf etiquette; five-day sessions are $375. Groups with less than four people pay $75 each for just over an hour.

This article has been updated since its original publication.


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