Ryan McDonald

Summer Calendar 2017 – Beach Camps

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The beach breaks of the South Bay present both a blessing and a challenge for instruction.

Kai Kushner, of Manhattan Beach, braves the shorepound during the recent South Bay Boardriders/Surf Concepts contest. Surf camps introduce kids to a sport they can enjoy with family and friends of all ages. South Bay Boardrider contestants range from grom to legends. Photo by Steve Gaffney (SteveGaffney.com)


by Ryan McDonald

Teaching surfing requires skill, experience and patience. Subjects are willing, but often come to the beach with vastly different skill levels. And the physical demands of the sport can be tricky even for accomplished athletes. But instructors say that the most demanding part of teaching surfing  It’s Mother Nature.

“There’s no consistency whatsoever. Wind, weather, wave height, current can all change from day to day. Some kid could have the best day of life on Tuesday, and then Wednesday it’s a 10-foot South swell and it’s tough to even get in the water,” said longtime instructor Tommy Ostendorf.

Ostendorf heads up surfing camps for Beach Sports, which hosts surf camps at its Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach locations for kids from 8 to 16. Every student is different, and so is the approach to teaching.

But bit by bit, students learn and surprise themselves with their progress.

“After the first day, we try and gage where everybody is. Hopefully by the end of week, everyone is paddling and catching their own waves. If they already know what they’re doing, maybe the goal is to learn a cutback or a floater. We set goals early and work to accomplish them.”

Days begin in the morning, with instructors doing their best to “keep the noise down” for Strand residents as kids shuffle down to the sand. Full-day and half-day options are available.

The beach breaks of the South Bay present both a blessing and a challenge for instruction. Beginners learning in the whitewash are partially dependent on tides. And shifting sandbars and occasionally powerful waves create added difficulty for intermediates looking to to take the next step.

But the area’s consistency makes it ideal in other ways.

“It’s tricky, but it can be a great place to learn, because there’s always a wave to ride. Pretty much 365 days a year, you can go out and go surfing. That’s not the case for a lot of places,” Ostendorf said. B



BeachSports Surf & Beach Camps is celebrating it’s 22st year.  BeachSports was created by LA County Lifeguards to provide beach and ocean safety education. Programs start at age 4 and include 4 camps:: Surf Camp, Beach Camp, Beach Volleyball Camp, and Junior Lifeguard Ocean Safety Program. With safety in mind, our camps are located at these Lifeguard Tower locations: 14th St.,Manhattan Beach, 15th St., Hermosa Beach. Ave. I, Redondo Beach. Vista del Mar, Redondo Beach. Online registration is available at BeachSports.org


Camp Surf

Camp Surf is the official surf camp for the City of Manhattan Beach, and 2017 will mark their 20th year working with the city. All instructors are accomplished surfers and CPR certified. Camp Surf also distinguishes itself through its partnership with the Jimmy Miller Foundation, a pioneer in the field of ocean-based therapy. Instruction is available year round from the group’s base at 38th Street in El Porto, at the south end of the parking lot. Summer surf camps feature morning, afternoon and all-day camp options. (424) 237-2994. campsurf.com


Champ Camp

Voted “Best Kids Camp,” in Easy Reader’s “Best of the Beach 2016” reader’s poll. Kids decide on the beach activities for the day. Director Trevor Elder is a South Bay native, certified lifeguard and EMT. Champ Camp staffs about 15 first-aid and CPR-certified college grads. Full day sessions, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Half day sessions 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (310) 283-4509. ChampCampKids.com


Don’t Just Surf

DJS instruction includes surfing, stand-up paddling, fishing, sailing and kiteboarding. Coaching for all ages and skill levels. Owner Dave Schaefer is a locally born waterman, licensed Coast Guard captain, former paramedic and firefighter, and commercial fisherman in Alaska and the Northwest and a lifelong competitive surfer. (310) 938-4938 or email dontjustsurf@gmail.com.


Freedom Surf Camp

June 12 through Sept. 1

Freedom Surf Camp offers morning and afternoon sessions in Manhattan Beach, Venice, Santa Monica and Malibu. Ages 5-7: Water safety, boogie boarding, sand sculpting, sand crabs, dodgeball, and other games. Surfing 101 for kids who want it. Ages 8-12: Surfing, boogie boarding, water safety, and environmental education. Ages 13-14 : Depending on skill level, all water and beach activity are offered. Groms: competitive level surfing. (310) 770-4410​. ​freeedom.org  


Hermosa Beach Skateboarding Camp

Instructor Shawn Perez brings over 15 years of skateboarding experience, including 10 years as a skateboard instructor to the South Bay’s longest ongoing skateboard camp. Classes start June 20 and are Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30am. Students must supply their own skateboard, helmet, kneepads and elbow pads and should come with a drink and snack. Hermosa Skate Park, 710 Pier Ave. Hermosabch.Org, Sp23tione@yahoo.com.


