Business Overview

Running a surf school and teaching surfing classes is a lifestyle with a dedication to the ocean water. It has the requirement to live on the coast of a country. The best places in America are the west coast of California and the islands of Hawaii. You may also find some decent surfing in other parts of the world such as Australia, Costa Rica, Mexico, and even in exotic places like Fiji and the beach areas of Sanya, China. No matter where you decide is best, you need to love the ocean water, work in a nice surfing spot, and want to teach people how to surf.

Who is this business right for?

Surfers are people who enjoy the surfing lifestyle. Every day is a day at the beach when the waves are good. Surfers who want to teach others are even more special because they need to have patience when being an instructor for first-time learners. The best surfers enjoy daily surfing and catching good waves for them is a spiritual experience.

If you find yourself in the ocean water every day looking for the next great wave, you are a real candidate for this business as long as you also like working with other people to teach them how to surf better.

What happens during a typical day at a surfing school?

Check the weather. Be sure to know the surf conditions. Get the surfboards ready for your surfing students by waxing them and making sure there are no problems with the boards like broken fins, cracks, and missing tethers. In places where the ocean water is cold, you will need to check and maintain the wetsuit equipment as well to look for tears and repair them. Check the schedule for the students that have reservations and contact them as a reminder of their appointment time that day.

For an online business, which does not operate a surf shop, online marketing is essential. Online marketing includes having content on your website and distributing it to your email subscription list. Examples of this content are surfing articles, blog posts, and newsletters, which make good use of keywords and phrases for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You may want to run a pay-per-click advertising campaign as well to attract traffic to your website. If you are not able to do these things yourself, you will have to hire freelance workers to help you and each day check their work.

If you run a surf shop, you need to make sure the store looks nice and you need to maintain a nice inventory of surf-related things for sale. In tourist areas, you may get customers that buy something from the shop as a souvenir and do not necessarily take surfing lessons.

What is the target market?

Tourists are great and they are the mainstay of this business. The first hour is a lesson on the beach and teaches the first-time learners how to balance on a surfboard. College students are good customers as well.

Most surf schools have lessons for beginners as well as lessons for advanced students. Retail customers for surfing-related items such as beachwear, can be almost anyone. You do not have to be able to surf to enjoy watching it from the beach.

How does a surfing school make money?

Every surfing student pays per hour for lessons. A good surfing instructor has about four to six students for each hour-long lesson and no more. The instructor gets paid per hour, so if the class has the maximum size of six students, the revenue for the school is six times hourly school rate minus the pay for the instructor. If the instructor also brings the students by his or her efforts, some schools have a 50/50 revenue-sharing program.

If the instructor is a world-class champion, the rates are much higher for the individual training sessions. These advanced courses are for good surfers who desire to become professional surfers. If the school has a shop, additional revenues comes from making sales to in-person retail customers and online retail customers.

What is the growth potential for a surfing school?

A surfing school business, which concentrates on giving lessons, is limited to locations with the proper conditions of ocean waves and climate. There are about twenty great areas in the world with enough visitors to make establishing a surfing school worthwhile in those places.

More established companies of this type generally do not increase in size, but rather by the demand for the surfing lessons. The limits include the rental equipment available, the number of instructors for the school, and the maximum number of students permitted for each class. This results in waiting lists for popular surfing schools.

Some very successful surf shops, such as the O’Neill Surf Shop make millions in annual revenues from selling items in their shops and online that relate to their surfing brand. This is a much larger revenue stream than the money coming from giving surfing lessons.

Offering surf lessons is still important and that is how the O’Neill Surf Shop started and then gained its international brand recognition. Being near Santa Cruz, California, in the little town of Capitola, the O’Neill brand represents the California surfing lifestyle made popular by so many movies. Even non-surfers like to feel they are part of that surfing culture.