Get schooled by experienced wave-catchers at Rogue Wave Surf Shop, which opened late last year. Private lessons ($40) are ideal for beginners looking to learn how to surf in Charleston’s modest but well-formed breaks. In the shop, you’ll find boards and wetsuits as well as a selection of surf-stylish plaid shirts, pocket watches, and wing tips.
Follow the laid-back instructors at Charleston SUP Safaris on stand-up paddle boards in brackish water near the ocean ($45 for two hours). Wear a bathing suit, flip-flops, sunblock, and a hat; they’ll provide everything else you need to glide along the glassy surface of the Folly River after a brief introductory session. Cool off from the sun by taking a tumble into the water, but watch out for shallows so you don’t end up knee-deep in mud.
Learn how to take to the skies on a kiteboard from the specialists at Catch Some Air ($99). Local beaches have perfect side-shore winds that blow almost year-round, allowing gentle pushes along the coast instead of offshore gales that drag you out to sea. The instructor-to-student ratio is kept low, making it easy for beginners to quickly master the necessary skills of balance and control.