Hermosa Surf Camp

Hermosa Surf Camp is celebrating 25 years at the Hermosa Beach Pier. Learn safety and surfing basics in 1-1/2 or 3 hour classes, Monday through Friday. Instructors will be in the water helping kids get through the surf and catch waves. Instructors are credentialed teachers and there is always a L.A. County Lifeguard on duty. T-shirt, lycra surf shirt, goodie bag and three photos of included. Vince Ray (310) 370-1918. surferjay@losangeles.usa.com. Hermosasurfcamp.com


Friendship Circle Surf Camp

The Hermosa Beach Circle Surf Camp is for children and adults with special needs. Ages 7 and up. 2:1 teacher-to student ratio. Teen volunteers paired with each student. BZ soft surfboards provided. All students receive a T-shirt, lycra surf shirt and three photos of themselves. Children must be able to swim.

(310) 214-6677 or (310)-214-4999.  GotFriends.com or HermosaSurfCamp.com.


Steve & Kate’s Camp

Kids design their day as they go through the 6 studios, with activities including stop motion animation, bread making, knitting, sewing, music recording, coding and robotics. Outdoor sports in an inflatable arena, racing friends in Zorbs, and pie-throwing on Fridays. Lunch, snacks and all materials included. Mon. – Fri. 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Grades Pre-K through 7th. 40+ locations. ​(323) 472-4752. Register at steveandkate.com.


Manhattan Beach Aquatics

City-offered camp offers ocean-safety, fitness and beach games for kids 5-13. Morning and afternoon classes are available. Program runs June 19 to August 11. (310) 802-5448. Citymb.info/registration.


Meistrell private, advanced surfing

Professional surf coach Jamie Meistrell draws from his world wide surf travels and 12 years as a professional surfer. His detailed curriculum emphasises strengthening drills, contest strategy and the general stoke of surfing. CPR, AED, and First Aid certified.  

(310) 753-5436. JamieMeistrell@gmail.com


PCH Skate

Learn to skateboard or take your skills to the next level.  Beginner to intermediate level skate and safety instruction, focusing on basic ollies and turns, flip tricks, grinds, vert skating and more. Ramps, rails and fun boxes positioned differently each day. All campers are required to wear full pads. Private skate instruction available at Manhattan Beach and new Redondo Beach Pier locations.  PCH Skate runs in association with BeachSports.org and Body Glove Camps.

Register online at PCHSkateCamps.com


Perfect Day Surf Camp

The Quiksilver/Roxy-sponsored Perfect Day Surf Camp has locations in Torrance, Redondo, Manhattan, Dockweiler, Marina Del Rey and Santa Monica. Surf and beach camps are offered for ages 3 to 17. Lessons cover stand up paddling and surfing and beach workouts. 8 a.m. to noon, noon to 3 p.m. and all day. Daily and weekly rates. (310) 985-1458.  PerfectDaySurfcamp.com.


PV Surf Camp

PV Surf teaches ocean safety, surfing , surf etiquette and appreciation for the power and beauty of the ocean. Instructors are trained in CPR. The camp is surrounded by picturesque cliffs of Torrance Beach and Palos Verdes, which keep the surf gentle. Weekly camp sessions with a 4:1 ratio are offered for kids ages 6-15, June 8 — August 24. (310) 908-8164. PVSurfCamp.com


Skatedogs Skateboarding Summer Camp

Skatedogs brings their mobile private skate park to Manhattan Heights Park in Manhattan Beach and Perry Park in Redondo Beach. Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Skateboard, helmet, knee pads and elbow pads are required.  Ci.manhattan-beach.ca.us, redondo.org.


Tarsan SUP

SUP Camp is for kids of all ages (ideally 10 and up). Monday-Friday with full day classes and half days from 9 a.m. to noon and in the afternoon from 1 to 4 p.m. June 26 to Sept. 1. Kids must know how to swim. $299/child per week. 10 percent off for additional siblings (same week only). $275/child per week if parent is a Preferred Member. Private dock access. Instructors are CPR and First Aid certified. Students will learn water etiquette, ocean safety, handling a board in and out of water and proper technique. (310) 798-2200. 831 N. Harbor Drive, Redondo Beach. Tarsanstandup.com 



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