California Surfing Lesson Gain Popularity with Boomers


Babes & Boomers Taking up the Surfing Craze, But By the Numbers, Who's the REAL Audience?

With baby boomers who grew up with Gidget now heading to surfing concerts featuring old school surf bands, Eliminators, Dick Dale and the like, surf schools have amped up their marketing techniques to capture this elite, "time on your hands" audience. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal by a staff reporter did a cursory study of surfing. She interviewed a few people and came up with the claim that the surfing industry and surf schools, along with the travel industry folks, are now crafting products and packages for baby boomers who want to have an experience such as learning to surf.

But by the numbers the babes still win out over the baby boomers in who signs up for surf lessons and camps. Local California residents who make up over 85 percent of the state's travel, pretty much know how to access a surfboard and take a lesson. You just show up in beaches in San Diego--Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Del Mar and Encinitas; Orange County beaches San Clemente, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach and Seal Beach; Los Angeles Beaches such as Redondo, Hermosa, Manhattan and Santa Monica; Ventura's Oxnard & Ventura Beaches; Santa Barbara beaches; San Luis Obispo County's Pismo or Avila Beach; Monterey County; Santa Cruz County's Capitola, Aptos and Santa Cruz; San Mateo County's Half Moon Bay...and on. You get the picture. There are hundreds upon hundreds of surfing lessons shops and companies offering simply the lesson, or a package with wetsuit and board thrown in the fee.

San Diego 4 hour Surf Culture Safari is one example of an experience aimed at older folks. Among the experiences you'll enjoy: Get acquainted with some of the most sublime beaches in California, by hearing amazing surf stories. From the longest pier in California, get a surfer's view of the beach where people first began riding San Diego's wave almost 100 years ago. Visit the world's first engineered surfing park, where the "Bruticus Maximus" creates a churning wave so huge it challenges the skills of expert surfers. Go to a surfer hangout, a fish taco shop where you'll sample a fish taco. Learn to read surf patterns and see how surfers pick their waves.

California surfing adventure trips generally tend to be more of a visit to Disneyland, a day at the beach and some local eats. But what about when you're traveling the globe? Is surfing still the hot ticket item. And for California surfers and local residents, the urge to visit some distant clime and take up surfing is not really the best use of time, most say. But if you live in Missouri, Michigan, Minnesota and Arkansas, for instance, a coastal visit either to Florida beaches or California beaches is an appealing thought when the weather is either too cold or too hot. Surfing lessons might be one of the options for a good time.

We asked a local surf school owner from Huntington Beach, Mike Ali, if his audience included many boomers. The answers was a resounding, "Not many. Kids like to surf here especially," he said. College students, teens, and young adults or parents with children under the age of 18 are his biggest audience. Ali offers a board rental, surf lessons and wetsuit for under $85. The next time you're thinking of hanging out at a Cali beach, you may want to try a hang ten with one of over 100 surf schools and surfboard rental companies along the California coast. While you can probably get yourself going and learn how to mount that board, a lesson can help you learn a little faster.





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